About this event
Cost £12 (£10 Concessions)
Tel020 8932 4747

Barons Court Theatre is delighted to welcome a production which, we confidently predict, will win our award for "Play Of The Year".

Three hundred years after the death of Queen Anne in 1714, a new play by Kate Glover highlights the intrigue, plots and squabbles in a tantalisingly little known reign.

Directed by Kenneth Michaels, Glover’s play "Queen Anne" is the latest production by Historia Theatre company. When Queen Anne, shy, gout-ridden and overweight, ascends the throne in 1702, the Jacobites, proto-terrorists, will stop at nothing to kill her and put her half brother the Roman Catholic James Stuart on the throne. James just happens to be supported by the hugely powerful Louis XIV of France. Court favourites vie for influence with the Queen. Coalition politics spark off intense rivalries between Whig and Tory politicians. With her husband and children all dead, how will the Queen cope?


On 1st August, it is the anniversary of the death of Queen Anne, 300 years ago in 1714.

To commemorate this, Historia Theatre Company is inviting anyone called Anne (or even Ann) to come to the play FREE OF CHARGE. There will also be a chaired Q and A that day when the cast come back on stage after the show to listen to comments and answer questions on the play.

31st July : Kate Glover (the playwright) is being interviewed about the play by Jenni Murray on WOMAN’S HOUR

1st August : Kate Glover and Kenneth Michaels (director) will be taking part in the conference at Goldsmiths University – QUEEN ANNE IS DEAD http://queenanneisdead.wordpress.com/

PERFORMANCES: Tuesdays - Sundays (7.30 p.m.)

TICKETS: £12 (£10 Concessions) Now on sale.

BOX OFFICE: 020 8932 4747

EMAIL BOOKINGS: Why not book by email? Just send details of performance and number of tickets required to londontheatre@gmail.com and pay for them, in cash, when you come to the performance.


"We thoroughly enjoyed the play and I must congratulate the company and the writer. It was also very interesting to see a full costume drama with quite a large cast using such a small space so well.

I thought Hilary Derrett, Kate Glover and Peter Kenny were particularly good and articulate, Rosemary Smith certainly came into her own in the second half - I think she was working up to fulfilling her potential. All in all, we thought it most entertaining and informative. It was especially well chosen for this year and I think doing historical dramas certainly gives them an opening for all sorts of material. The costumes were great and the cast moved well in them.

A most inspiring production".

Kate Glover’s absorbing play, based on the reign of Queen Anne, explores the dynamics of female relationships, unequal relationships, money, power, and isolation. The play opens with the deceased Sophia, Electress of Hanover, and mother of George I, appearing in the study of Jonathan Swift, very much alive and astonished, if slightly frightened, to find himself conversing with a dead person. This conceit actually works very well and serves as a kind of chorus commenting on the actions, memes, and issues that are developed in the play.

Anne and her very close, and older, friend, Sarah, later Duchess of Marlborough, exemplify the dynamics of a relationship that begins between equals (more or less) and progresses necessarily to an unequal one. Once Anne is Queen, she does as much as she can to maintain the friendship, trying to avoid using her title with her friend, and creating Sarah’s husband Duke of Marlborough with a pension of £5000 a year at a time when a vicar in the Church of England might have an income of £30 a year. However, Sarah overreaches herself and tries to force Anne to do her bidding, but Anne is determined to be her own person. As the play progresses, the iron enters her soul, and the domestic is trumped by the dynastic – as it must be if you are a Queen or a King. Anne opens the play not knowing how to handle the loneliness of power and authority but learns that she must; Rosemary Smith as Queen Anne impressively demonstrates this transition and its attendant difficulties.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the play is the exploration of female friendships, with that between Anne and Sarah becoming increasingly tense and angry. In contrast, Anne’s relationship with a lesser figure, Abigail Masham, is very satisfactory. Masham, amusingly and forthrightly played by Hilary Field, instinctively understands that hers is an ancillary and a deferential role; her clever put-down of Sarah when she is challenged about her alleged (and non-existent) “power” over the Queen is a joy to watch.

