Scena Mundi was created in 2011 by Cecilia Dorland. Our first production was John Lyly's 'Love's Metamorphosis' at the Pentameters Theatre in Hampstead, followed by T.S. Eliot's 'Murder in the Cathedral' at The Priory Church of Saint Bartholomew the Great in West Smithfield, London, in May 2014. Scena Mundi were subsequently offered a residency at Great St. Bart's, and have since staged 'Everyman', in November 2014, and our first Repertory Season, 'Sad Stories of the Death of Kings: Richard II & Edward II' in spring/summer 2015. Having received much critical acclaim, Scena Mundi were invited to bring the season to the Isle of Wight, in August 2015, to headline the Ventnor Exchange Festival. In autumn 2015, Scena Mundi presented their first production at the Jack Studio Theatre, Ben Jonson's dark comedy 'Volpone, or The Fox'. Transported into the rip-roaring era of postwar decadence, the 1920s romp received outstanding reviews across the board. Our most recent production was a dark, shimmering 'Twelfth Night' at the stunning French Protestant Church, Soho Square, in the heart of London's West End.
We are now preparing our Autumn-Winter 2016-17 season and more information will be available on our website soon.
As Artistic Director of a small cultural organisation and true believer in the paramount importance of the arts in keeping a society healthy and forward-looking, I cannot but deplore immensely and dread intensely the UK’s intention to leave the European Union. I want to speak up and affirm the strong, unconditional and loving bond Scena Mundi feels towards the rest of Europe and its culture – and our belonging to it.
Whilst these views are mine only and do not pretend to reflect that of all the other members of my company, I know they are widely shared amongst us, as among the people who work in the arts and culture in the UK and abroad, and indeed half of the British population.
Arts, culture and values other than economic and financial have had no place in the debate on “Brexit” – a sad reflection of the dying state of artistic and political thought in the UK. We are not blind to the shortcomings of Europe, but we believe that fighting greed, intellectual shallowness, iniquity and inequalities from the inside of Europe is better than turning further into an isolated, finance-focused and culturally shrunk little country.
Scena Mundi is only a tiny player on the artistic scene, but it will continue to promote all the aspects of European culture and indeed of all cultures as long as they respect and encourage open-mindedness, equality among the sexes and races and total freedom of speech. We will continue, despite the culturally and socially scary climate in place, to go against the grain of political correctness and the intellectual and aesthetic vacuum it creates. We will keep on staging plays and providing cultural and educational manifestations in the curious and creative tradition which has made Europe such an open-minded and forward-looking place. We will do so as long as, and as much as, the shrinking of the cultural budget will let us, and in spite of it. And if that is no longer available, we will try other ways.
Let's not forget that Shakespeare, the "bard" we like to idolise, was the pure product of an elaborate, diverse and centuries-old pan-European culture and would not have written what he did had it not been for the Greek, Latin, French, Italian (etc...) inspiration given him by his education.
We would like to be part of a UK which remains an enlightened, pro-European country.
We hope our supporters will always be on our side.