Bold, innovative and thrilling, The Marlowe Theatre’s Creed of Spies is a new and exciting step for the theatre and city. An immersive performance In Canterbury’s secret places, it’s part promenade, part parkour, and fuses story and fact with history and modernity to create something special. The Marlowe Youth Theatre’s exhilarating new community production explores the world of espionage and intrigue in Christopher Marlowe’s Canterbury. Partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund the show provided its young participants with opportunities for professional training in acting and parkour.
We move through the shadowed streets through the restless and changing world where religious creeds are changing and tumult raging. But what are ‘the strangers’ who share the new creed doing here? What have they fled? A boy’s fate is sealed as a cold hand of history hauls him down into the darkness. It’s our job to unlock the secrets that that conspired to shape the life and death of Canterbury’s Christopher Marlowe.
We move across and through the city and through its space, visiting iconic heritage sites including Westgate Towers, Eastbridge Hospital, Poor Priests’ Hospital, Conquest House, Old Weavers Cottage and St George’s Tower. The acting is brilliant, with articulate and engaging performances from those playing Marlowe in particular. (Seeing hooding grey friars jump and flip over bridges in front of pubs and drinkers or cars having to wait for parkouring monks to finish their performance means that bringing the show to the modern streets adds some humour as well reality and drama.)
Not a lot is known about Christopher Marlowe, and I can’t say that after Creed of Spies I was much wiser. But I did leave with renewed enthusiasm for storytelling and storyhunting, and a desire to learn more about this intriguing man and the long shadow he has left over the city. It’s a brave and bold undertaking that has paid off.