John Rich and the Eighteenth-Century London Stage: Commerce, Magic
and Management-An Interdisciplinary Conference 26th/27th January 2008
held at The Royal College of Surgeons, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London.
John Rich was one of London's most legendary theatre managers and
entertainers. He commissioned John Gay's Beggar' Opera, was a famous
Harlequin and Pantomime producer and worked with Handel. As part of
the live performance concluding the first day of the conference, I
directed a company of Circus Space students in a re-enactment of the
finale of the John Rich Faustus Pantomime, "The Necromancer." An
enchanted wood was conjured up, a dragon materialised. Commedia dell'
Arte spirits emerged from the dragon's claws, performing an antic
dance before conducting Faustus to to an infernal circus of hell
through the mouth of the dragon. These transformations were performed
to a rapturous audience response using physical theatre and circus
metaphors with baroque musical accompaniment from the Royal Academy