Romola Garai will star as Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough alongside Emma Cunniffe as the eponymous monarch in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Queen Anne. After originally opening at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2015, Queen Anne will transfer to the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket for a limited 13-week season from 30 June until 30 September 2017, with a press night on 10 July.
Priority booking for RSC Patrons and Members will open on 6 February and RSC Members priority booking will open on 9 February. Tickets will be on general sale from 13 February 2017.
Written by Helen Edmundson (The Heresy of Love, RSC) and directed by Natalie Abrahami (Happy Days, Young Vic), this gripping new play explores the life of one of England’s little-known sovereigns and her intimate friendship with her childhood confidante Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough.
1702. William III is on the throne and England is on the verge of war.
Princess Anne is soon to become Queen, and her advisors vie for influence over the future monarch. Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, a close friend with whom Anne has an intensely personal relationship, begins to exert increasing pressure as she pursues her own designs on power.
Contending with deceit and blackmail, Anne must decide where her allegiances lie, and whether to sacrifice her closest relationships for the sake of the country.
Romola Garai will play Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. Romola is best known for appearing in films such as Amazing Grace, Atonement, Vanity Fair, Inside I’m Dancing, Glorious 39 and Suffragette, and in BBC series such as Emma, The Hour and The Crimson Petal and the White. She has been nominated for a BAFTA and twice for a Golden Globe Award. In addition to her work on screen Romola’s theatre credits include Calico (West End; Evening Standard Theatre Award Outstanding Newcomer nomination), King Lear and The Seagull (RSC), The Village Bike (Royal Court), Three Sisters (Lyric Hammersmith), and Measure for Measure (Young Vic).
Emma Cunniffe will play Queen Anne. On stage, Emma won the UK Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in The Master Builder in 2000. Her other stage work includes Tales from Hollywood (Donmar), Losing Louis (Hampstead/West End), Women Beware Women (RSC), Proof (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Entertainer (Old Vic), Conquest of the South Pole (Arcola), A Doll’s House (The Lowry), Edward II, Three Sisters, Major Barbara, Twelfth Night (Royal Exchange), Amongst Friends, The Glass Room (Hampstead). She was nominated for a WhatsOnStage Award in 2011 for her role as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Emma has numerous TV credits including Unforgotten, Lewis, Midsomer Murders, George Gently, Waterloo Road, Father Brown, Coronation Street, Moving On, Southcliffe, Good Cop, The Other Child, Doctor Who, Poirot, A Place of Execution, The Genius of Mozart, Clocking Off, All The King’s Men, Great Expectations, and The Lakes.
Helen Edmundson’s plays include The Clearing, (Bush Theatre), Mother Teresa is Dead, (Royal Court), Mary Shelley,(Shared Experience at The Tricycle and on tour), and The Heresy of Love (RSC). Her other work includes Coram Boy (National Theatre and on Broadway), a new version of Calderon’s Life is a Dream (Donmar), a musical adaptation of Swallows and Amazons, written with composer Neil Hannon, (Bristol Old Vic, West End and on tour) and Thérèse Raquin (Bath Theatre Royal and on tour). She has written a number of adaptations for Shared Experience Theatre including Anna Karenina and Mill on the Floss, which toured nationally and internationally, and War and Peace, first staged at the National Theatre. Helen has recently completed screenplays for See Saw Films and Potboiler Productions and her episodes of the Hat Trick television drama The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher were seen on ITV, as well as the film adaptation of An Inspector Calls on BBC television. Helen is currently working on a new play, commissioned by the National Theatre. She has been the recipient of several awards, including the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for drama 2015, a John Whiting Award for The Clearing, a TMA Award for Anna Karenina and Time Out Awards for Mill on the Floss and Coram Boy. She is an Associate Artist of Bristol Old Vic, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Natalie Abrahami is a former Genesis Fellow and Associate Director at the Young Vic. Her Young Vic credits include Happy Days, After Miss Julie and Ah, Wilderness! and the short films MAYDAY, The Roof and Life’s a Pitch. As former Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, London, Natalie’s productions include Vanya and The Kreutzer Sonata which later transferred to La MaMa, New York. Other credits include: Queen Anne (RSC), How the Whale Became and Other Tales (Royal Opera House), The Eleventh Capital (Royal Court), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Headlong) and Pericles (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre). Natalie was also an Associate Artist at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton between 2013 and 2015 and Associate Director at Hull Truck in 2012 where she directed Yerma and Hitchcock Blonde. Natalie won the James Menzies-Kitchin Award for Directors in 2005 for her double-bill of Play and Not I (Battersea Arts Centre).