The Duchess of Malfi


Before the Gothic Horror of Stoker and Shelley, before the most curious corners of the minds of the Brothers Grimm, there was John Webster’s 1614 true crime tale of power, corruption, fate, and forbidden love – the Duchess of Malfi.
in a Hidden Room somewhere within 311 W 7th Street, Austin Texas 78701…

The Hidden Room Theatre beckons you inside the twisted world of John Webster, and his true crime tale THE DUCHESS OF MALFI. 

Considered one of the great revenge tragedies of all time and wildly popular in its day, Webster’s 1614 horror masterpiece will be brought back to life by the Hidden Room using period playing practices such as replicated candlelight as used for an early modern indoor playing space, live music, Jacobean-style garments (designed by the American Shakespeare Center’s Jenny McNee) and makeup techniques.  Most significantly, The Hidden Room will unveil their work on Renaissance Gesture Acting – the result of years of experimentation and research, as lead by the brilliant Dr. Farah Karim (head of Research and Education at Shakespeare Globe in London, and author of The Hand on the Shakespearean Stage.)  After its Austin run, The Duchess of Malfi will bring this groundbreaking production to Shakespeare’s Globe Wanamaker Playhouse. 


This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.

This production has been generously funded by The Creative Fund Q Rental Subsidy Grant Program.  The Creative Fund provides much needed support to local performing artists, enabling them to further their creative endeavors.

This production is a collaboration with our friends and colleagues at Present Company, a female-run theatre collective that produces accessible art.  

Our tour to London is made possible by the generosity of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, whose diverse program of work harnesses the power of performance, cultivates intellectual curiosity, and excites learning to make Shakespeare accessible for all.