The role of Jonathan Swift falls to the excellent Peter Kenny, who, when he is not parrying thrusts from Sophia (Kate Glover), sits at the side of the stage, observing all that passes. The exchanges between him and Sophia, looking puzzled and bewildered by the fact that she is dead, are witty and incisive but require close attention from the audience for their subtle humour to be perceived.

Brisbane and London

What a delightful play, full of information on the period and the characters, cleverly presented through the eyes and conversations of Jonathan Swift and Sophia, mother to the future King George I. The characters certainly came to life, especially ascerbic Swift, the scheming Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and Sophia, together with the other protagonists.
All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening in this tucked-away little theatre.

It is usually the case (from the Lord Chamberlain's Men to the Abbey Theatre or the Royal Court) that the best experimental theatre is writer-led. Historia helps to demonstrate the point yet again. Kate Glover, who founded it, wrote Queen Anne and earlier plays for the company in which she acts, and for the spaces in which they perform.

The play opens rather like Yeats's The Words upon the Window-pane in reverse, with the dead Sophia, Electress of Hanover and mother of George 1, restlessly appearing to Jonathan Swift, very much alive on stage, in his study, and with his wig never on his head. The confused ghostliness of her movements depict her unfamiliarity with the world of the shades, but her piercing eyes and social command are very much unforgotten.

It is rather wonderful to see how Glover writes at the top of her form for the supporting part she plays, that of Sophia. Wonderfully inventive, too, is the use of the confined stage space at 'The Curtain's Up'. Glover wisely shapes the action to close confrontations at court, with an unerring dexterity and precision of language. This is history-writing that not only knows what to leave out, but how best to deploy action that which must be told. This is a 'must see' play.

I had a most enjoyable evening watching some really good acting by the whole cast.
By the end of the first half I did rather wonder what the overall message was. However, it was interesting to be reminded of events rather forgotten since A level days. I did enjoy that period and earlier.
In the second half it became clearer that Anne was slowly and quietly developing her own personal ideas and ways of dealing with all these strong characters about her. I thought she was acted with much sensitivity.
This was certainly a strange transitional period with both a recognisably modern Parliamentary set up, with all its conflicts, as well as a hugely personally powerful monarch.
I think that the reference by Jonathan Swift (expressively acted) to future monarchs strained the ghost device a step too far.

Bravo to an extraordinary and totally amazing play ! I just loved every moment of it.

For a start, the script was deft , clever and very logical – not to mention witty. Only one jarring moment – 'terrorist' is a modern word; a more contemporary one might have been ‘plotter’...

Be that as it may, the play started so well and so fast. I loved the portrayal of Jonathan Swift. Peter Kenny was just perfect....! But Kate Glover was gripping as the Electress Sophia – and looked just marvellous too!

I also raise my hat to Rosemary Smith playing Queen Anne. This was a totally believable interpretation – and very powerful. I think we all shed a tear when she dies at the end of the play.

Hilary Derrett as the waspish and really she-devil Sarah Marlborough carried it off so well – and beautifully balanced by Paul Croft a the Duke of Marlborough.

An amazing portrayal of the politics of the day – and not easy, bearing in mind how complicated it can be. But it worked – big time.

Also, the staging (sound effects included) was just right – very intimate,but effective. I felt I was sitting in the room with the characters!

Kate Glover's Queen Anne is a wonderful achievement! It condenses a prodigious amount of Restoration and early eighteenth-century history into a delightful evening, with touches of wit and humor that never
sink to anachronism. Peter Kenny makes a smart and sharp Swift, Kate Glover excels as Sophia, and Hilary Derrett makes a fantastic "love to hate her" Sarah Marlborough. The whole ensemble works well together
to bring to life a tense set of relationships that would have such influence over the nation's business.
Misty Anderson
Professor of English, UT
D. Allen Carroll Chair of Teaching
Editor, Restoration
People involved
Mark Philip Compton
Robert Harley
Paul Croft
John Churchill - Duke of Marlborough
Hilary Field
Abigail Masham

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