MAGNA CARTA will be the focal point of the Autumn/Winter season at Salisbury Playhouse with the 800 year old document inspiring new plays by four leading playwrights.

Internationally renowned playwrights Timberlake Wertenbaker, Howard Brenton, Anders Lustgarten and Sally Woodcock have been commissioned by Salisbury Playhouse to each write a short play drawing on the themes of Magna Carta. Audiences will see all four plays performed as one theatrical event in The Magna Carta Plays from October 22 to November 7.

Howard Brenton’s Ransomed is a comedy where a detective must solve the mystery of a missing copy of Magna Carta that has been stolen from an English cathedral. Timberlake Wertenbaker draws parallels between the King’s abuse of power in 1215 and the actions of the kings of global business 800 years later in the gripping drama We Sell Right. In Kingmakers, Anders Lustgarten investigates the threat of an uprising 10 years after Magna Carta is signed asking if it’s time for a royal wedding or a royal baby – all at the common man’s expense. And Pink Gin by Sally Woodcock throws light on the often overlooked Charter of the Forest with a play set in 21st century Africa where mysterious events occur as global investors plan to develop large areas of land.

The Magna Carta Plays will be directed by Gareth Machin, artistic director at Salisbury Playhouse, and performed by an ensemble company of actors.

“We are very proud that Salisbury is home to one of the surviving copies of Magna Carta and are delighted to be putting it at the heart of our new season with entertaining, thought provoking and exciting new plays about its enduring significance today,” said Gareth.

On Monday, June 15, celebrated actor Edward Fox will read extracts from Magna Carta at Salisbury Playhouse as part of a panel discussion investigating the relevance of the historic document today.

And youth theatre members will also join the Magna Carta 800 anniversary commemorations with promenade performances of a new play Clause 39 by award-winning playwright Hattie Naylor in Salisbury Cathedral on June 20 and 21.

New writing is also celebrated in the premiere of Bike by Katherine Mitchell who responded to a callout for emerging writers from the south west. Bike will be performed in The Salberg from October 7-17 as part of Salisbury Playhouse’s Original Drama programme.

Other highlights of the Autumn/Winter season include in-house productions of Noël Coward’s Fallen Angels (September 10 – October 3), the magical pantomime Cinderella (December 2 – January 9) and Ira Levin’s nail-biting comedy thriller Deathtrap.

Visiting productions include Terence Rattigan’s Flare Path, Jane Wenham The Witch of Walkern and Clive Francis in A Christmas Carol. The Salberg has a wide range of family entertainment, comedy and contemporary drama including Eventide by award-winning Salisbury playwright Barney Norris.