Access to Art to Present An Evening of English Renaissance Theatre Entertainment

Beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Play Reading of a new play by playwrite Sheila Rinear
“Bound for Truth” Dec. 13th
A discussion of Renaissance English Music by Dr. Burton Greenspan
Wine and Sociability at the Southern Mansion, Cape May

Cape May. Strike up your lute. It is Renaissance redux at the Southern Mansion for Access to Art, Inc. on Dec. 13th, at 7:30 p.m. when the elegantly festooned l860’s era mansion, the Southern Mansion will entertain Access’s guests for a reading of a Renaissance play and a talk about Renaissance music in Henry VIII’s England. The event is open to the public. Decked with Christmas splendor, the Southern Mansion, who hosted Access’s Salute to the Italian Renaissance in 2010, at 720 Washington St., Cape May will play host to a return of Dr. Bert Greenspan to discuss Renaissance music in Henry VIII’s England. The event, which includes wine, will occur on Thursday, Dec. 13th at 7:30 p.m. Access to Art will continue their explorations of 16th century Renaissance England at a play reading of “Bound for Truth,” featuring Sir Thomas More, former chancellor for Henry VIII , featuring his eldest and favorite daughter , Margaret, trained as a humanist at More’s home in Chelsea. Women were not educated in the 16th century, but More educated his three daughters, his stepdaughters, and his son the same bringing in the finest dons from Cambridge and Oxford, and famed scholars from the continent. Margaret translated a religious work from Erasmus, the famed Netherlands humanist.

The reading of the new play by Sheila Lynch Rinear, “Bound for Truth,” with be done with area and NYC equity actors from East Lynne Theatre Company. The play, funded by the NJ State Council on the Arts, Dept. of State, and supported by the Cape May County Cultural and Heritage Commission, and by Samuel S. DeVico, concerns the period of former Chancellor Thomas More’s sojourn in the Tower of London. He had retired from the chancellorship as Henry conspired to rid himself of Catherine of Aragon, and was consigned to the Tower when he refused to sign Henry’s oath which made Henry both the head of the church spiritual and the head of state in England. This situation transpired when Cardinal Wolsey, then Chancellor of England, was unable to get Henry VIII a divorce from Pope Clement VII, a Medici. Henry had been married to Catherine of Aragon, for 22 years, with no male heir. Catherine, who was the aunt of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, spelled trouble for the Pope, since, eventually Charles V sacked Rome and ended the Renaissance. That created a problem for the Pope, who vacillated. The papacy had already given one annulment to allow Henry to marry his brother Arthur’s widow, when Arthur died at 15 years of age.

Margaret Roper More managed to visit her father, in the tower, by signing the oath, and assuring Cromwell that she would get her father to take the oath . Margaret was the eldest, and the brightest of his children, and the most gifted in languages. She was a translator for Erasmus, the great Renaissance Greek scholar. The event is scheduled for a Thursday evening, Dec. 13th at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a wine reception. An introduction to the music of the court of Henry VIII will be given by Dr. Burton Greenspan, formerly of Rowan University, and currently concertmaster of the Naples Opera Company in Naples, Florida. “Dr. Bert taught music history at Rowan, and also violin. He has an undergraduate degree from Julliard, and a graduate degree in performance from Indiana University. He is an informative and entertaining speaker, and he gives one an educated chance at seeing the period musically.”said Barbara Beitel. Also joining Access will be Joseph Mayes, head of the Early Music Dept. at Rowan, who will play a little lute, to introduce the play’s masque. The lute was the instrument of choice of Henry VIII who played the lute as did his wives, and associates. Henry had 58 paid musicians at his court, from Italy and the Netherlands, and a children’s Chapell, and he took music seriously enough to also compose it. He liked to sight read with his courtiers and to sing. He was the most musical of the Renaissance Kings. He played the lute, the organ and the virginals.

“We are having a reading of the beginning of the play, and we will have the play fully developed by the Cape May Renaissance Festival.” said Barbara Beitel, Access to Art, Director. “Meanwhile, we invite everyone to an evening similar to the one we had several years ago on the Italian Renaissance, with the addition of a play reading.” Beitel said. “England had its religious wars, as did Europe, and it was a bloody business. We can be thankful that all we have to put up with is character assassination, and not murder in our present political climate. It makes one acutely aware of the reason our forefathers were so adamant about separation of church and state.” she said.

Tickets are $25., adults, $20 seniors and include wine and the entertainment. Call Barbara Beitel at (609) 465-3963, Send checks to Access to Art, Inc., 417 E. Pacific Ave., Cape May Court House, N.J. 08210.