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The Parish Church of Saint Thomas of Canterbury
St Thomas' Road, Brentwood (just off the High Street)
MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL
Friday 29th and Saturday 30th November at 7.30pm
Tickets £10.00 or £12.00
Forty-five years after a fondly remembered production in St Thomas’, a welcome return of this compelling play! A dramatised reading of 'Murder in the Cathedral' will be performed on two evenings – 29th and 30th November 2013. This is a play about our patron, Saint Thomas of Canterbury, and his brutal murder in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170, so it is fitting that we should be telling the story.
Written by T S Eliot for the Canterbury Festival in 1935, 'Murder in the Cathedral' recounts the love-hate relationship between King Henry II and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket. Becket returns to Canterbury in December 1170 after seven years in exile. He had fled to France in fear of his life after falling out with the King, who had appointed him as Archbishop only for Becket to defend the laws of the Church. Henry finally agrees that Becket can safely return to England, but Thomas is then murdered.
'Murder in the Cathedral' is ultimately about Martyrdom. Thomas Becket becomes aware that the sole purpose of his life is to be God's servant. However, to serve God in order to gain the glory of Martyrdom is a sinful act, so therefore Thomas has to overcome such temptation. In the end he simply accepts the murder. It is in this state of true acceptance of God's will where his greatness lies.
Although the play's magnificent and varied language constantly uses images from medieval life, the issues it deals with - such as the clash between the Church and State - are timeless. The reading is being presented in costume by members from both St Thomas’ and the local theatre community, and is being accompanied by male quartet SongCycle, who are providing some haunting liturgical chanting.
The play’s director, Sam White, said: “This is going to be an amazing production - a fusion of spoken verse drama, live singing and some great lighting effects. Our aim is to create a mini 'son et lumière' type show against the backdrop of the Church’s interior. It’s going to be an evening of high drama, cassocks and cloaks!”
An excellent cast, led by local amateur actor, Alan Ablewhite (who plays Becket) has been formed. Alan said: “Thomas Becket in Eliot’s play is a challenge. He is a complex character, a man striving for humility from a background of licentiousness and arrogant power. I am relishing the opportunity to play him”.
This community play has been kindly sponsored by Bennetts Funeral Services and Louder Audio Productions, and is supported by a grant from Ford Britain Trust.
Box Office: www.ticketsource.co.uk/murderinthecathedral
For more information please contact Sam White on 07899 843670