Anne Boleyn: An Inspiration

Posted By on September 4, 2009

"Queens"

"Queens"

Before I carry on with my series of posts looking into Anne Boleyn’s relationships with other people at the Tudor court, I just wanted to share with you the photos of Kristen Doherty’s play “Queens: Hell Hath no Fury Like a Woman Scorned” which she did with her Year 12 drama pupils in Australia.

In “Queens”, the audience meets King Henry VIII chained up in Purgatory having to relive the treatment that he dished out to the women in his life, and women who were affected by his behaviour and actions – his six wives, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The women tell and act out their story to the King in the hope that he will be able to understand what he did to them and empathise with them.

Will he learn from their re-enactments? Will his eyes be opened to the monster and tyrant that he became? Will he work his way out of Purgatory? This is what Kristen’s play is about.

Many of you were interested in Kristen’s play, when I mentioned it on Facebook, and so you’ll be glad to know that it was a roaring success and I’ve already heard from her Anne Boleyn actress who is now using The Anne Boleyn Files to find out as much as possible about Anne Boleyn – she’s now addicted to Tudor history! I know from reading Kristen’s script (couldn’t quite justify travelling to Australia to see it!) that Kristen based her play on real history and sought to be as accurate as possible. This means that her pupils and her audiences learned the real story of Anne Boleyn and the other Queens, and their relationship with Henry VIII. This is fantastic in a world where myths and lies are still being proliferated – thanks Kristen!

Enjoy this slideshow of photos from “Queens”:-

But, Kristen is not the only one to be inspired by Anne Boleyn’s story, many other people have emailed me to say how learning Anne Boleyn’s story has affected their lives and how they’re being inspired by her. Obviously I was inspired to put this site together and on this site you will also find poems on the life of Anne Boleyn by Esther Hyams – see www.theanneboleynfiles.com/resources/anne-boleyn-words/poetry-about-anne/.

Anne Boleyn Files visitor Kimberley is writing a novel which she describes as “paranormal historical fiction” which interweaves the story of a modern day female auction house owner with the story of Anne Boleyn. Kimberley’s first two chapters are on her blog and it really does look like this book is going to be a fantastic read – well done, Kimberley! Click here to read Chapter 1 and click here for Chapter 2.

I know there are also other AB Files visitors who are being creative and writing novels, plays and poems, and if Anne Boleyn has inspired you, please take the time to comment below and let us know about it.

17 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn: An Inspiration”

  1. Laurel says:

    These were high school stuedents? Wow amazing & powerful!

  2. Claire says:

    Yes, high school students – I think Y12 is age 16 in Australia, someone correct me if I’m wrong! It looks fantastic from the photos doesn’t it? And Kristen said the audiences loved it.

  3. memory says:

    WOW…amazing! Looks like a great play…pictures are impressive

  4. Claire says:

    The photos have come out really well and really do give a “feel” for the play don’t they?

  5. Claire says:

    I’ve just had a question regarding why Lady Jane Grey is in the play when she was only a child when Henry died.

    Kristen’s play doesn’t just look at the women that Henry directly “hurt” but also looks at the knock on effect of his behaviour and reign. Lady Jane Grey was an innocent tool used to try and prevent the Catholic Mary from taking the throne and it is known that Jane actually did not want to be queen. In the play, Elizabeth pleads with Mary not to execute the young and innocent Jane but you could say that Henry’s cruel treatment of Mary, and her mother Catherine, led to her being a hard and harsh woman, a woman that could execute this young girl and have no pity for her because she was a traitor and usurper. Mary was definitely psychologically damaged by her father.

    I think that’s what Kristen was getting at!

  6. Is there anywhere we can read the script of the play?

  7. Claire says:

    Kristen is planning on getting it published so I’ll let everyone know when this eventually happens.

  8. Sabrina says:

    that play looks awesome. I wrote something awhile back, but i’m way to shy to get it published. But I would love to read this one.. 🙂

  9. Kristen says:

    Hi Claire, Im looking forward to getting my computer back so I can actually see the slideshow. haha…This computer is so useless… But im sure they look great 🙂 Here is a brief synopsis for all of you wondering how I worked putting different generations of Tudors on the stage together many whom had met their ‘most happy’ ends years before that of their fellow characters :)…

    Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived, Disowned, Beheaded, Denied!

    We have all heard of Henry the VIII the Tudor King, infamous for brutalising his subjects, and wives, and summoning the reformation, thus changing the face of religion in England forever. Thousands of innocent people lost their heads during the tyranical Kings reign. Now Henry is getting his just deserts! Trapped in purgatory for almost 500 years and chained to a massive throne which has become his guilded cage, his keeper the Fool; the Kings jester, delights in his former masters daily anguish as the Henry is forced to relive the moments he most wronged his Queens over and over again. Not just his 6 wives; Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Kathryn Howard and Katherine Parr, but his also his legacy, Lady Jane Grey and daughters (Bloody) Mary and Elizabeth I.

    The writing of this piece has been a labour of love for me and I recently workshopped it with my year 12s (16-18year olds) for their major production. I had a cast of 13 increadibly talented performers (who could put the most seasoned actors to shame) and an awesome crew of volunteers who strived to bring the majesty of this piece to fruition. Although the subject is rather grusome there is elements of comedy within the tragedy. I believe this piece belongs in England and I hope one day I will see it performed there. I plan a quick rewrite over the next few months and then i will be looking at my options. I was thrilled at how it turned out.

