Frequently Asked Questions
Why “HIDden” Theatre? Why are the first 3 letters capitalized?
HIDden is a reference to “historically informed drama” (H I D). This highlights our goal, to present plays which have a significant historical component. “Historically informed drama” means that any production we create has been very thoroughly researched and considered with respect to the time and issues being referenced. Our name is also a nod to the fact that many plays of earlier eras are not performed frequently, and may be less familiar to audiences. It is also a reference to the early music revival movement called HIP (historically informed performance).
From what period are the plays that you perform?
The HIDden team takes a very wide view of the term “historic”. Historic plays can mean anything written prior to our current time. This can include ancient Greek dramas, the plays of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Restoration dramas, Victorian burlesque or melodrama, or anything in between. However, we don’t like to limit ourselves to plays from the past, but also enjoy working on those about the past, which may have been created more recently (or not yet even completed)! As long as a script is interesting, engaging and informative about a particular aspect of the past, it’s open for consideration.
How are historical plays different from modern ones?
It depends on the play, when it was written, and where. Often the topics of the play will be somewhat less familiar to a modern viewer than a contemporary work. The characters may have been written more to types than as specific individuals. Plotlines are sometimes more fantastic or complicated; they may seem less cohesive. And some plays were written to accommodate a very stylized manner of acting that is no longer fashionable. There are a lot of small differences, but a good play from the past will, just like a modern drama, be interesting and entertaining. We find that, with some study and work on our part, almost all art is relevant, and can be made intriguing, to the modern world.
Do you ever perform modern works?
Absolutely! We like to work with a mixture of plays from the past, and contemporary drama. We even enjoy creating drama from scratch. We only ask that any project have a significant historical component. There are different lessons to be learned from looking at historical stories from a modern angle, and we feel that is just as interesting as considering plays which were actually written in earlier times. We believe that “history has the best stories”- it doesn’t matter if those stories were told four hundred or four years ago, we enjoy the mixture of learning and entertaining that comes from working with drama about the past.
Why perform, study, or attend historic theatre at all?
The founding team of HIDden met because of two personal passions: the theatre, and the past. The more we looked at each, the more we saw the way they intertwine. Historic plays are often written off as being difficult, obtuse, or uninteresting. When they are forgotten, or treated solely as literary works which are read rather than performed, a whole dimension of the past is lost to us. This is also true of newer works which treat a historical subject: different insights are to be gained through dramatisation, and presenting a subject on stage has the ability to open new worlds to audiences. We hope that our audience enjoys a new acquaintance with the theatre of the past, as much as we enjoy putting these productions together.