Little Spaniel Theatre
Little Spaniel Theatre is very proud to be Resident Company at Saint Bartholomew the Great at the heart of the City.
St Bartholomew is one of London’s oldest churches. A Romanesque building of outstanding architecture, it was founded in 1123 by Rahere, a priest, and jester at the court of King Henry I.
From 12th century entertainer to 21st-century theatre, the church of Saint Bartholomew the Great goes back to its roots!
The decision to open the doors of St Bartholomew the Great to a resident theatre company is for the church a return to its origins. In 1123, the priory church and the hospital of the same name were founded as an act of faith by a follower of Henry Ist who, despite being taken seriously ill on his way back from a pilgrimage to Rome, managed to repair to London thanks to the intercession of St Bartholomew. This man was a Norman called Rahere (Raherius), a knight, priest, and jester at Henry’s court. A precursor of the troubadours and trouveres of twelfth-century Europe, Rahere is at the origin of the link that binds St Bartholomew the Great to the world of drama, poetry, and entertainment. The years that followed the foundation of the church saw the explosion of liturgical drama as plays were regularly performed in churches throughout Europe in the form of miracles, pageants or interludes.
Theatre within the walls
Because of its historical roots and prominent position in the City of London, St Bartholomew is a perfect platform from which to develop classical and historically focused theatre. Indeed, most episodes of England’s political and religious history might lead some way or another to St Bartholomew and some of the most dramatic events of the medieval and early modern periods are echoed there