The spirit of the masque returns to Banqueting House

The spirit of the masque returns to Banqueting House

Characters from Tempe Restored

1 June 2013

Their majesties King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria command you to roister with them in the latest court masque, Tempe Restored. Shed your earthly body and ascend to the spheres as a celestial being or glory is your grossness as a beast. The Maker of the Masque is the gatekeeper of your desires.

For the first time since 1635 the Banqueting House on Whitehall will play host to an opulent Stuart masque.  On the evening of 27 July 2013 Tempe Restored, first performed at Whitehall Palace on February 14, 1632, will be recreated by Historic Royal Palaces and Past Pleasures.  The masque, an elaborate theatrical formed of two parts.  First the anti-masque: a world of disorder and vice with comic elements, then the second part, the masque itself, involves audience participation with members of the court (the audience) rising up and dancing, thereby banishing the disorder created in the beginning.

All who attend the event will be encouraged to revel in their roles and behave differently from normal. On arrival guests will be given the role of either a celestial being or a gross beast, representing the two halves: the masque and the anti-masque.  Drinks will be offered in the Undercroft (King James I’s original drinking den) before guests are ushered upstairs to the main hall by 17th century courtiers.  Those representing the anti-masque will be urged to make strange noises while some guests will also be asked to take on roles within the play and given props to identify their characters. 

Written by Aurelian Townshend and designed by Inigo Jones, Tempe Restored was significant as an early instance in which a woman appeared in a speaking role in a public stage performance in England.  It was dedicated to Queen Henrietta Maria and the Queen was intimately involved in the creation of the masque, both appearing and dancing in it,  and even spectacularly descending to the stage in a bejewelled golden chariot in the second part.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the chaos of a Stuart masque and find out if you are a gross beast or a celestial being.


Notes to Editors

For further information visit or contact the Press Office: 020 3166 6166 or

Tempe Restored: 27 July 2013, 19.30 – 23.00.  Tickets cost £28.00 per person and include a glass of wine on arrival.  Tickets are available from

The event is for those aged 18 years and over. Please note that Tempe Restored is a predominantly standing event with limited opportunities to sit down.

The Banqueting House will not be accessible to visitors with mobility needs for the duration of the event. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

The masque: The purpose of the Stuart masque was not merely entertainment but to demonstrate the Stuart concept of kingship, delivering messages about royal authority, responsibility and privileges.  The masque was one of two parts.  First was the anti-masque performed by professional actors who generally depicted a world of disorder and vice, often combined with comic elements.  The second part involved what we would call audience participation when members of the court rose up and danced, banishing disorder and bringing in harmony and courtly graces symbolic of an ideal world that superseded the pervious imperfect one.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We receive no funding from the Government or the Crown, so we depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors. These palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. We believe in four principles. Registered charity number 1068852.

Past Pleasures Ltd is the UK’s leading professional costumed live historical interpretation company, providing interpreters and creating reproduction historic costumes covering all periods at many of the UK’s most important heritage venues. From Henry VIII stalking the corridors of power daily at Hampton Court Palace to Colonel Blood stealing the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, Past Pleasures’ costumed characters have been bringing history to life for thousands of visitors to Historic Royal Palaces’ flagship sites for more than 20 years.
Other clients include English Heritage, the BBC, The Museum of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and the National Trust.
Past Pleasures also provide:
Single historical figures for guided tours;
Large scale historical festivals;
An extensive range of education sessions;
Historically themed corporate entertainment packages;
Training programmes for heritage site staff.

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