Historical Performances

William Shakespeare visited Salisbury in 1603. He stayed with his players in the Old George Inn, now the Boston Tea Party. This was an old coaching inn where horse drawn carriages pulled into where the shopping mall is now situated. They were on their way to Wilton House to perform “As you like it” before King James 1st and his court. It is believed that the group rehearsed in the Old George Inn, possibly in the garden before taking their play out to Wilton.

The musical side of Salisbury was blossoming in the 1700’s with an annual musical festival held on St. Cecilia’s day. The inclusion of Handel’s “Saul and Jeptha”, plus a series of subscription concerts meant that Salisbury was musically, buzzing! Handel visited the city for over 20 years. He was a guest of James Harris who was so important for the development of the musical side of the city. It was in Harris’s Malmesbury House that Handel gave an impromptu recital at a private concert organised by his host in 1740.

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