Tuesday, June 10, 2014
The story of the second of King Henry VIII’s six wives takes centre stage in the latest show at the Maddermarket Theatre, in Norwich.
Anne Boleyn, a play written by Howard Brenton, opens at the St John’s Alley theatre next week.
The show looks at how Norfolk-born Anne - the mother of Elizabeth I - was a catalyst for religious change.
Clare Howard, the show’s director, explained that after Anne was executed after being accused of adultery and witchcraft, King Henry VIII tried to obliterate all evidence of her, destroying documents and portraits, and scratching her emblems from stonework.
“People think they know Anne, but most of the surviving information about her is filtered through the eyes and agendas of her enemies,” Clare said.
“Our Anne is an intelligent and enchanting woman, with a passionate religious belief. Once she has caught the King’s eye, she carefully uses her position to advance the cause of Protestantism.”
It is known that Anne owned a banned English translation of the New Testament, by William Tyndale. This book provides the key for linking Anne’s story with scenes in the play set 70 years later in the Court of King James I, as he sets about creating his King James Bible and becomes obsessed with Anne’s legacy.
Rebecca Aldred and Warren Lynch, who play Anne and King Henry VIII in the Maddermarket show, said they were attracted to their roles because of the intriguing interpretations of their characters.
Rebecca said: “Anne is such a complex and real woman. She could be seen as a political pawn, but her insight, faith and vivacity put her very much at the heart of things.”
Warren said: “Henry and Anne love each other, but they are aware that as King and Queen they have to deal with external pressures setting them apart and influencing their fates.”
• The Norwich Players production of Anne Boleyn is at the Maddermarket Theatre from June 19 to 28. Tickets £8-£12. For more information and to book tickets call the box office on 01603 620917 or visit www.maddermarket.co.uk