Characters

Characters from history

Nostradamus_by_Cesarnostradamous-ImageMichel de Nostredame (depending on the source, 14 or 21 December 1503 – 2 July 1566), usually Latinised as Nostradamus, was a French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide. He is best known for his book Les Propheties, the first edition of which appeared in 1555. Since the publication of this book, which has rarely been out of print since his death, Nostradamus has attracted a following that, along with much of the popular press, credits him with predicting many major world events. Most academic sources maintain that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus’s quatrains are largely the result of misinterpretations or mistranslations (sometimes deliberate) or else are so tenuous as to render them useless as evidence of any genuine predictive power. Nevertheless, occasional commentators have successfully used a process of free interpretation and determined “twisting” of his words to predict an apparently imminent event. For example, in 1867 (three years before it happened), Le Pelletier did so to anticipate either the triumph or the defeat of Napoleon III in a war that, in the event, begged to be identified as the Franco-Prussian War, while admitting that he could not specify either which or when.

Performer: Marcello Jacobs

 

Sofonisba Anguissola (also spelled Anguisciola) (c. 1532 – 16 November 1625) was an Italian Renaissance painter born in Cremona. She received a well-rounded education, thatincluded the fine arts, and her apprenticeship with local painters set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art. As a young woman, Anguissola traveled to Rome where she was introduced to Michelangelo, who immediately recognized her talent, and to Milan, where she painted the Duke of Alba. Elizabeth of Valois, the queen of Philip II of Spain, was a keen amateur painter, and Anguissola was recruited to go to Madrid as her tutor, with the rank of lady-in-waiting. She later became an official court painter to the king, and adapted her style to the more formal requirements of official portraits for the Spanish court. After the queen’s death, Philip helped arrange an aristocratic marriage for her. She moved to Palermo, and later Pisa and Genoa, where she continued to practice as a leading portrait painter, apparently with the support of her two husbands, living to the age of ninety-three.

Performer: Catherine Bloom

 

Lav_Fontana_AutoritrattoLavinia Fontana (August 24, 1552 – August 11, 1614) was an Italian painter. She is regarded as the first woman artist, working within the same sphere as her male counterparts, outside a court or convent. She was the first woman artist to paint female nudes, and was the main breadwinner of a family of 13.

Lavinia Fontana was born in Bologna, the daughter of the painter Prospero Fontana, who was a prominent painter of the School of Bologna at the time and served as her teacher.

Early in her career, she was most famous for painting upper-class residents of her native Bologna. She began her commercial practice by painting small devotional paintings on copper, which had popular appeal as papal and diplomatic gifts, given the value and lustre of the metal. In addition to portraits (the typical subject matter for women painters, she later created large scale paintings with religious and mythological themes which sometimes included female nudes. Fontana married minor nobleman Paolo Zappi (alternately spelled Paolo Fappi) in 1577. She gave birth to 11 children, though only 3 outlived her. After marriage, Fontana continued to paint to support her family. Zappi took care of the household and served as painting assistant to his wife.

Fontana and her family moved to Rome in 1603 at the invitation of Pope Clement VIII. She gained the patronage of the Buoncompagni, of which Pope Gregory XIII was a member. Lavinia thrived in Rome as she had in Bologna and Pope Paul V himself was among her sitters. She was the recipient of numerous honors, including a bronze portrait medallion cast in 1611 by sculptor and architect Felice Antonio Casoni.

Performer: Tanya Bryant

 

Conrad_Gesner_by_Tobias_StimmerConrad Gessner (also Konrad Gesner, Conrad Geßner, Conrad von Gesner, Conradus Gesnerus, Conrad Gesner; 26 March 1516 – 13 December 1565) was a Swiss naturalist and bibliographer. He was well known as a botanist, physician and classical linguist. His five-volume Historiae animalium (1551–1558) is considered the beginning of modern zoology, and the flowering plant genus Gesneria and its family Gesneriaceae are named after him. A genus of moths is also named Gesneria after him. He is denoted by the author abbreviation Gesner when citing a botanical name.

