Welcome to the official site for Kit the Musical.
The life and death(?) of Christopher Marlowe makes for an intriguing story. It has all the elements of high drama – poor boy makes good, international espionage, treason, execution, royal politics, religion, sex, and murder.
I was fascinated by the connundrums posed by this one man’s life. Who was he? What made his genius mind tick? Why and how did he die?
That he was from historic Canterbury – a city I love dearly – made him an appealing study. I had helped to create a very funny show, Snakes! The Musical, which had become a cult darling at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013. I was busy writing the sequel to a tween fantasy novel, when some friends came to visit. As I took them on a walking tour around Canterbury, I began the tale of Christopher Marlowe in front of his namesake theatre. It struck me even as I retold his story how a musical could be created around his melodramatic life.
So, here we are with the birth of something new using the old.
Kit the Musical is a paean to Marlowe – his words take on a new life within the songs and libretto. I hope audiences will develop a renewed appreciation for this fine dramatist through Kit.
Along the way, I have been fortunate enough to meet some excellent people who have shone light on dusky paths and given rays of hope. The Lord Mayor of Canterbury 2016/2017 George Metcalfe cajoled me into signing up with the Marlowe Society.
At one of the events, I met the Society Chairman, Prof Ken Pickering (himself a renowned theatre man) and Dr Joanna Labon (who founded the Canterbury Christopher Marlowe Museum Project). All three have been a font of knowledge and encouragement, and I am deeply indebted to them.
Lastly, to all the websites of amazing research out there – where would I be without you?
From faithful reproductions of actual Elizabethan records (e.g. Baines’ Note, the Coroner’s Report, etc.) to fervent discussions about Marlowe, I have immersed myself in countless hours of joyful curiosity.
Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury in 1564. After an illustrious education at the King’s School and the University of Cambridge, he went on to define the plays of the Elizabethan period with his use of blank verse and his daring (and dangerous) subject matters. At the age of 29, he was supposedly killed in a rooming house in Deptford. Was it a brawling accident, or was it an assassination? Marlowe was rumoured to be a spy for Queen Elizabeth I. Did someone want him dead? Did he know things he should not have? Was it because he dared to think atheist thoughts? Or, was it a love triangle that got him killed?
There are some quarters who believe that Marlowe didn’t die after all, and that he went on to write a whole series of world-changing plays attributed to a certain William Shakespeare (who was incidentally born only a few months after Marlowe).
Kit the Musical explores all of the above in a topical manner and a variety of musical styles.
On the 11th July, four songs were showcased for the first time for Kit the Musical. The showcase took place at the Canterbury Baptist Church during the Canterbury Arts Conference. Three amazing actors took on several roles. Jake Byrom and Tristan Ward, fresh from their success in Rasputin Rocks! took on the roles of William …
Ah, we’ve been quiet for a while but here’s a teaser of The Virgin Queen in rehearsal. Aoife Beer plays Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth I, sardonically. Enjoy.
A solo number by Kit, entitled ‘A Different Vow‘, made its public debut during the Canterbury Arts Conference café book reading and signing event last night. The song sees Kit reflecting on his successes after graduating from Cambridge. What if he had fulfilled the terms of his scholarship and gone into the church instead? Had …