by Howard Brenton
directed by Nicki Pope
Hunting through an old chest, the newly crowned James I discovers the controversial legacy of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s notorious second wife. Time jumps back 70 years, when the witty and flirtatious Anne was not only in love with Henry, but also with the most dangerous ideas of her day. Conspiring with the exiled William Tyndale, she plots to make England Protestant – forever.
A celebration of a great English heroine, Anne Boleyn leaps between generations to reveal the debt the outrageous but scholarly James owed to Anne when he shrewdly reconciled England’s religious factions by creating his common, ‘authorised’ Bible. Howard Brenton’s radically revisionist work argues that Anne was more Protestant martyr than sexual predator. It both challenges received wisdom and bulges with theatrical vitality.
This “rollickingly good drama”, full of huge characters, offers a compelling portrait of a woman contentiously described by James I as "the whore who changed England".