Arts & Entertainment

Mary Stuart

Helen Thomson and Caroline Brazier. Photo: Rene Vaile

Mary Stuart, the once-maligned wicked witch of English history, is getting a make-over, with both a film and a play about her opening in Sydney.

Mary Queen Of Scots was the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s elder sister Margaret and was Catholic. Her rival was Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn. Henry established the Church Of England with himself as head to allow him to remarry.

When Mary became queen of (a Catholic) England in 1553, she jailed Elizabeth.

Then in 1558, when Elizabeth became queen, she made England a Protestant country and had Mary executed, putting an end to their rivalry once and for all.

Kate Mulvany has taken on the challenge of presenting the extraordinary rivalry between these two great historical figures in her adaptation of German playwright Friedrich Schiller’s 1800 play.

“The relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen Of Scots is a captivating exploration of power, fear, guilt and revenge – but has mostly only been adapted by men, with a male-driven narrative,” Mulvany says. “I wanted to pull apart this play and explore it from the eyes, hearts and minds of the women themselves.” 

Mulvany says “Mary and Elizabeth lived in brutal times, and their lives and relationships, political and personal, were extraordinarily complex. I could have written 10 plays about them and still have room for more!”

Mulvany worked from the original German “to a certain extent,” but says “what you’ll be seeing is a brand new Australian work.”

Feb 5-Mar 2. Roslyn Packer Theatre, 22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay. $64-$108+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.sydneytheatre.com.au

By Irina Dunn

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