POCKLINGTON School is to perform the first all-male production of Nathan Field’s A Woman Is A Weathercock since its first staging by the Children of the Queen's Revels in 1608.

Written by a scandalous and charismatic contemporary of Shakespeare, this “energetic and increasingly ridiculous” comedy was a huge hit yet scarcely has been seen in more than 400 years, but now it will run at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall in York on November 27 and 28.

“There are two reasons for the all-boys’ cast,” says communications officer Emily Frankish. “Firstly, Pocklington School is celebrating its 500th birthday in 2014, and until the 1980s all girls’ roles were played by boys, so this production is a recognition of that tradition.

“Secondly, we’re staging it in the style of the original players. That includes a cast the same age as the originals, with the actors making lots of decisions, with the audience on three sides, with live music and song and without special lighting or any technology. It’s how Shakespeare might have seen it.”

Described as “a play to send you home chuckling”, it revolves around Sir John and his three daughters with five suitors. Bellafront is marrying a man she does not love; Kate’s beloved will not defend her honour; Lucida loves Bella’s fiancé. How can this tangle of lovers be resolved and why are there two priests with big beards? Enter the master of disguises and cunning plans, Nevill.

What ensues is a story of love, marriage, trickery and disguises as they fight to unravel impossible situations, from finding a husband to bringing the dead to life, all before bedtime.

Music, much silliness and plenty of original staging features will mark out the school production, co-directed by head of drama Alan Heaven and head of English Bryony Marshall, with musical direction by Allison (CORRECT) Bond, from the English and drama departments.

Pocklington School first performed at Merchant Adventurers’ Hall three years ago when asked to provide a pageant charting the history of York. This was followed by the honour of presenting the traditional Merchant Adventurers’ play, The Last Judgement, on a cart in the Guilds of York’s York Mystery Plays.

“We’ll be doing this again next year, so the connections with the Merchant Adventurers, while relatively recent, do exist,” says Emily. “We love playing there. It’s a beautiful environment and a fresh theatrical experience for all involved, both audience and players.”

Pocklington School’s production also will test the play. “We’ll be discovering what happens when you place it in a non-theatrical setting compared with a theatre,” says Emily. “While there’s no evidence that any touring play was performed at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, it’s exactly the sort of place they would have been performing in.”

Co-director Alan Heaven says: “When I began at Pocklington School, I was just in time to see the last all-male production, The Mikado, and that was an extraordinary experience.

“Our aim this time is to perform in a style that’s simply never seen any more: an all-boys’ cast performing a play written for that age group and without any of the trappings of modern theatre. Nathan Field was one of the most famous actors of his age and this play shows it: it’s written for actors, for performing, not for reading.”

Allison Bond reveals that much of the music will be 400 or 500 years old but with a modern twist, while co-director Bryony Marshall invites everyone to “come and join in”. “We’d love to see you,” she says. “This is a terrific comedy with larger-than-life characters. We’re having a great time rehearsing and hope everyone loves this play as much as we do. Exploring original staging has been a fascinating journey.”

The cast will feature Sam Hird as playboy and fixer Neville, the role first played by Nathan Field himself; Billy Risso-Gill as Scudmore, the melancholy hero; Freddie Hetherton as Bellafront, the girl he loves; Will Baines, as Count Frederick, a vain aristocrat; and Billy Ibbotson as Lucida, the middle daughter.

Anthony Rose will play Katherine, the hot-headed youngest daughter; Lawrence Elwes, Sir Abraham Ninny, failed poet and useless suitor; George Jibson, Jack Pendant, servile assistant to the Count; and Josh Baines will be Sir John Worldly, the long-suffering father; Fred Weeks, Captain Pouts, a pompous suitor; Tom Baarda, Mistress Wagtail, who is pregnant and looking for a husband; and Fin Henderson, Mr Strange, a rich merchant and trickster.

They will be following in the footsteps of the Children of the Queen's Revels, who were closed down for insolence to the king, banned from court, banished from London but loved by thousands. What footsteps indeed.

Doors open at 7pm for the 7.30pm performances. Tickets cost £8 for adults, £5 for children, and are on sale in person at Pocklington School and the Merchant Adventurers Hall or you can ring 01904 654818 or email:enquiries@theyorkcompany.co.uk