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Are you a gross beast or a celestial being?
Are you a gross beast or a celestial being?

The spirit of the masque returns to the Banqueting House after almost 400 years

Their majesties King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria command you to roister with them in the latest court masque, Tempe Restored. Shed your earthly body and ascend to the spheres as a celestial being or glory is your grossness as a beast. The Maker of the Masque is the gatekeeper of your desires.

For the first time since 1635 the Banqueting House on Whitehall will play host to an opulent Stuart masque.  On the evening of 27 July 2013 Tempe Restored, first performed at Whitehall Palace on February 14, 1632, will be recreated by Historic Royal Palaces and Past Pleasures.  The masque, an elaborate theatrical formed of two parts.  First the anti-masque: a world of disorder and vice with comic elements, then the second part, the masque itself, involves audience participation with members of the court (the audience) rising up and dancing, thereby banishing the disorder created in the beginning.

All who attend the event will be encouraged to revel in their roles and behave differently from normal. On arrival guests will be given the role of either a celestial being or a gross beast, representing the two halves: the masque and the anti-masque.  Drinks will be offered in the Undercroft (King James I’s original drinking den) before guests are ushered upstairs to the main hall by 17th century courtiers.  Those representing the anti-masque will be urged to make strange noises while some guests will also be asked to take on roles within the play and given props to identify their characters.

Written by Aurelian Townshend and designed by Inigo Jones Tempe Restored was significant as an early instance in which a woman appeared in a speaking role in a public stage performance in England.  It was dedicated to Queen Henrietta Maria and the Queen was intimately involved in the creation of the masque, both appearing and dancing in it, and even spectacularly descending to the stage in a bejewelled golden chariot in the second part.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the chaos of a Stuart masque and find out if you are a gross beast or a celestial being.

Tempe Restored: 27 July 2013, 19.30 – 23.00.  Tickets cost £28.00 per person and include a glass of wine on arrival.  Tickets are available from

The event is for those aged 18 years and over. Please note that Tempe Restored is a predominantly standing event with limited opportunities to sit down.

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