Keats in Hampstead

Want the recipe for a perfect summer afternoon? Take the words of one of the most famous English poets, a beautiful garden in Hampstead Heath, two very convincing actors, add a pinch of sun and a Dejeuner sur l’Herbe feel, and that’s it.  

This summer, Keats House hosts a dramatic exploration of  the love affair between John Keats and his neighbour Fanny Brawne. The poet lived there, in Hampstead Heath, between 1818 and 1820, and the play is performed in the garden where the two lovers actually met, which contributes to this very special atmosphere. As the author and director James Veitch explained to the Islington Tribune: “the garden hasn’t changed at all; the mulberry tree still stands where Keats admired it and the plum tree under which Keats famously sat and wrote Nightingale has been replanted. The idea is to celebrate London and its history and to spend some time outside – to get people out of the plush red seats in the darkened room.”

The play is based on John Keats’ love letters  to Fanny Brawne, which are now considered among the most beautiful love letters ever written, but also on his poetry, as well as criticism. The two actors, Andrew Dawson and Katie Beard recite and perform litteraly among the audience, sitting on the grass, under the trees, sometimes next to you, or running through the garden. It’s a very refreshing approach and as a French, may I say,  a perfectly English one!

Whether you are a great admirer of Keats poetry, an incurable romantic, or just want to spend a lovely time on a balmy summer evening, soothed by the sound of poetry and violin, there’s no other place to go!

Laurie Guillem

Keats in Hampstead 17th July-1st August – Saturday & Sunday matinees at 3pm – Saturday evening performances at 6pm –

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