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Rupert Brooke and Drama: At King’s (1906-1909)

Rupert Brooke came up to King’s College in 1906. He took the Classical Tripos but his interests were primarily literary. Like many undergraduates, when not studying Rupert Brooke enjoyed taking part in clubs and societies, including dramatic societies.

Brooke arrived at King’s College at a time when there was something of a dramatic renaissance taking place throughout Cambridge’s student community. The Marlowe Society staged Dr Faustus, its first play, in November 1907. In this, Rupert Brooke played the part of Mephistophiles. Though their first play was directed by Justin Brooke (not related), Rupert directed Comus, their second play, the following year. In this play, Rupert played the Attendant Spirit.

Members of the Marlowe Society such as Rupert Brooke, Justin Brooke, Brynhild Olivier and Ethel Pye formed a close group of friends that Virginia Woolf referred to as the ‘Neo-Pagans’.

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