Tudor Drama - The Stranger´s Case
Creative Interpretation - The Playwright´s Inspiration
"Everything changes, everything stays the same"
Who wrote The Stranger's Case?
Kay Douglas is a freelance theatre writer. She works in the public and private sector creating authentic characters, forum theatre scripts and many other drama activities to engage people in business and public sector training. Kay has created training and educational projects exploring the areas of diversity, cross-cultural communication, effective person to person communication and change management. Kay has also written and delivered many drama and theatre based projects in heritage and other community settings for schools and other audiences.
Kay writes about her ideas behind the play
The starting point for The Stranger’s Case (alongside the curriculum areas for KS2/3) was to create a colourful, entertaining and exciting drama about Bolling Hall in Tudor times that would also be about Bradford today. As the saying goes 'everything changes, everything stays the same’. Bradford now is a very different place but parallels are there in areas of religious difference and national identity.
A young man recently appeared on the news saying 'it seems like our crime was to be Asian and be wearing a long beard'. Most Tudor Catholics would have distanced themselves from violence and terror but nonetheless they still suffered suspicion and persecution for holding different religious beliefs to those held by the majority. They simply wanted the right to worship as their conscience told them without being seen as enemies of the state. Contemporary events have shown innocent sections of the Muslim and other communities finding themselves to be targets for societies fears and anger for being ‘different’. So another link in a chain of anger and alienation is forged. How can our individual actions make a difference? What, if anything, can we do about it? What do we lose what do we gain?
As ever, real life situations like this are very complicated and pose a whole lot of very tough questions. We needed to find authentic Tudor characters and circumstances capable of provoking similarly complex questions and offering a lot of perspectives for exploration. We 'struck gold’ and discovered the Gouthwaite Hall story. We then asked, ‘what if a troupe of traveling players like that had come to Bolling? What would a servant like Joan do faced with the dilemma of turning over a troupe of seditious players to the authorities or joining her neighbours in the audience and enjoying the play?"
Read about the real-life Gouthwaite Hall story on the next page.