Tamburlaine at Oxford

  • George L. Geckle
Part of the Text and Performance book series (TEPE)


The next performance of Tamburlaine, although unique in some respects, is of minor importance. It was a production of Part II at Oxford on 12 June 1933. The producer was Nevill Coghill (who many years later directed Richard Burton as Doctor Faustus), and the play was performed by a dramatic group called the Buskins in the gardens of Worcester College (where Professor Coghill produced some well-known performances of Shakespeare over the years). Since it was the first time Tamburlaine had been performed in England since Marlowe’s era, the production, although an amateur one, merited a review in The Times of 13 June 1933. The reviewer did not think much of Mr F. B. Hunt as Tamburlaine, but he did praise the performances of Miss Judith Masefield as Olympia and Miss Barbara Church as Zenocrate. What seemed most striking, however, was the costuming:

The producer, Mr. Nevill Coghill, had examined the Oriental illuminated manuscripts in the Bodleian, and had made replicas of some of the costumes shown in them. That, for instance, worn by Tamburlaine was copied from an Indian miniature of Timur now in the Bodleian and at one time the property of Alexander Pope. Some of the other costumes were designed by Mr. Charles Ricketts. The painted scene for the front of the stage was a particularly successful innovation, being a large reproduction of an ancient map of the East painted by members of the cast and showing the territories of those minor kings who strut in such bewildering numbers through the scenes of Tamburlaine.

Copyright information

© George L. Geckle 1988

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  • George L. Geckle

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