The Beggar's Opera

15 January 2003 — 15 February 2003

Deceit, intrigue, love, loyalty and treachery in 18th century London. This February Vaclav Havel leaves office as President of the Czech Republic. To celebrate his life and work we present the British premiere of his take on The Beggar's Opera.

An extraordinary thing happened on November 1st 1975. A privately invited audience of 300 found their way to a draughty hall in a Prague suburb to have their one and only chance between 1968 and 1989 of seeing a play by their future President. Audience, actors and author were elated, but when the secret police found out they were furious!

Havel has taken John Gay's play and characters and created his own unique world of deceit, treachery, love, loyalty and intrigue. There is no beggar and there are no songs, but there is Macheath still intending to have Lucy as well as Polly, while Peacham and Lockit struggle for power and the "ladies" of Diana's salon ply their trade.