Historia Theatre: ‘Fire and Phoenix, 1666’ | University of Oxford

Historia Theatre: ‘Fire and Phoenix, 1666’

St Hugh's College
St Margaret's Road

Maplethorpe Building


The play opens in the bakery of Thomas Farynor, Kings Baker, just before midnight on 1st September 1666. Thomas assures his daughter that he has checked the fires… The Fire starts within hours; we follow Thomas and others as they flee, homeless, from a raging inferno, driven by a ferocious East wind.

Samuel Pepys witnesses and records the horror. The people lose everything and camp out at Moorfields. Foreigners and “papists” are blamed for the fire and so are ferociously attacked. St Pauls burns: a vision of Hell. A Frenchman is hanged for starting the Fire but was he really guilty? What about Farynor? Pepys has his suspicions… and is there any hope?

Director Kenneth Michaels has had a long career as an actor in Rep, both in Europe and the UK. Companies included the Channel Theatre Company and Triad. He did voiceovers for many companies, as well as work for the BBC. Kate Glover is the founder of Historia Theatre, which focuses on plays that have their source in or inspiration from history. She read Modern History at St Hugh’s College in 1965.