The New Inn

4th November 1987

The Swan Theatre, RSC

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This was a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Ben Jonson’s great final masterpiece. If The Tempest was Shakespeare’s last great artistic statement, this was Ben Jonson’s, but where Shakespeare’s metaphor for the world of the imagination was an island, Jonson’s was an inn.

Brilliant as it is, the play seems to have suffered from a disastrous first production. Jonson had been paralysed by a stroke in the previous year and was not present at the performance, but the reports of friends caused him to exempt only two of the actors from the charge (on the title-page of the published edition of 1631) that the play was ‘never acted, but most negligently play’d’.

The first preview of this production at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon on 4th November 1987 was the second ever performance of the play.  It opened to the press on the 10th November and ran in repertoire until the end of the Stratford season before transferring to the People’s Theatre in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where it played from 8th-13th February.

The New Inn

Written byBen Jonson

Creative Team

Directed byJohn Caird
Designed by Sue Blane
Lighting by Wayne Dowdeswell
Music by Guy Woolfenden
Assistant Director Bill Buffery
Stage Manager Michael Dembowicz
Deputy Stage Manager Alison Owen
Assistant Stage Manager Jayne Hedley-Boreham


Goodstock, the Host Joseph O’Conner
Ferret Peter Polycarpou
Lovel John Carlisle
Frank Sonia Ritter
Prudence Deborah Findlay
Lady Frampul Fiona Shaw
Nurse Darlene Johnson
Trundle Trevor Martin
Beaufort Gregory Doran
Latimer Mike Dowling
Sir Glorious Tipto Richard McCabe
Fly Clive Russell
Pierce Sean Pertwee
Jug Sally George
Jordan Griffith Jones
Peck Jimmy Gardner
Bat Burst William Chubb
Hodge Huffle Ian Bailey
Barnaby Laban Leake
Nick Stuff Ian Barritt
Pinnacia Stuff Jane Leonard


Violin Richard Springate / Gillian Springate
PercussionJames Jones