For centuries, Bartholomew Fair was held on the 24 August in the heart of London, and people flocked to the notorious streets of Smithfield for the fair, famous for its lawlessness, depravity and general merriment. Ben Jonson’s play Bartholomew Fair brings a cast of characters from across London together in a snapshot of London life. But the raucous comedy has a dark side, and its exploration of class, social standing and just deserts has as much to say now as it did then. It’s about to land in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, brought up to date for 2019. We went behind the scenes with the company – director Blanche McIntyre and actors Zach Wyatt, Josh Lacey and Richard Katz – to find out more about
Bartholomew Fair and Londoner’s past and present, and to ask how much has really changed since Jonson’s Londoners partied in the streets of Smithfield?