Threepenny Opera

7th March 2017

News, Student news, Alumni news

Wadham rooms and gardens came alive to the sounds of Kurt Weill’s music for the College performance of Bertold Brecht’s Threepenny Opera.

Opening on the steps of the Dining Hall in Front Quad, the audience followed the performers on a theatrical tour of College, where the McCall MacBain Graduate Centre became Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum’s beggars’ shop, Back Quad was the stable where Macheath (Mac the Knife) and Polly Peachum plan their marriage and the Chapel pulpit doubled as the gallows.

Produced by Theo Chevallier (Medicine, 2012) and co-directed by Poppy Clifford (German,2013) and Louise Mayer-Jacquelin (French and German, 2015), with musical direction by Leo Munby (Chinese, 2013) the fifty strong audiences for each show were thrilled by the quality of performance and the imaginative staging.

Wadham College bar doubled as the brothel where Macheath and ex-lover, Jenny sing the "Pimp's Ballad" ("Tango Ballad") about their days together. In jail, the Old Refectory, Chief of Police Tiger Brown reveals to his old friend Macheath that he cannot help obtain his release but another girlfriend, Lucy (Brown's daughter) turns up and helps him escape. When Mr Peachum finds out, he confronts Brown and informs him that he will unleash all of his beggars during Queen Victoria's coronation parade, ruining the ceremony and costing Brown his job.

To placate Peachum, Brown's only option is to arrest Macheath and have him executed. As Macheath prepares to die, a messenger on horseback arrives to announce that Macheath has been pardoned by the Queen and granted a castle and pension.

The Threepenny Opera is a satire on the bourgeois society of the Weimar Republic, set in a mock-Victorian Soho.


Macheath: Oscar Hansen
Tiger Brown: Samuel Dunnett
Mr Peachum: Emma-Ben Lewis
Mrs Peachum: Indyana Schneider
Polly Peachum: Emelye Moulton
Jenny: India Phillips
Lucy Brown: Jasmin Yang-Spooner

The show was  inspired by Wadham's Director of Chapel Music, Katharine Pardee