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Friday, 18 November 2016

Discover & explore, Fire & Phoenix, St Stephen's Serenades

We have another significant week in the life of St Stephen Walbrook with the final service in our current series of Discover & explore services, a performance of Fire & Phoenix, a new play about the Great Fire of London, and the first in a new series of monthly recitals entitled St Stephen's Serenades and featuring at 5.30pm the music of Michael Butten.

Monday's Discover & explore service at St Stephen Walbrook, 1.10 - 1.50pm, will be on the theme of Security and will include a reflection from myself. Featured music from the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields will include: O nata lux - Tallis; Psalm 121 - Rose; The Beatitudes - Pärt; and Ubi Caritas - Duruflé.

Fire & Phoenix is a new play to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. The play opens in the bakery of Thomas Farynor, King's Baker, just before midnight on 1 September 1666. It's a swelteringly hot night. There has been no rain for months. Thomas assures his daughter that he has checked the fires...

The fire starts within hours; for three days it rages terrifyingly, helped by a ferocious East wind. Lord Mayor Bludworth is useless. Samuel Pepys takes practical measures, and liaises with the King, Charles II. The people lose everything and camp out at Moorfields. Foreigners and 'papists' are blamed for the fire and so are ferociously attacked. People are hysterical. St Paul's burns: a vision of Hell.

A Frenchman is hanged for starting the fire, but was he really guilty? What about Farynor? Pepys has his suspicions...

Despite the toll of 89 churches, 1300 houses and 200,000 people made homeless, Christopher Wren, in a moving final scene with Pepys, has a strong sense of hope, and believes that London, like the Phoenix, will rise from the ashes.

Historia Theatre Company is Registered Charity 1099807, founded in 2003 to put on plays that have their source in or inspiration from history. Previous productions include Evelina (2004), Five Eleven (2005), An African’s Blood (2007-8), Judenfrei: Love and Death in Hitler’s Germany (2010-11), The Sound of Breaking Glass (2012-13), Queen Anne (2014), Magna Carta (2015).

Fire & Phoenix is at St Stephen Walbrook on Wednesday 23 November, 7.30pm. Tickets £15 (£12 concessions) available on the door. To reserve places, email


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