News - Venice Preserved

Billed as "Blade Runner meets Gotham in a dark, dystopian fantasy" watch the trailer for the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Venice Preserved, coming to the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from 24th May...

'Burn, burn to nothing, but let Venice burn hotter than all the rest.'

First staged in 1682, Thomas Otway’s Restoration revenge tragedy draws on themes of sexual perversion and political corruption.


Jaffeir, a noble Venetian, has secretly married Belvidera, the daughter of a powerful senator named Priuli. For three years the couple live blissfully, despite her father’s disapproval. When Jaffier loses his fortune and goes to his father-in-law for help, Priuli refuses to provide aid.


Meanwhile, Pierre, a foreign soldier and friend to Jaffeir, is plotting in the shadows. He plans to bring down the Senate in revenge against Antonio, another senator, who is using his political standing to pay for trysts with Pierre’s mistress, Aquilina.

Pierre informs Jaffeir of the plot, stoking his resentment and drawing him into the heart of the revolution. He joins the conspirators, lead by their brutal leader Renault. In order to prove his loyalty and win their trust, Jaffier is forced to offer Belvidera as a hostage.


After suffering a near rape by Renault, Belvidera escapes and runs back to Jaffeir, and begs her husband to inform the Senate of the nefarious plot. Torn between loyalty to his wife and his friend, Jaffeir must choose a side – the failed Senate, or the conspirators as corrupt as those in power?

This will be Prasanna’s Puwanarajah’s first time directing for the RSC, having previously acted in Gregory Doran’s Twelfth Night in 2010, the National Theatre’s production of Absolute Hell and in the hit TV shows Doctor Foster and Patrick Melrose. 

He said, “Venice Preserved has been in my head for the past 8 years and it has never felt more apposite than now; it’s a thrilling, hot shard of Restoration noir about idiots in power versus the seismic political movements and moments that pull a city - and relationships - to pieces. I’m thrilled to be directing at the RSC for the first time, and for it to be this extraordinary play, and I’m excited by the company we’ve formed; new faces of all ages will play alongside RSC veterans, making this a great opportunity to see incredible performers climb into one of the great verse tragedies."

Running from 24th May to 7th September, find out more and book tickets at

Image & info - RSC
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