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Shakespeare's Rape of Lucrece

22nd October

2.30pm & 7.30pm

£10.00 Donation to Safeline

Book Tickets

A dramatic performance of Shakespeare’s harrowing narrative poem, The Rape of Lucrece, about the real, historical rape of Roman Lucretia by the King’s son, Sextus Tarquinius, around 509 BCE. 

The rape and Lucrece’s consequent suicide brought about the end of the monarchy in Rome and the start of the Roman republic. 
Performed by Elena Pellone, Shakespeare’s poem is interwoven with original music and dissonant harmonies by Katherine Abbott. Although written five hundred years ago about a 2,500-year-old rape, the play creates a haunting response to a narrative that is, terrifyingly, still relevant. 

Looking into the mirror of the past we see ourselves in the unforgiving light of our future. This play is an indictment of rape culture, the relentless perpetuation of female objectification, misogyny, and shame. It gives space to survivors’ stories. No-one wins in Shakespeare’s bleak look at rape, possession, perverted desire and the drive for empty gain. 

“Lucrece,” quoth he, “this night I must enjoy thee. 

If thou deny, then force must work my way, 

For in thy bed I purpose to destroy thee. 

Lucrece feels enforced shame and that her only choice is to kill herself. This piece alerts us to the urgency of changing this narrative. For a right to feel safe in our beds. For a right to feel safe everywhere. This is a charity event. All proceeds go to Safeline to support survivors of sexual violence. 

Safeline is an independent charity that helps prevent sexual violence and provides free, specialist, long-term support, for anyone affected. Safeline is inclusive - supporting people regardless of age, (3+years) gender/sexual orientation/race/physical/mental ability/religion/political views. Former service users are employed throughout the organisation including at Board Level, ensuring the needs of users are at the heart of everything we do. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have been affected by sexual violence. It is believed that 1 in 10 children or approximately 3 children in every classroom have been impacted by sexual violence. 15 percent of all suicides are attributed to sexual violence. 80 percent of referrals to Safeline are from survivors who have attempted suicide or have suicidal thoughts. 

That Shakespeare’s Lucrece gets to tell her story, and to do so at length, is of crucial significance to this very day. Dr. Barbara Ziv, forensic psychiatrist testified when she served as an expert witness in the Harvey Weinstein case in January 2020: “I’m not sure I can think of one victim of sexual assault who did not feel humiliated, does not blame herself to some extent, and is not deeply ashamed about it,” she said. “That’s one reason why so many do not go to police, because when you do you lose control over your narrative and your whole life can take a tailspin”. 

There will be a Question and Answer session after the performance. 

Trigger Warning: This performance includes references to sexual abuse and suicide. 

This production is supported by the Society for Renaissance Studies. For further information or questions, please contact


Seats will be unasigned for this event, toilets will not be open after the performance.

Please find our ticket policy here

Shakespeare's Rape of Lucrece

22 October 2023

2.30pm & 7.30pm

£10.00 Donation to Safeline

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