Director Heather Davies discusses the special challenges of the masque form, Milton’s verse and the rehearsal process in the time of covid with John Edwards.

Visit https://musiciansinordinary.ca/episodes to click through the series and download mp3s to add to your music playlist.

Heather Davies was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and grew up in Toronto, Ontario. She’s trained as a dancer, singer, actor and musician and has worked professionally since her teens. Heather moved to the UK to continue her actor training; she lived and worked in theatre there for 18 years. In 2001 she began focusing on directing full-time when she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as a resident director, working there for nearly three years. She returned to Canada in 2007 to attend the MFA- Theatre program at York University, graduating in April 2009. From September 2009 to February 2011 she was the Artistic Associate at The Grand Theatre in London Ontario. She continues to enjoy directing, writing, teaching and adapting in the UK and across Canada.

In 2017 Heather became the first Artistic Director of The Ryga Festival, (inspired by renowned Canadian writer, George Ryga) in Summerland, BC and directing Colours in the Storm at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario. In 2018, as well as returning to Summerland, Heather’s stage adaptation, Judith: memories of a Lady Pig Farmer, (based on the original novel, Judith, by Alberta writer Ardith Van Herk), will premiere at the Blyth Festival. Other projects in development include Silverfish (an original play about economic migration) and the stage adaptation of Night Desk, (novel by George Ryga).

The second Corant in F from Royal Consorts Set 9 by by William Lawes (1602-1645) is played by The Musicians In Ordinary string band led by Christopher Verrette, 1st vln. with Patricia Ahern, 2nd vln. Felix Deak and Laura Jones, violas da gamba and John Edwards, theorbo. 

The saraband was a fast vigourous dance when first introduced to the dance suite from the guitar repertoire. We used the Set in F for the dances of the Egerton children in our performance of John Milton's masque Comus.

Visit https://musiciansinordinary.ca/episodes to click through the series and download mp3s to add to your music playlist.

The second Corant in F from Royal Consorts Set 9 by by William Lawes (1602-1645) is played by The Musicians In Ordinary string band led by Christopher Verrette, 1st vln. with Patricia Ahern, 2nd vln. Felix Deak and Laura Jones, violas da gamba and John Edwards, theorbo. 


Another Corant from the suite we used for the dances of the Egerton children in our performance of John Milton's masque Comus.


Visit https://musiciansinordinary.ca/episodes to click through the series and download mp3s to add to your music playlist.

The third Alman in F from Royal Consorts Set 9 by by William Lawes (1602-1645) is played by The Musicians In Ordinary string band led by Christopher Verrette, 1st vln. with Patricia Ahern, 2nd vln. Felix Deak and Laura Jones, violas da gamba and John Edwards, theorbo. 


We used Lawes' Royal Consort Set 9, a dance suite heavy in Almans, the favourite dance of court masque, as the dances for the Egerton children for our performance of John Milton's domestic masque Comus.

Visit https://musiciansinordinary.ca/episodes to click through the series and download mp3s to add to your music playlist.

The first Corant in F from Royal Consorts Set 9 by by William Lawes (1602-1645) is played by The Musicians In Ordinary string band led by Christopher Verrette, 1st vln. with Patricia Ahern, 2nd vln. Felix Deak and Laura Jones, violas da gamba and John Edwards, theorbo. 


We used Lawes' Royal Consort Set 9 as the dances for the Egerton children  for our performance of John Milton's masque Comus. An Alman type dance is usually followed by a faster triple time dance in Jacobean court masques. By Lawes’ time the French influence of the courante can be heard in such dances.


Visit https://musiciansinordinary.ca/episodes to click through the series and download mp3s to add to your music playlist.

The second Alman in F from Royal Consorts Set 9 by by William Lawes (1602-1645) is played by The Musicians In Ordinary string band led by Christopher Verrette, 1st vln. with Patricia Ahern, 2nd vln. Felix Deak and Laura Jones, violas da gamba and John Edwards, theorbo. 

We used Lawes' Royal Consort Set 9 as the dances for the Egerton children  for our performance of John Milton's masque Comus. The Alman or Allemande was the staple dance for Stuart court masques.

Visit https://musiciansinordinary.ca/episodes to click through the series and download mp3s to add to your music playlist.

The first Alman in F from Royal Consorts Set 9 by by William Lawes (1602-1645) is played by The Musicians In Ordinary string band led by Christopher Verrette, 1st vln. with Patricia Ahern, 2nd vln. Felix Deak and Laura Jones, violas da gamba and John Edwards, theorbo. 

We used Lawes' Royal Consort Set 9 as the dances for the Egerton children  for our performance of John Milton's masque Comus. The Alman or Allemande was the staple dance for Stuart court masques. This alman is labelled 'Aire' in some sources.

Visit https://musiciansinordinary.ca/episodes to click through the series and download mp3s to add to your music playlist.

A Pavan in F from Royal Consorts Set 9 by by William Lawes (1602-1645) is played by The Musicians In Ordinary string band led by Christopher Verrette, 1st vln. with Patricia Ahern, 2nd vln. Felix Deak and Laura Jones, violas da gamba and John Edwards, theorbo. 

The stately Pavan was used as an entrance dance in the 16th and 17th century and we used this as an 'overture' for our performance of John Milton's Comus.

Visit https://musiciansinordinary.ca/episodes to click through the series and download mp3s to add to your music playlist. 

Two Morris Dances from William Lawes' Royal Consorts (Sets No. 5 & 6 in D maj.) that we used for the 'Country Dances &c' in our performance of John Milton's Comus.

Visit https://musiciansinordinary.ca/episodes to click through the series and download mp3s to add to your music playlist. 

The Musicians In Ordinary string band is led by Christopher Verrette, 1st vln. with Patricia Ahern, 2nd vln. Felix Deak and Laura Jones, violas da gamba and John Edwards, theorbo. 

The Antic dances of a masque were performed by professional dancers using preposterous gestures in the guise of some sort of subhuman species such as witches, apes or, in the case of John Milton's Comus, the entourage of the god of revelry 'a rout of monsters like men and women but headed like wild beasts their apparel glistering'.

An orphaned piece labelled 'Antic' by William Lawes (1602-1645) exists in a manuscript in two parts, treble and bass - here it is played with inner parts for 2nd violin and bass viol by Christopher Verrette. You will then hear a corant from Lawes' Royal Consort Set No. 5 in D maj. which has held notes in all parts at the beginning calling to mind The Witches' Dance from Macbeth and the Masque of Queens by Robert Johnson of the previous generation of masque music. The Musicians In Ordinary string band is led by Christopher Verrette, 1st vln. with Patricia Ahern, 2nd vln. Felix Deak and Laura Jones, violas da gamba and John Edwards, theorbo. 

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