A celebration of a great English heroine, Anne Boleyn dramatises the life and legacy of Henry VIII’s notorious second wife, who helped change the course of the nation’s history.
Traditionally seen as either the pawn of an ambitious family manoeuvred into the King’s bed or as a predator manipulating her way to power, Anne – and her ghost – are seen in a very different light in Howard Brenton’s epic play.
Rummaging through the dead Queen Elizabeth’s possessions upon coming to the throne in 1603, King James I finds alarming evidence that Anne was a religious conspirator, in love with Henry VIII but also with the most dangerous ideas of her day. She comes alive for him, a brilliant but reckless young woman confident in her sexuality, whose marriage and death transformed England for ever.
Howard Brenton’s play Anne Boleyn was first performed at Shakespeare’s Globe, London, in July 2010, and was named Best New Play at the Whatsonstage.com Awards in 2011.
The play was revived at the Globe in 2011 and toured regionally in 2012 in a joint production between Shakespeare’s Globe and English Touring Theatre.
‘The play bursts through the constraints of costume drama. Brenton understands how to work the audience at the Globe’
‘It takes a big, generous spirit to fill the Globe, and in this Brenton follows Shakespeare – not just with asides and soliloquies, but with a large colourful canvas’
— Daily Mail
‘Anne Boleyn has drama, royalty, sex, scheming… in short, as much entertainment value as a Tudor execution’
— Time Out
‘This is no dry and dusty history lesson… a witty and engrossing impression of the times that gave birth to our first Elizabethan age, and the subsequent reformation’
— British Theatre Guide
‘What an absolute delight… a beautifully written piece of theatre that instantly draws you in into the life and times of both Anne Boleyn and King James I’
Best New Play, WhatsOnStage Awards