The David Tennant Theatre Archive



The RSC production of The Herbal Bed was staged in Stratford at The Other Place.

This was the world premiere of this play written by Peter Whelan, who won the Lloyd's Private Banking Playwright of the Year 1997.

The play then transfered to The Pit at the Barbican, the running time of the production, with interval, was two hours and twenty minutes.
Click to see cast list and here for reviews. 
The Stratford dates were from May 8, 1996 - September 30, 1996, the press night was held of May, 22nd.  The London run started on October 30, 1996 and ended on January 16, 1997, the press night at The Pit was November 5, 1996
The National Video Archive of Performance (NVAP) was launched in 1992, with the intention of preserving the most important and critically acclaimed productions for posterity. The collection was originally housed at the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden when that closed in 2007 the collection moved to it's current home at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
The project recorded an evening London Barbican performance of The Herbal Bed on  January 9, 1997 and you can make an appointment to view the recording at the research facility at Blythe House in Olympia, simply send an email to 

The recording was made possible by the generosity of Sir Eddie Kulukundis. O.B.E. and was done with one camera in a wide shot.
THE STORY: THE HERBAL BED is based on actual events that occurred in Stratford-upon-Avon in the summer of 1613, when William Shakespeare's elder daughter Susanna Hall was publicly accused of having a sexual liaison with Rafe Smith, a married neighbor and family friend.

Susanna sues her accuser, young Jack Lane, for slander in the court of Worcester Cathedral. Susanna's husband, the respected physician of Stratford, John Hall, is desperate for her to clear her name in order to save his practice, and he gives her his complete support.

But how can he avoid the fact that one summer's night, while he was away from Stratford, Rafe Smith was seen secretly leaving their herbal garden? Faced with political divisions within the church, the hearing in the bishop's court becomes a risky gamble as three people's private lives are held up to the glare of intense public scrutiny in this emotional thriller whose outcome is anything but certain.
                            (description supplied by Dramatists Play Service)