To Build a Wooden O, Malvern Theatres

To Build a Wooden O

To Build a Wooden O - Credit: Archant

An epic tale of poets, playwrights, and the perennial problems of playhouses!

It’s 1598 and Will Shakespeare needs a new theatre…

James Burbage is dead, his investment at Blackfriars stalled, and Shakespeare is stuck in the wrong part of town. Shoreditch is no longer the hotbed of theatrical life it once was. Burbage’s Theatre is closed, and Shakespeare and his company are stuck at the ageing Curtain Theatre, out on a limb.

But south of the river business is booming…

Outside of the harsh jurisdiction of the city, Southwarke is full of bear-baiting, cock-fighting, taverns and brothels. Here audiences are cramming into the best theatres England has ever seen; The popular Rose Theatre, and the resplendent new Swan Theatre, both making plays, pennies and pounds a plenty…

Malvernbard, in association with Malvern Theatres presents To Build a Wooden O, a new play from Nick Wilkes, Writer in Residence at Malvern Theatres, appearing from Wednesday 9th to Saturday 12th September.

“It’s the perfect time to set a play, with Shakespeare at a huge crossroads in his life and career. Many of his great playwriting contemporaries including George Peele, Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd are all dead, and the next generation, Ben Jonson, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Heywood are starting to find success. Poor old Will Shakespeare stands alone as a bit of an elder statesman, part of an ageing company in an older theatre.

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Should he retire to Stratford? Should he return to being a hired-quill at £6 a play? Should he concentrate on the publication of his poetry? Right now, at this point, his career could have moved in any number of directions.”

Against this backdrop we witness an audacious plan with the highest of stakes, literally make or break, life or death. All whilst Shakespeare is writing his new play, a little History piece called Henry V.

“2015 is the six-hundredth anniversary of the battle of Agincourt, so it’s the perfect moment for us to look backstage at the very first time that Shakespeare’s Henry V was performed. Think of it as the story behind the making of the play that we know today! Noises Off meets Henry V!”

Told in flashback by Shakespeare’s eldest daughter Susanna Hall, who looks back through the eyes of her younger self to see how history unfolded, To Build a Wooden O is comedy, tragedy and history all rolled into a must see production for Autumn 2015.

To Build A Wooden O will be appearing at Malvern Theatres from Wednesday 9th to Saturday 12th September. Tickets are on sale at the Box Office 01684 892277 and online at

“Fresh and contemporary writing with mainstream appeal. We need much more of this” -


“Wilkes’ in-depth knowledge of Shakespeare and passion for the stage are clear” – GLOUCESTERSHIRE ECHO

To Build A Wooden O

Malvern Theatres

Weds 9th – Saturday 12th September

Eves 7:30pm. Sat mat 2:30pm

Box Office: 01684 892277