  10. rochie says:

    How wonderful that looks! And to have just the power of the drama alone, without all the distractions and razzmatazz of lavish TV productions. A chance to focus on the issues, and to think! Well done to all concerned!

  11. Daisy. says:

    Oh wow, the photos look fantastic on here!
    🙂
    It was such an amazing play to do!
    I felt so privilaged being able to play the role of Anne Boleyn…and also privillaged to appear on this site. haha 🙂
    Thanks for putting these up Claire.
    Hope you’ve enjoyed them.

  12. Claire says:

    Hi Daisy,
    You look amazing as Anne Boleyn and I know that playing her made you more interested in her story – she was a fascinating lady! Congratulations on being part of such a great production and well done!

  13. Aimee says:

    “In the play, Elizabeth pleads with Mary not to execute the young and innocent Jane but you could say that Henry’s cruel treatment of Mary, and her mother Catherine, led to her being a hard and harsh woman, a woman that could execute this young girl and have no pity for her because she was a traitor and usurper.”

    That play sounds interesting. In actuality, Mary made MULTIPLE efforts to pardon Jane Grey and spare her life. She signed Jane’s death warrant AFTER Suffolk raised a SECOND rebellion against Mary in Jane’s name. Mary sent her own confessor to meet with Jane, entreating her to convert to the Catholic faith (thus, depriving the Protestant rebels of their “figurehead.”) Jane Grey declined, and suffered execution.

    These circumstances do not sound like a hard, harsh woman to me. Rather they sound like a woman who desperately wished to avoid executing her kinswoman, and employed several efforts to that end, only to face rebuff and to contend with the fear of additional Protestant uprising against her own rule. Mary made a difficult political decision. A male ruler doing the same thing would not raise a brow.

  14. Claire says:

    Hi Aimee,
    Yes, perhaps Mary was just doing what she needed to protect her position, it’s amazing that Elizabeth survived Mary’s reign with being the “figurehead” of rebellions!

  15. Aimee says:

    Hi Claire.

    None of us can know Mary Tudor’s mind, but it does aeem unlikely to me, given the known history of friendship and affection between Mary and Jane Grey, that Mary Tudor earnestly desired Jane’s execution. Given the different steps taken PRIOR to the execution itself, it seems ridiculous to suggest Mary’s decision as anything beyond a defensive one.

    I don’t think it’s surprising that Elizabeth survived Mary’s reign.

  16. Claire says:

    Hi Aimee,

    I think Mary would have stirred up rebellion and trouble if she had executed Elizabeth but it must have gone through her mind, after all, she did imprison Elizabeth in the Tower, order her to be interrogated and then keep her under house arrest. Elizabeth, like Lady Jane Grey, was used as a figure head of uprisings and plots to take the throne and I’m sure that if Mary had found a scrap of evidence against Elizabeth she would have had to have acted.

    I’m not sure that I was implying that Mary’s actions were “anything beyond a defensive one” so I’m not sure what you mean. I also did not imply that Mary “earnestly desired Jane’s execution”. It was a decision based on Jane’s treachery and was not something she wanted to do, more something she felt she had to do. I can see that Mary had to act to stop Jane being used as a figurehead again but it still seems harsh that this young girl was executed when I’m not sure that she ever wanted the crown. Surely there could have been another way or perhaps I’m too naive!

    I think that Mary was hard and harsh, particularly when you consider the killing of Archbishop Cranmer, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree! I was just trying to explain why Lady Jane Grey was in Kristen’s play and why her destiny was to do with Henry.

  17. Aimee says:

    I don’t doubt Mary considered executing Elizabeth. If nothing else, evidence suggests many of Mary’s closest supporters liked the idea of Elizabeth knocked out of the succession. I think Mary refrained from executing Elizabeth for several reasons. First, as you’ve stated, Elizabeth enjoyed popularity with the Court and with the English public. Second, childless Mary had no other suitable successor. Third, regardless of the very genuine dysfunction in their relationship, I believe Mary and Elizabeth sincerely loved each other.

    It’s true Mary ordered Elizabeth’s arrest, imprisonment, and house arrest, but it’s also interesting to consider that these extreme measures may have actually aided in determining Elizabeth’s innocence in pending plots or rumors of plots against Mary. (i.e., it’s harder for a prisoner to conspire against her sovereign and not be found out–interesting follow-up, Elizabeth employed comparable measures against Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth thought long and hard about executing Mary QoS as well.)

    There is almost an erratic, hysterical quality to their relationship during Mary’s reign. Mary could not show Elizabeth too much marked affection (which might worry or offend her more ambitious, Catholic subjects.) Yet the two retained obvious sisterly affection. Mary helped raise the infant Elizabeth, it’s dificult to imagine Mary did not love her. Mary’s behavior almost reminds me of a neurotic mother/foster-mother, locking Elizabeth up to protect her from being used/abused by would-be traitors.

    I think if convincing evidence, real or manufactured, had ever been discovered, Mary would have ordered Elizabeth’s execution, but it would have broken her heart to do it. She would have effectively killed the Tudor dynasty.

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