Thursday, February 24, 2005


Timeline 1905-1914

22nd January

Death of Queen Victoria, aged 81, after a reign of 63 years. Edward VII succeeds to the throne.

Taff Vale Judgement, a landmark in the development of the Labour Party. Workers on the Taff Vale Railway took action to gain the right to join a trade union. After the strike was settled, the railway company sought damages from the union for losses incurred during the strike. The House of Lords granted ?42,000 plus costs against the union, thereby severely limiting the right to strike.

Britain's first submarine launched.

First Nobel Prizes awarded.

Smallpox outbreak in London

Cecil Rhodes 'the architect of Empire' dies.

Boer War ends.-

Arthur Balfour succeeds Salisbury as Conservative Prime Minister.

9th August
Coronation of Edward VII, delayed from July because of the King's appendicitis.
Charles Booth's survey of poverty, Life and Labour of the People of London, published. Windsor Castle opened to the public. Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit published. Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories published.

1st January
Edward VII proclaimed Emperor of India.

Formation of the suffragette Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), by Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst.

Marie Curie becomes the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. Wright Brothers make the first successful flight in a petrol-powered aeroplane.

War breaks out between Russia and Japan when the Russian fleet attacks at Port Arthur.

angelo and lee look into this please it relates to what we discussed at our meetings

Entente Cordiale signed with France. Licence plates for cars compulsory.

Rolls-Royce car manufacturing company formed.

Figures released reveal that poverty is rising dramatically - 122,000 people in London and 800,000 in England and Wales are in receipt of poor relief, with 250,000 in workhouses.

J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up opens in London.

By popular demand, Arthur Conan Doyle brings his famous detective back from the 'dead' in a new book, The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

More than 10,000 people perish in an earthquake in Lahore, India.

Women's Suffrage Bill 'talked out' in Commons.

Automobile Association founded.

Einstein's Theory of Relativity proposed.

Lord Curzon resigns as Viceroy of India.

Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney arrested: start of the militant phase of the Suffrage movement. Aspirin on sale in Britain.

Balfour resigns; Henry Campbell-Bannerman invited to form a government. First motorized ambulances for traffic accident victims introduced by London County Council (previously ambulances were used only for people suffering from infectious diseases).

Liberal landslide at General Election; Labour wins 29 seats. HMS Dreadnought launched. Formation of the Labour Party. Trade Disputes Act overturns Taff Vale Judgement. Free school meals introduced for children in need.

Vesuvius erupts, killing hundreds. San Francisco earthquake: 800 die. SOS becomes the international distress signal.

Women can stand for election in county and borough elections and can take the office of mayor.

Ill-health forces Campbell-Bannerman's resignation: Herbert Asquith succeeds him as Prime Minister. Old Age Pensions introduced for a minority of old people. Coal Mines Regulation Act legislates for a maximum working day of 8 hours underground. Territorial Army founded. By 1914 it had over 250,000 members. England plays the first ever international football match, against Austria - and wins 6-1.

Edward VII visits Russia. Olympic Games staged in London. National Farmer's Union founded.
Professor Ernest Rutherford awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work on radiation and the nature of the atom. E.M. Forster's Room with a View published.

Labour Exchanges established. Trade Boards Act establishes minimum wage in some of the lowest-paid trades.

Bl鲊ot makes the first cross-Channel flight, taking 43 minutes.

The House of Lords throws out Lloyd George's 'people's budget' - the 'most radical budget in the nation's history'.


Liberals under Asquith win general election in February and December.
21st May
Death of Edward VII; succeeded by George V.
Dr Crippen arrested at sea for the murder of his wife, the first criminal suspect to be caught by radio. He was travelling with his mistress Ethel Le Neve, disguised as a boy.

20th August
Florence Nightingale dies. Osborne Judgement bans trade unions from funding political activities. Girl Guide movement founded by Baden-Powell and his sister, Agnes.

Shops Act legislates for 60-hour week and all employees entitled to half-day holiday each week. Payment of MPs introduced.

23rd June
George V crowned in Westminster Abbey.

Agadir crisis, when Germany sent a gunboat to Morocco, fuelled Britain's concern about Germany's expansionist aims.

Balfour resigns as leader of the Conservative Party; succeeded by Andrew Bonar Law.

George V crowned King Emperor at Delhi Durbar.
Period of industrial unrest 1911 to 1914.

Captain Scott's expedition reaches the South pole - Amundsen has beaten them. All perish on the return journey.

The 'unsinkable' Titanic sinks after hitting an iceberg, with the loss of more than 1,500 lives

Irish Home Rule Bill introduced.

Edward Carson organises the Ulster Volunteers to resist Home Rule for Ireland. British Board of Film Censors established. Royal Flying Corps (precursor of the Royal Air Force) established.

Cat and Mouse Act introduced in an attempt to deal with the problem of suffragettes' hunger strikes in prison.

The suffragette Emily Davison throws herself under the King's horse at the Derby and dies from her injuries. The zip fastener patented by a Swedish engineer. Trade Union Act reverses
Osborne Judgement.

Ulster Volunteer Force established. D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers published.

Immigration, already restricted since 1905 Act, further restricted. By 1914 there were over 50,000 women involved in peaceful campaigning to get women the vote.

