Sussex academic helps bring Nashe’s ‘Terrors of the Night’ to the Globe
By: Patrick Reed
Last updated: Tuesday, 27 April 2021
A rare performance of work by one of Elizabethan literature’s most celebrated writers will be taking place at the Globe theatre next month, the culmination of a day’s intellectual investigation into his body of work led by academics from Sussex and Newcastle.
On Saturday 20th May, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe Theatre in London will play host to an eerie candlelit reading of Terrors of the Night by writer, poet and satirist Thomas Nashe, 450 years on from his birth in 1567.
Nashe was major figure in late Elizabethan literature whose work broke new boundaries and whose novel The Unfortunate Traveller took the English language in bold new directions.
He also collaborated with Christopher Marlowe on Dido, Queen of Carthage and almost certainly with Shakespeare on the Henry VI plays; wrote shocking pornographic poetry that was read alongside the work of writers of erotic verse such as Marlowe, John Donne and Richard Barnfield; and a ground-breaking satirical novel, The Unfortunate Traveller.
Terrors of the Night is Nashe’s unsettling and disturbing exploration of night terrors. Nashe speaks in a variety of voices as his speaker tries to understand whether humans are surrounded by demons, witches and ghosts, or whether these are real terrors unleashed by the devil in his futile struggle with God. The text has been adapted for performance by Kate De Rycker, the research assistant on the project, based at Newcastle.
It will be the first time that Nashe’s incandescent text, which had a huge influence on the development of prose and drama in the age of Shakespeare, has been read aloud by candlelight.
This event is part of an AHRC research project into Nashe’s work by and Professor Jennifer Richards of Newcastle University and Professor Andrew Hadfield of the University of Sussex, who are currently leading a team of international scholars to produce an authoritative new edition of Nashe’s work, which has not been properly edited since the First World War. The edition will be published by Oxford University Press in 2021/2.
Andrew Hadfield writes, ‘Nashe’s prose, drama and poetry changed the course of English literature and Shakespeare would not have been Shakespeare without Nashe who was arguably the most significant writer of the 1590s.’
Tickets for Terrors of the Night are still available and can be bought here.
For more information about The Nashe Project, please visit https://research.ncl.ac.uk/thethomasnasheproject/.