Marlowe opens new venue with thespian festival

The set of ‘The Rover’ in The Marlowe Kit

This weekend, The Marlowe Theatre’s new performance space, named “The Kit” after Christopher Marlowe’s nickname, has been opened to the public for the first time.

The ‘Festival of the Moon’, which runs all week, consists of two 17th Century plays by local author Aphra Behn. The Marlowe Peoples’ Company is staging her most popular play, ‘The Rover’, while The Marlowe Youth Theatre is tackling her 1687 farce entitled ‘Emperor of the Moon’.

‘The Rover’s dramatic finale

The festival, which started on Saturday and ends Wednesday, is being held in the re-purposed Canterbury Heritage Museum which has been converted into a rehearsal and performance facility by The Marlowe Theatre.

The productions will utilise the 12th Century Great Hall and The Marlowe Theatre’s staging ability to transport audiences back to mid-Carnival Naples, where both plays are set. Projections, strobe lighting and seventies music also feature, contrasting with the old feel of the building.

Hannah Farley-Hills, The Marlowe’s producer for the show, said “That’s the beauty of this space: that we’re trying to test it! You have to let the audience see what a beautiful space it is, but also experiment with what it’s like to layer modern things on top of that and to layer a different creative vision on top of that.”

“The play is an experiment but I think it’s very triumphant, because it uses all those things beautifully and can speak to many audiences.”

Angellica (Hannah Farley-Hills) confronts Willmore (Lynne Wright) over a suspected affair

Lynne Wright, who plays Willmore (The Rover’s titular character), has thoroughly enjoyed rehearsing the Kit. “I’m loving the process, this is something that takes me away from my day job. We’ve just done some fight choreography which was really thrilling!”

“The setting is this most fantastic building and although it’s very small and compact I think it’s going to have a really good future.”