RSC Next Generation: Act

Sapho and Phao

John Lyly

Our young company of talented 12-16 year olds perform John Lyly's tale of gods and mortals

Venus, goddess of love, is furious. The young queen Sapho remains unmarried and shows no interest in falling in love. Meanwhile, the local ferry boy, Phao is equally content with his simple, quiet life. Determined to have her will, Venus hatches a plan with her son Cupid and turns the local Phao into the most beautiful man in the world. But what happens when mortals refuse the will of the gods and the gods themselves become entangled in their own traps?

Originally performed in 1584 by a company of child actors, John Lyly’s witty play foreshadows Shakespeare’s romantic comedies and is brought to life again by the RSC’s first company of young actors.