In 1595, Dr John Dee, alchemist, astronomer and magician, relocates to drafty Manchester College, where the Queen has made him warden. While he is immersed in work and trying to convince the dons he isn't talking to the Devil, his young daughter Katherine is left to herself.
Looking through her father's old diaries, Katherine reads about his abandoned quest to discover the Philosopher's Stone - the Elixir of Life. Katherine experiments, and manages to summon a playful spirit, Madimi. With Madimi's aid, Katherine starts her own search for the Philosopher's Stone.
But using Dee's magic crystal has opened a pathway and not all those who use it are as friendly as Madimi...
Dr Dee's Daughter and the Philosopher's Stone is a collaboration with record quartet Palisander. Music is an important aspect of the story telling, with the
musicians playing an interactive role in the production. As interesting to see as they are to listen to, a range of recorders from 6 inches to 6 feet tall, add to the air of mystery. The repertoire is inspired by the time frame in which the story is set: Renaissance England during the reign of Elizabeth I. It includes touches of the English consort masters, John Dowland and Anthony Holborne, performed on authentic renaissance recorders. The sounds of Renaissance England are juxtaposed with bespoke arrangements by Palisander, which include a wealth of intriguing extended techniques and sound effects, intended to enhance and underscore the magical and otherworldly aspects of this story.
"A complete and brilliant package" (5* - The Latest) Full review
"Superb on all levels" (G Scene) Full review
"What I particularly liked about this imaginative and enjoyable production was that while it was evidently geared to a younger audience it never talked down to them, but was informative, accessible and engaging. The music was very well chosen and included many unfamiliar works which were well worth hearing and the puppetry was well performed and lots of fun." (Mark Enyon, Festival Director, Newbury Spring Festival)"We were so thrilled to host Dr Dee’s Daughter – it was one of the highlights of our Festival this year and was everything we hoped it would be and more. The audience response was unanimously positive and you have created a family show which will be a hard act for us to follow in the future! I was so impressed with how integrated everything was – often where collaborations fall down is that there is a bit of drama and then a bit of music and this totally wasn’t the case because the musicians were at the heart of the action and everyone performed from memory. The writing was really clever – it never played down to the children and the adults equally enjoyed the story and the way you integrated the music. You deserve every success for the tour and we are very proud to have been there to help you get started with the first performance. " (Clare Norburn, Festival Director, Brighton Early Music Festival)
We are delighted that Dr Dee's Daughter and the Philosopher's Stone has been funded by Arts Council England for a UK tour in 2017.
2017 tour dates
13 May, Corn Exchange, Newbury (Newbury Spring Festival)
27 May, The Stables, Milton Keynes
29 May, Toll Gavel United Church, Beverley (Beverley Early Music Festival)
16 July, Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham (Cheltenham Music Festival)
5 August, Kendal Town Hall, Kendal (Lake District Summer Music)
1 October, Wiltshire Music Centre (Wiltshire Early Music Festival)