Chaucer Now


Chaucer Now

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 Friday 2 February 2024


 At the Weston Library

 Free, booking required

This event is now fully booked. To join the waiting list, email

About the event

Join us at the Weston Library for a free event to celebrate recent rewritings of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

The prize-winning poet Patience Agbabi performs some of her versions of the tales, in forms ranging from rap to sonnets. These poems are interspersed with excerpts from The Wife of Willesden, adapted by Zadie Smith from Chaucer’s 'The Wife of Bath', first performed at Kiln Theatre, London, in association with Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture, on 11 November 2021. These excerpts will be performed by award-winning Oxford-based theatre company, Creation, who make site-specific performances of classic plays. In The Wife of Willesden Chaucer’s Alison becomes a 21st-century woman from northwest London and her tale is now set in 18th-century Jamaica.

The performances will be framed by an introduction and a Q&A.

After the performance, the exhibition Chaucer Here and Now will be open for viewing with curator Marion Turner. Please be aware that space in the gallery is limited, so you may need to wait to enter.


  • Performance: 6–7pm
  • Exhibition open until 8pm


One of the UK’s foremost writers, Patience Agbabi has spent over 20 years celebrating the written and spoken word. Her work has appeared in anthologies, on TV and radio, the London Underground and human skin. In 2004 she was nominated one of the UK’s ‘Next Generation Poets’. She studied English Language and Literature at Oxford University, and is a former Poet Laureate of Canterbury (2009–10). She received a Grant for the Arts to write a contemporary version of The Canterbury Tales; and this fourth poetry collection, Telling Tales, was shortlisted for the 2014 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and Wales Book of the Year 2015. She became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2017. Her debut, middle-grade novel, The Infinite, was published by Canongate in 2020. Her most recent publication was The Circle Breakers (Book 3 of The Leap Cycle series), released in January 2023.

Award-winning Creation Theatre is Oxfordshire’s largest producing theatre company. Specialising in classic texts in unusual locations for over 25 years, it brings the stories we know and love to life, performing in extraordinary spaces from the MINI car plant, the Bodleian Library, Oxford's historic Covered Market to the London Library. In April 2020 the organisation moved swiftly to master the digital stage, pioneers in broadcasting live performances online. Creation Theatre inspires hundreds of children every year – not only through their productions but term-time and holiday workshops both in Oxford and online.

  Booking information

This event is free, and booking is required.

This event is now fully booked.


This event is held in person in Blackwell Hall at the Weston Library.

Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

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 Wheelchair access

The Weston Library is wheelchair accessible.


The Bodleian Libraries Learning Programme is generously supported by The Helen Hamlyn Trust:

The Helen Hamlyn Trust logo

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