Jacobean Masque Staged For The First Time In London In 400 Years

Four centuries ago, Jacobean London was bursting with brilliant thinkers, writers and artists. In 1611, Shakespeare premiered The Tempest, his last and most utopian play, John Donne wrote what would become his most celebrated verse and the King James Bible project finally came to fruition.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of this remarkable year, Jericho House, the team behind critically acclaimed theatre events Fallujah (The Old Truman Brewery) and Katrina (in association with the Young Vic), are running the 1611 Utopia Season throughout 2011.

The season opens with the world premiere of Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly, a restaging of a masque first presented to King James I in 1611 and never since performed.

The 1611 masque was originally written and designed by Jacobean dream team playwright Ben Jonson, early music composer Robert Johnson and designer Inigo Jones.

Culturally and politically influential, the annual masque was the ticket that everyone wanted. Audience participation, intrigue, feasting, dancing, playing, music, design, lighting – these were the ingredients of a spectacular artform that ranked second to none in both ambition and experiment.

Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly is recreated by Jericho House for the first time in 400 years in the opulent setting of Wilton’s Music Hall on Tuesday 1 March 2011 for one night only.

Starring soprano Dame Emma Kirkby, performers from the Royal Ballet, an ensemble of celebrated actors, and choreographed by critically acclaimed US multi-media dance/theatre company, Company XIV, Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly will be a sensory spectacle mirroring the original masque.

Specially commissioned sculptures by illustrator and set designer Lucy Wilkinson and costumes with an exciting contemporary twist by Company XIV and Jericho House’s design team help set the scene. Alongside the night’s decadent entertainment, a lavish and authentic 17th century banquet will be served with an array of delicious Jacobean dishes.

Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly is the first production in Jericho House’s 1611 Utopia Season which runs until autumn 2011. Other productions in the company’s season include Into Thy Hands, the world premiere of a new play about the life and work of John Donne by Jonathan Holmes at Wilton’s Music Hall in June, and a brand new multi-ethnic production of The Tempest celebrating its 400th anniversary to be performed in the UK, as part of the Barbican’s bite11 season, in September. More information on Into Thy Hands and The Tempest will be announced in due course.

Tickets for Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly are limited to just 180. Tickets cost £150 per head with tables seating 12 for £1800 and half tables seating six for £900. To book tickets, call 07974 710 335 or email jasmine@jerichohouse.org.uk