Da Vinci, Machiavelli and Borgia? That’s one heck of a household!

This week sees a new comedy, Renaissance, starring Haydn Gwynne and James Corrigan open at the Grade ll listed Stephens House and Gardens in North London.

Renaissance London Theatre Breaks

The lockdown adhering, outdoor world premiere of RENAISSANCE, is a new comedy about the supposed interaction by three extraordinarily charismatic and talented men: Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Cesare Borgia.

Renaissance – What’s it about?

A little known fact is that, in 1502, Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Cesare Borgia, were all living under the same roof.

The action begins with Borgia in crisis: he longs to escape the weight of ruling, so appoints a little-known politician called Machiavelli to rule in his place. At the same time, Leonardo da Vinci decides that the pressures of the artistic life are unbearable, so he goes into politics. When Borgia disguises himself as an artist in his own court, the circle of transformation is almost complete…

“As this play is all about re-birth and identity, it feels like exactly the right project for this moment. says Renaissance’s director Emma Butler. It’s written as deliberately as ‘high style’, and therefore works brilliantly for outdoor performance.

Due to Covid-19, this project has of course, faced a series of unique challenges, but conversely, we’ve been given a chance to assemble an extraordinary company of actors that we would most likely never had access to in normal times. Because of these combining factors, I think I’m right in saying that we’re lucky enough to be one of the very few pieces of new writing to be premiered in the UK this September.

Directing a socially distanced production with a play where everyone is trying to get close to everyone else has been an original experience, but we’ve had a very enjoyable rehearsal process exploring that, and it very much helps that the two actors who have to kiss on stage are in the same bubble off stage. 

The Cast of Renaissance

Haydn Gwynne – Isabella d’Este
James Corrigan – Cesare Borgia
Akshay Sharan – Leonardo da Vinci
Nicholas Limm – Niccolò Machiavelli
Hannah Morrish – Lucrezia Borgia
Bethan Cullinane – Caterina Sforza

The comedy runs from Thu 17th to Sun 20th Sep – 19.30 with Matinees on Sat 19th & Sun 20th Sept 2.30pm and will hopefully extend its run, COVID restrictions allowing!

Tickets are available at

About Simon Harding

Simon Harding has grown up in and around London's Theatreland and has been working here ever since he left school: promoting its shows to anyone who will listen!

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