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Theatre, Catholic Communities, and Popular Entertainment in England’s North-East, c.1600-1625

JAKOVAC, GASPER (2018) Theatre, Catholic Communities, and Popular Entertainment in England’s North-East, c.1600-1625. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis traces theatrical practices among the Catholic community in the north-east of England during the reign of James VI and I. Its basis is archival work conducted as part of the Records of Early English Drama North-East project. It focuses on two case studies: the career of Durham-born recusant dancing master, Robert Hindmers (b. 1585), and the 1617 Newcastle performance of Anthony Brewer’s play The Lovesick King (publ. 1655).
In the introduction, I discuss the issue of north-eastern regional identities and situate my work within the wider field of scholarship. In chapter two, I examine the available manuscript sources in order to determine the identity, career, and role of Robert Hindmers within the Durham Catholic community. I expand our understanding of Catholic missionary strategies in post-Reformation England by suggesting that dance instruction might have been utilized by Catholics to access particular households and assist the mission.
Chapters three, four, and five discuss Anthony Brewer’s play The Lovesick King and its northern performance context. I offer a reconsideration of the well-known conjecture that The Lovesick King had not only been originally written for a performance in Newcastle, but had also been performed as an occasional piece during King James’ visit to the city in 1617. I provide additional evidence to support this well-founded speculation. More importantly, my reading of Brewer’s play traces its muted religious undertones. While The Lovesick King’s subplot is linked to religious conservatism and Catholic nostalgia, a substantial reliance on Herculean imagery in the main plot, in particular the motif of Hercules in bivio, is associated with contemporary Catholic anxieties surrounding the oath of allegiance. Considering the prominence of crypto-Catholicism among the Newcastle coal-trading elite and The Lovesick King’s focus on individual virtue, unconditional loyalty, and social reconciliation, the play can be considered as a political plea of moderate Catholics for toleration.
The two case studies illustrate the diversity of Catholic engagement with performative entertainment in the North-East: while Robert Hindmers' dancing demonstrates the subversive potential of entertainment, the staging of The Lovesick King by the Newcastle elite elucidates Catholic participation in eulogistic royalism and their willingness to compromise with the Protestant establishment.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Post-Reformation Catholicism; moderate Catholicism; early modern theatre; popular entertainment; traditional festivity; North-East England; recusancy; William James; Robert Hindmers; dance; evangelization; The Lovesick King; Anthony Brewer; Roger Thornton; Newcastle-upon-Tyne; King James VI and I; Sir Thomas Riddell; Sir George Selby; Lord William Howard of Naworth; the Choice of Hercules; the oath of allegiance; Cupid's Revenge; idolatry; iconoclasm.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Jun 2018 11:57

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