Velazquez's Rokeby Venus slashed in the National Gallery by a suffragette with a meat cleaver.

George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion opens in London. James Joyce's Dubliners published.

28th June
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo.

1st August
Germany declares war on Russia and, on the 3rd, France.

4th August
Britain declares war on Germany when it violates Belgian neutrality. In the first 18 months of war 2.4 million men signed up voluntarily. A quarter of men of fighting age volunteered in England and Wales. Fighting continues on the Western Front until 11.00am on 11th November 1918. By this time, 772,000 British have been killed, and 1,676, 037 wounded.

Monday, February 21, 2005


On a slightly different note, I would appreciate your feedback on the possibility of performing up at the Edinburgh festival. I know many of you have done so before, but let me outline the pros and cons as far as I can see them:
We have a gap from the 8th August for a week till the 15th, am trying to find a place that will have us for a weeks run to end the tour. We finish on the 6th in lower Highlands just one hour from Edinburgh and thus logistically it seems appropriate to go to Edinburgh.
It would be fantastic to really push the 'darker' side of the play, and Edinburgh would be an ideal place to do this. It would also be nice to have that final week in Edinburgh to watch some theatre and relax- a nice way to end the tour.

However Twelfth Night is not exactly 'classic' Edinburgh fodder, and we would really need to find a suitable place to have any chance of making some money back.

Thus I am asking your opinions on this- if you know of any venues- if you like the idea etc etc. Let us know asap

Early meetings

-Just to remind you all that in the next three weeks I am trying to contact you all to arrange a meeting in which I can show you a drafted contract and provisional script and to start discussing the characters and play in detail. It is important that you come to these meetings with some of your own ideas and thoughts on both the play and character- so do re read the play and I would advise you all watch Gosford Park and other Edwardian dramas. It is vital that we ground this Elizabethan drama in the Edwardian era, a historical and socio-economic understanding of this era is essential. There is a wealth of information on the internet and of course in libraries; the 'Edwardian Country House' was a channel 4 programme that aired a few years ago in which people were transported back into the 19oo's to take on the various roles in Mandeston Country House- if you could track this down it would I feel be an invaluable resource.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Disguise in Twelfth Night

Now quite clearly this features inherently as part of the text and in I assume every performance ever staged, Viola disguises herself as a man. Yet I want to push this a little further, for I think many of the Twelfth Night characters are masking themselves behind some countenance. Malvolio for instance; his carnal lust and love for his boss is hidden behind this preposterous mask of godliness and austerity he projects onto himself and others. Certainly the Edwardian setting as pointed out by Gemma's post highlights the upstairs/downstairs status of Olivia's household and the futility of Malvolio's love-
"Thou art nothing more than a Steward"
Sir Toby here touches on this nerve that Malvolio's status clearly prevents ontologically any kind of relationship beyond butler/mistress. Malvolio's disguise is then ruthlessly removed in the dark house and the final image we see of this once austere butler is sad, pitiful and forlorn.
Olivia it could be argued is also in disguise,
"Come throw the veil o'er my face"

Her mourning has become obsessive and her grief unending- yet is this protracted grief merely a distraction for her unhappiness trapped in her dull Edwardian country house with only servants for company. The more she stays in the house the more the house and its regime oppresses her into what she is expected to be. Yet behind this countenance there lies very surely this fun loving, mischievous and immature woman dying to come out.
Beyond this we see disguise from Antonio who disguises himself to avoid being captured, Feste who disguises himself as Sir Topaz to fool Malvolio and Sir Toby who I think is disguising his grief and guilt (more on this later) in the opposite way to his cousin by drowning his sorrows.
In short- there is far more mistaken idea in Twelfth Night than meets the eye, and I look forward to exploring this as the rehearsal process goes on.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A little background reading...

The Channel 4 website has a very useful minisite which provides a broad overview of Edwardian life, ranging from the politics of the time to how servants should behave. Find it here:

It also struck me that the women's Suffrage movement of the time resonates with some of the play's themes - gender identity, the perceived differences between men and women - so here is some background info on their struggle:

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Early Thoughts on the setting

The play is to be set at the very end of the Edwardian era, that being specifically The end of the first decade of the 21st century. For here we stand on the precipice of the modern world, the late Edwardian's stood daringly still in the face this inevitable change that was coursing through all levels of society at the time. Illyria itself is not England but rather a colonial outpost, that is perhaps the last to see the change.

Twelfth Night is the last day of Christmas, the day before everything goes back to normal, the last day of festivities that is however very aware of itself being so- the last day. The madness and indulgence of the festive period is soon to be contrasted with the bleakness of January in its most stark and bare.

Illyria stands thus and our play and charaters all share the same fate of change that is deluded through love and informed by duty, priviledge and death.

What I want to know is your opinons and thinking as to where your characters fit into this paradigm we have created

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Original Theatre welcome you to Twelfth Night 2005

Over the next few months I would ask you to keep all your thoughts about the productions and your character on this 'blog'. This will help me keep track of your thinking and character development that will in turn help inform the production. For now to post a blog report please email me at, by the end of the month I will try and register you all as 'blog users' and this will make things easier on your part.

I would stress that I wish you all to use this as a tool to aid you in your research and comprehension of both the play and the characters.