‘She made some very poor decisions. You tried to warn her. You love her yet, and that’s a credit to you, but you need to think about what’s best for Scotland…’
It’s 1567. James Melville is an intelligent, charismatic and skilled diplomat – and also one of the most loyal servants of Mary Stuart, the troubled Queen of Scots. It’s a time of political turmoil, and the shocking crimes he has witnessed have shaken him.
Now he needs to decide who’s guilty, who’s innocent, and who is too dangerous to accuse. Change is coming, but at what price?
Mary is an explosive political thriller, and part of Rona Munro’s breathtaking theatrical exploration of Scottish history. It is the sixth instalment of The James Plays Cycle which began with James I, II and III, performed by National Theatre of Scotland, including a run at the National Theatre in London, and which won the Evening Standard and Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards in 2014, and James IV, co-produced by Raw Material and Capital Theatres in association with National Theatre of Scotland, in 2022.
Mary received its world premiere at Hampstead Theatre, London, also in 2022, directed by Roxana Silbert.
‘A psychological and political thriller which pulses with excitement… Munro brilliantly interrogates historical fact, and her account of sexual violence is stunningly intense. At the end, she comes up with an equally impressive coup de théâtre… an excellently taut and satisfying account of intrigue and betrayal’
— Arts Desk
‘An engaging debate drama with some thrilling exchanges’
‘A chamber piece about political power and the deals men do in back rooms… a brilliant depiction of political persuasion… fascinating and truly unsettling’
— Time Out
‘A tight, incisive political drama… keenly focused and fiercely relevant’
— The Stage
‘A complex dissection of power dynamics coupled with tense and dramatic storytelling’
— Reviews Hub