Let the battle of the sexes resume as York Shakespeare Project gives rehearsed reading of Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed

York Shakespeare Project’s poster for Sunday’s rehearsed reading of John Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed

YORK Shakespeare Project is complementing this week’s run of Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew with a one-off performance of John Fletcher’s sequel, The Tamer Tamed, at the Creative Arts Centre Auditorium, York St John University, on Sunday at 5pm.

Fletcher’s rarely staged Jacobean riposte to William Shakespeare’s most controversial “problem play” will be presented in a rehearsed reading on the closing day of the 2024 York International Shakespeare Festival.

YSP chair Tony Froud explains: “We are very happy to borrow an idea from Gregory Doran, who staged both plays in tandem, using the same cast, in his productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2003. Fletcher’s play is a deliberate and very entertaining response to Shakespeare’s original.”

Director Claire Morley in rehearsals. Picture: S R Taylor Photography

Written in 1611, 20 years after Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes, The Tamer Tamed (or The Woman’s Prize) gives an insight into changing attitudes to women and marriage in the Jacobean period.

YSP’s rehearsed reading is being directed by Claire Morley, assistant director to Maggie Smales on The Taming Of The Shrew, whose run at Theatre@41, Monkgate, ends tomorrow night. Many of the same cast will undertake Sunday’s reading, joined by familiar YSP faces Andrew Isherwood, Effie Warboys and Sally Mitcham.

“We’re enormously grateful to members of our very talented cast for committing to perform a second play, but the actors couldn’t resist the challenge of exploring Fletcher’s fascinating take on Shakespeare,” says Claire. “Luckily they don’t have to learn any more lines, as this will be a script-in-hand reading.”

Claire Morley, front row, second from right , in the role of Henry V in York Shakespeare Project’s Heny V in 2015

Claire is no stranger to York Shakespeare Project, having appeared in several of its productions, most notably playing the title role in Maggie Smales’s all-female Henry V in 2015. “It’s a joy to be working with Maggie again and we’re very lucky to have such a fabulous cast,” she adds.

In Fletcher’s sequel, the widowed Petruchio has a new wife and a new challenge as he discovers that he is not the only one who can do the taming. Fletcher borrows characters from Shakespeare and Ben Jonson and a key plot device from Ancient Greek dramatist Aristophanes’s Lysistrata. “The result is a richly entertaining exploration of marriage and relationships in another battle of the sexes,” says Tony.

The cast comprises: Rosy Rowley as Maria; Effie Warboys, Livia; Kirsty Farrow, Bianca; Andrew Isherwood, Petruchio; Mark Simmonds, Petronius; Mark Payton, Gremio and Peter; Sam Jackson, Rowland; Nick Patrick Jones, Hortensio; Sally Mitcham, Tranio, and Stuart Green, Grumio.

Tickets are on sale at parrabbola.co.uk or yorkshakes.co.uk.