The Marlowe Society was founded in 1907 by Justin Brooke and other students in Cambridge for Cambridge University students. Many notable actors have risen from this society. The Marlowe Society and Footlights used to work closer together than they currently do; frequently the annual Footlights pantomime was a parody of the Marlowe society's serious dramatic performance earlier in the year. This performance is the one 'hosted' by the Arts Theatre in Cambridge.
The Marlowe Society originated by reacting against Victorian theatre, it revived the presentation of Shakespeare in Cambridge which had not been performed since 1886. .[2 ]
The Marlowe Society is dedicated to achieving a high standard of student drama in Cambridge and has staged many notable productions including the complete, uncut canon of Shakespeare poems and plays, under the direction of George Rylands, in time for the Centennial of 1964 commissioned by the British Council.
The Marlowe Society began with the intention to perform historical plays that were relatively unknown. Marlowe himself was Shakespeare's contemporary. The society is celebrating its centenary over three years 2007-2009 and for 2008 there will be a production by the society of a version of Comus written by Australian poet and playwright John Kinsella.
There are many famous alumni of this society including: John Barton, Sir Peter Hall, Trevor Nunn, Tim Supple and Sam Mendes. Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi, Tom Hollander, Griff Rhys Jones, Clive Swift, George 'Dadie' Rylands. [2 ]