The Spanish Tragedy: A Staged Reading

Simon Fraser University and Bard on the Beach, with the University of British Columbia and the University of Manitoba, present a staged reading of The Spanish Tragedy (1587) by Thomas Kyd.

Directed by Dean Paul Gibson (Coriolanus, 2019)

WHEN: Sunday, November 3 at 2pm (lobby opens at 1:00pm)
WHERE: ANNEX at 823 Seymour St.
COST: FREE to the public* (must book tickets in advance)

There will be time for a brief Q&A after the reading.


*Tickets are general admission. Limited seats available – book early!


The Spanish Tragedy Project is a week long workshop and a public staged reading of Thomas Kyd’s 1587 play The Spanish Tragedy, presented by Simon Fraser University and Bard on the Beach (with additional support from the University of British Columbia and the University of Manitoba). The Spanish Tragedy was one the most popular and influential plays of the English Renaissance. It created a fashion for revenge tragedy that would lead directly to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This play speaks to issues still relevant today: judicial inequity, the lingering trauma of violence, and mental illness. The Spanish Tragedy Project will unite scholars, students, theatrical practitioners, and audience members to create a unique public art event and learning experience.


After being killed in battle, the ghost of the Spanish courtier Don Andrea returns from the dead, accompanied by the character of Revenge, to observe the fates of those he left behind. His lover, the princess Bel-Imperia, has found solace in the arms of his best friend, Horatio, but her brother, prince Lorenzo, wants her to marry Balthazar, a Portuguese nobleman. Lorenzo and Balthazar murder Horatio and kidnap Bel-Imperia. Horatio’s father, Hieronimo, the Chief Justice of Spain, and his mother, Isabella, discover Horatio’s corpse. Hieronimo vows revenge but first must discover who committed the murder. While Hieronimo investigates, Lorenzo and Balthazar commit more crimes to hide their guilt. Unable to act even when he discovers the identity of the murderers, Hieronimo suffers bouts of madness and Isabella commits suicide. Finally Hieronimo tricks the two men into participating in a play at court, a play that takes a deadly turn for all involved.  The ghost of Don Andrea is delighted with the carnage.


David Adams, Alen Dominguez, Arggy Jenati, Amber Lewis, David Marr, Kamyar Pazandeh, Advah Soudack, AJ Simmons, Andrew Wheeler and Anita Wittenberg.