In Extremis

The story of Abelard and Heloise


This event is in the past. This is an archive page for reference.
In Extremis at Shakespeare's Globe
Oliver Boot and Sally Bretton in rehearsal. Photograph by Stephen Vaughan

By Howard Brenton. A new spirit of philosophical and religious enquiry is growing in 12th-century France. In its vanguard is the brilliant Peter Abelard, a man of great learning, independence of mind, and sensuality. When he starts an affair with his equally brilliant but disastrously connected student Heloise, his conservative enemies find just the pretext they need to discredit him. In so doing they start a war of ideas that can only involve that arch-priest of medieval mysticism and austerity, Abbot and Popemaker, Bernard of Clairvaux.

Through the joy and suffering of one of the greatest love stories of the middle ages, Howard Brenton explores the relationships between logic and religion, humanism and fundamentalism, faith and power.

Howard Brenton's many plays include The Romans in Britain (1980), Pravda (with David Hare, 1985) and, more recently, Paul (all National Theatre). This is the world premiere of In Extremis.


Shakespeare's Globe
New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DT
infowhat's on @map

Box office: 020 7401 9919

Exhibition daily 9am-5pm; separate schedule applies to theatre tours

Exhibition & tour 16; seniors 14.50; children 9; students 12.50; family 43


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