John Bale (1495-1563)

We have five surviving plays written by John Bale. Three short Biblical dramas designed to replace earlier plays of the same nature; his sort-of history/morality play King John… And Three Laws. Which is… quite a thing.

We’re currently working on a slow burn complete works, with preparatory work completed on all five plays, and plans to produce fuller scale versions of them all over the coming years.

An audio playlist of all the material from the podcast can be explored directly below, or you can have a gander play by play.

God’s Promises by John Bale – we’ve recorded a rough plain text version of the complete text in short episodes an act a piece, which we plan to re-edit into something more accessible soon. But ideally we would like to do a top down reboot in the future. Use the playlist above to explore individual episodes.

John Baptist’s Preaching by John Bale – we’ve run an exploring session on this play, which asks some really hard questions about the nature of Baptism and plays the dramatic situation in quite a different way to earlier versions of the story. Podcast session below, a First Look Exploring Session is also available on YouTube.

The Temptation by John Bale – this was slated for a full production in 2020, but the outbreak of plague has forced us to pause. It is, perhaps, Bale’s masterpiece – a short and powerful play that manages not to be hectoring or offensive to modern ears. Podcast session below, a First Look Exploring Session is also available on YouTube.

Three Laws by John Bale – This is a difficult play to love. It’s political theatre at an extreme, bordering on hate speech. And yet… Bale still manages to write compellingly. Exploring session available.

King John by John Bale – Much has been written on this early form of history play – though you could argue that all Biblical drama was a form of history play. Exploring session available.

General Discussion – other materials: We’ve so far only produced one follow up discussion of modern productions of Bale’s Biblical plays – audio below.