Edward's Boys take Lyly on the road

Edward’s Boys Present: The Woman in the Moon by John Lyly (c. 1590)

“Herein hath Nature gone beyond herself.” (Nature, Act I, Scene i)

Nature, the pre-eminent deity, is female and she has created the universe and all things living. Four young shepherds, residents of Utopia, complain that they have no female companion so Nature agrees to create the perfect female figure, Pandora.

The envious gods, represented by the seven planets, decide to take revenge upon Pandora according to their dominant features: Saturn (melancholy); Jupiter (pride); Mars (aggression); Sol (poetry and healing); Venus (sexuality); Mercury (deceit); Luna (changeability). In each subsequent scene, we see the four shepherds suffer under Pandora’s various moods, as she is influenced by one planet after another.

John Lyly’s The Woman in the Moon is Lyly’s only play written in blank verse. Although primarily a comedy, it is also a strange, unearthly, esoteric mixture of genres and tones. Furthermore, it is a quite extraordinary investigation of female subjectivity.

It was first performed c. 1590 by “Paul’s Boys”, one of the two leading boys’ companies of the day. The company is collaborating with the Before Shakespeare Project, an academic project exploring the beginnings of London commercial theatre 1565-1595. This is the fourth time Edward’s Boys have taken on Lyly, following acclaimed productions of Endymion in 2009, Mother Bombie in 2010 and Galatea in 2014.

This production sets the play in 1967, the “Summer of Love” and features ‘live’ music – a “splendid time is guaranteed for all!”

All performances begin at 7.30pm. Tickets for all performances are available online via and in person from the school Box Office.

  • Thursday March 8th, 7.30pm – The Simpkins Lee Theatre, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford OX2 6QA Full price: £10; Concessions: £8
  • Friday March 9th, 7.30pm – St Mary-at-Hill, Eastcheap, London EC3R 8EE Full price: £10; Concessions: £8
  • Saturday March 10th, 7.30pm – Levi Fox Hall, King Edward VI School CV37 6BE Full price: £10; Concessions: £6
  • Sunday March 11th, 7.30pm – Levi Fox Hall, King Edward VI School CV37 6BE Full price: £10; Concessions: £6
  • Wednesday March 28th, 7.30pm – Playbox, Dream Factory, Warwick CV34 6LE (Tickets available from Playbox Box Office)
“Remember all is but a poet’s dream.” (Prologus)

Last modified: Mon, 05 Feb 2018 12:13:07 GMT