Mary comes to London

mary's hand

Clare McCaldin as Queen Mary in rehearsal for Mary’s Hand at Holy Cross Church, Cromer Street

She has been over a year in the making. Now Mary’s Hand, our new operatic monologue for Queen Mary I is about to arrive in London (following its premiere in Chester 5 weeks ago). Mary’s Hand is part of this year’s Tête-à-Tête the Opera Festival. We’re really pleased to have been able to secure Holy Cross Church, 5 mins walk from the British Library in King’s Cross, as our venue for the two performances on 1 & 2 August.

Queen Mary has been ill-served by history  and Mary’s Hand is an opportunity to, if not redress that perspective, then to refresh it, investigating the circumstances of her life and decisions through lyric drama. It’s good to be able to do this in a Roman Catholic church. As a site-specific piece, Mary’s Hand always absorbs the character of its venue, colouring (if not changing) the nature of its performance. For example, when Mary first arrives here on stage at Holy Cross she sits in front of the altar in the sanctuary, the resolutely Catholic Queen Regnant, defender of a faith under assault from the Reformation. The images that we had taken at St. Paul’s Knightsbridge are not only separated from the altar by a screen but also incorporate a chequered dais, perhaps re-positioning Mary in the Tudor court.

Clare McCaldin as Queen Mary. Photo by Robert Workman (at St. Paul’s Knightsbridge)

Yet, these are just the readings of one or two images from a continually moving stage picture, conceived by writer-director Di Sherlock as a response to the available space. We hope that you’ll be able to come and experience Mary first-hand at Holy Cross and – through that classic operatic triumvirate of song, staging and storytelling – make up your own mind about her. There is a video trailer below: