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THE TELLING

I, Spie

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I, Spie: The Telling’s 6 date tour & film of a new concertplay: the imagined story of John Dowland and his brush with the Elizabethan secret service.

I, Spie is early music group The Telling’s new “concertplay” (where music and theatre collide). It tells the story of John Dowland’s brush with the Secret Service. The plot centres around an extraordinary letter which Dowland wrote to spymaster Sir Robert Cecil in 1595 - and how Dowland effectively kind of foils an Italian plot on the life of Queen Elizabeth I. Think Spooks, 16th Century-style! The music is by Dowland and his contemporaries, including Campion and Ravenscroft, as well as period tavern, street and courtly masque music.

The show is fully staged, with 5 musicians - Alison Kinder (viols), Emily Baines (recorders), Giles Lewin (fiddle), Jamie Akers (lute/cittern) and Clare Norburn (soprano) - and 3 actors. It is written by Clare Norburn, directed by Nicholas Renton (BAFTA-nominated BBC TV Mrs Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters) and lighting design by Natalie Rowland.

I, Spie will tour to Stroud Green Festival (North London), Brighton Early Music Festival, Mount Hotel Great Hall, Wolverhampton, St George’s Hall, Liverpool, Victoria Hall, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria and Hounslow Arts Centre. It aims to give new audiences a way into early music: many tour locations do not usually have access to live early music performance. A film of the Wolverhampton performance will also be released in late 2021.