Performer: Guy Hartsook

 

ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”. His extant works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, of which the authorship of some is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613 at age 49, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

Performer: Geoff Curtiss

 

 

Nikolaus_KopernikusNicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at its center. The publication of this model in his book Dē revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) just before his death in 1543 is considered a major event in the history of science, triggering the Copernican Revolution and making an important contribution to the Scientific Revolution. Copernicus was born and died in Royal Prussia, a region that had been a part of the Kingdom of Poland since 1466. He was a polyglot and polymath, obtaining a doctorate in canon law and also practising as a physician, classics scholar, translator, governor, diplomat and economist. In 1517 he derived a quantity theory of money – a key concept in economics – and, in 1519, formulated a version of what later became known as Gresham’s law.

Performer: Eric Kaufman

 

maria-sibylla-merian-540x540Maria Sibylla MerianMaria Sibylla Merian (2 April 1647 – 13 January 1717) was a German-born and scientific illustrator, a descendant of the Frankfurt branch of the Swiss Merian family, founders of one of Europe’s largest publishing houses in the 17th century.Merian received her artistic training from her stepfather, Jacob Marrel, a student of the still life painter Georg Flegel. She remained in Frankfurt until 1670, relocating subsequently to Nuremberg, Wieuwerd (1685), where she stayed in a Labadist community till 1691, and Amsterdam.Merian published her first book of natural illustrations, titled Neues Blumenbuch, in 1675 at age 28. In 1699, following eight years of painting and studying, and on the encouragement of Cornelis van Aerssen van Sommelsdijck, the then-governor of the Dutch colony of Surinam, the city of Amsterdam awarded Merian a grant to travel to South America with her daughter Dorothea. After two years there, malaria forced her to return to Europe. She then proceeded to publish her major work, Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium, in 1705, for which she became famous. Because of her careful observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly, she is considered by David Attenborough to be among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology. She was a leading entomologist of her time and she discovered many new facts about insect life through her studies.

Performer: Nicole De Silva

 

galileo_sustermans GalileoGalileo Galilei; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), often known mononymously as Galileo, was an Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy”, the “father of modern physics”, the “father of science”, and “the father of modern science”. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, inventing an improved military compass and other instruments.

Performer: Tony Covello

 

Henry_Morgan_in_colourSir Henry Morgan (Harry Morgan in Welsh; ca. 1635 – 25 August 1688) was a Welsh privateer, pirate and admiral of the English navy who made a name for himself during activities in the Caribbean, primarily raiding Spanish settlements. He earned a reputation as one of the most notorious and successful privateers in history, and one of the most ruthless among those active along the Spanish Main.

Performer: Danny Jacobs

 

francis drakeSir Francis Drake, vice admiral (c. 1540 – 27 January 1596) was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition, from 1577 to 1580. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He died of dysentery in January 1596 after unsuccessfully attacking San Juan, Puerto Rico. His exploits were legendary, making him a hero to the English but a pirate to the Spaniards to whom he was known as El Draque. King Philip II was said to have offered a reward of 20,000 ducats, about £4 million (US$6.5M) by modern standards, for his life.

Performer: Lon Smith

 

Characters from our imagination

Katie Gallagher – Wife of a 16th century Irish inn keeper, Katie was also one of the local midwives and had knowledge of herbal remedies. After the untimely death of her husband, rumors began circulating about her village that his death may not have been “natural”. Being childless, with no hope of a future in her village with the widespread rumors, Katie sold all of her husband’s properties and left for France in search of a new life.

While staying in Marseille during the plague outbreak of 1545, Katie met Nostradamus while giving comfort to the stricken. Because of her background in natural healing, she became his assistant. Katie followed Nostradamus for a while, assisting him in his medical practice. During this time she followed him to Koroneburg to assist Nostradamus as needed.

Performer: Debbie Jacobs

 

Sir Andrew, a Teutonic Knight – Performer: Andrew Sunderly

aknight

 

RigatoniGiuseppe Rigatoni 
Occupation: Inventor, Luthier and General Nuisance.
Country of Origin: No one will claim him; however, he was born in the city of Milan.
Year of birth: 1522, or there about. The records are as dodgy as he is. Giuseppe fled, err, ah, departed Milan in 1556. The inventor of such musical monstrosities as the Squirrel harp and the Catavarious (so named because it sounded like the straggling of various cats), Giuseppe moved to Koroneburg where he hoped no one would find him. He occupies himself in the guise of an inventor, entertainer and conman, though he is mostly harmless.

Performer: Derek De Silva