The Marlowe Society
Marlowe Day in Canterbury: Canterbury Map by Braun and Hogenberg (1588)
25 March 2017

Canterbury Marlowe Day 2017

Programme and Booking Details

Our Canterbury Marlowe Day 2017 will be held on Saturday 20 May at The Marlowe Theatre on The Friars, with the full programme of speakers now confirmed. Attendees should assemble in The Green Room inside the Theatre, with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony following outside shortly afterwards at The Marlowe Memorial.

Both members of the Society and non-members are welcome to attend. Places for the full day are priced £15 for members, £18 for non-members and £10 for students. Places can be booked by sending a cheque (payable to "The Marlowe Society") together with your details and the required number of places, to our Treasurer, Charles Cox by Tuesday 16 May at the very latest. Alternatively you can pay via internet bank transfer (our bank account details are on the Joining page), or via PayPal using the relevant "Buy Now" button on our Society Events page. For internet bank transfers, please also send an accompanying e-mail note to the Treasurer to provide your details and the payment made.

Marlowe Day is held in the city of Canterbury, where of course Marlowe was born, grew up, and attended the King's School. The day will be spent inside the spectacular Marlowe Theatre, which is located on The Friars off from the High Street (see map), not too far from Westgate and Canterbury West station (which now has the highspeed rail link to/from London St Pancras).

Appropriately enough, the theme this year is Marlowe's Canterbury. Michael Frohnsdorff, who is a former Chair and Research Officer for the Marlowe Society as well as being the Chair of the Faversham Society, an author and lecturer, will examine Marlowe's family history and its origins in Kent. Introduced by Professor Catherine Richardson, we will also be able to take a imaginative walk through Canterbury history via a 1641 map of the city which was found in the Cathedral Archives and is reproduced as a huge floor exhibition, along with stories from the archives which explore what life was like in the early modern town, courtesy of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, University of Kent.

The Marlowe Theatre,
The Friars,
Kent CT1 2AS.

Switching to the dramatic, Kimberley Sykes will examine identity and belonging in Dido, Queen of Carthage, the play she is directing at the Royal Shakespeare Company later this year. Marlowe of course would almost certainly have experience of Hugenot refugee's fleeing the Wars of Religion in France and settling in Canterbury.

The big news last year for those with an interest in Marlowe was the co-authorship credit given to our man alongside William Shakespeare on title pages of the three Henry VI plays in the New Oxford Shakespeare published by Oxford University Press last October. Dr Rory Loughnane, Associate Editor of the New Oxford Shakespeare as well as a Lecturer at the University of Kent, shares his perspective on that landmark collaborative attribution.

Note that lunch is not provided as part of the ticket price. The Green Room restaurant at the Marlowe Theatre offers a wide-ranging day-time menu, and there are a large number of reasonably priced eating venues very close by in the centre of Canterbury. Alternatively you may decide to bring or buy a picnic and repair to the river or local parks. Information and recommendations will be available on the day.


Post-Event Update: A brief video of highlights from Canterbury Marlowe Day 2017, filmed and edited by Julian Ng, is now published on YouTube for all to enjoy!

Canterbury Marlowe Day: Saturday 20 May 2017


  • 10:00 - Chairman's Welcome
  • Marlowe Society Chairman Ken Pickering welcomes members, friends and guests in The Green Room - the Marlowe Theatre foyer coffee bar, before the Lord Mayor of Canterbury opens the day's proceedings.
  • Wreath-Laying
  • The traditional wreath-laying ceremony at The Marlowe Memorial outside the theatre will take place at a convenient time at some point during the day
  • 10:30 - Walk Through History
  • Professor Catherine Richardson's research takes her into domestic life and clothing in the early modern period, as well as the performance history of Arden of Faversham. Today she will introduce a 1641 map of Canterbury, found in the Cathedral Archives, presented as a huge floor exhibition, along with stories from the archives which explore what life was like in the early modern town. It was created by Professor Richardson and colleagues at the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent, for the "Questions of Space" summer festival at Canterbury Cathedral (2016).
  • 11:30 - Marlowe's Family History
  • Chair of the Faversham Society, former Chair, Research Officer and (still) Vice-President of the Marlowe Society, chair of the Maison Dieu Trustees at Ospringe. Teacher, researcher, lecturer and historian. Michael Frohnsdorff investigates the origins of John Marlowe in Ospringe and the fate of Kit's brother, Thomas, who returned to and lived in the Faversham area and may have gone to Virginia. Considerable numbers of the Marlovian name variants appear in the Faversham and Ospringe area, even today.
  • 12:30 - Kit the Musical
  • Updates and a very short performance from Kit the Musical by Julian Ng and singers from the University of Kent Musical Theatre Society.
  • 13:00 - Lunch
  • Canterbury has hundreds of lovely cafes, or you may decide to bring or buy a picnic and repair to the river or local parks.
  • 14:30 - Marlowe's Refugee - Identity and Belonging in Dido, Queen of Carthage
  • Kimberley Sykes will direct Marlowe's Dido, Queen of Carthage for the RSC later this year. In 2016 she was Associate Director for the RSC on A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Play for the Nation. Kimberley has directed work for Rasa Theatre, Tamasha and Soho Theatre. She trained on the BA in Directing at Rose Bruford and the National Theatre Studio Directing Course.
  • 15:30 - "Fie on Ambitions!" - Early Shakespeare, Marlowe and Co-authorship
  • In a move which hit the headlines, editors of the new Oxford Shakespeare (2016) used state-of-the-art digital algorithms to investigate the authorship of Elizabethan texts. The resulting evidence strongly suggests that Marlowe co-wrote parts of Henry VI with Shakespeare, in particular those featuring the Kentish firebrand Jack Cade, leader of a rebellion against the government of England in 1450. Dr Rory Loughnane, Lecturer at Kent School of English, will be talking about his innovative research, accompanied by live readings of selected speeches.
  • 16:20 approx - Closing speeches and farewells
  • Tea will be served.