South Shields theatre group re-imagines history with Tudor drama about Henry VIII’s beheaded wife

RE-IMAGNING HISTORY ... The Westovian Theatre Society is staging Anne Boleyn. From left, Danielle Miller as Lady Rochford, Sarah Boulter as  Anne Boleyn, Miriam Beber as Lady Celia and Jenn Boyack as Jane Seymour.
RE-IMAGNING HISTORY ... The Westovian Theatre Society is staging Anne Boleyn. From left, Danielle Miller as Lady Rochford, Sarah Boulter as Anne Boleyn, Miriam Beber as Lady Celia and Jenn Boyack as Jane Seymour.

THE latest play from a South Tyneside theatre group will re-imagine history.

The Westovian Theatre Society is staging Anne Boleyn.

From left, Leon McGuinness as Sloop, Gary Manson as Cardinal Wolsey, Ron Markwick as Thomas Cromwell and David Gibson as Simpkin.

From left, Leon McGuinness as Sloop, Gary Manson as Cardinal Wolsey, Ron Markwick as Thomas Cromwell and David Gibson as Simpkin.

The play, written by Howard Brenton in 2012 for The Globe Theatre, in London, is about the rise and fall of Anne in her relationship with Henry VIII.

It also tells of her attempts to have an English language Bible established in the country, and imagines that she actually met William Tyndale, who wrote an English version of the Bible, and that she was ready to persuade Henry of its value until she was thwarted by Thomas Cromwell.

The play also sees James I hallucinate about meeting Anne after finding one of her dresses and a copy of the Bible when he was trying to achieve unity among England’s protestant groups. The production runs at the Westovian Theatre, in Pier Parade, South Shields, from Monday, May 18, to Saturday, May 23.

Director Eddie McNamee, from South Shields, said: “Although it is a modern play, we have gone along with the Globe theme by recreating the stage and interior of the Globe Theatre in our Pier Pavilion, and we have used the original colours and decor for our version, which will look stunning.

Anne will appear in the play with her head separated from her body, but we have no intention of explaining how this will be achieved. Playgoers will have to come and see it for themselves.

Eddie McNamee, director

“Equally stunning are the period costumes which have been devised and created by our wardrobe master, David Gibson, who is a graduate in costume design from Nottingham University.

“He and his team have worked tirelessly and moreover, David is appearing in the play as Simpkin, the henchman of Thomas Cromwell.

“The most challenging costumes he has to create are the dress Anne Boleyn wore at her execution, and the wonderful effect that we are creating is that Anne will appear in the play with her head separated from her body, but we have no intention of explaining how this will be achieved.

“Playgoers will have to come and see it for themselves.”

From left, John Errington as Lord Cecil, Gary Manson as George Villiers, Peter Dawson as James I and Lee McShane as Parrot.

From left, John Errington as Lord Cecil, Gary Manson as George Villiers, Peter Dawson as James I and Lee McShane as Parrot.

Tickets for the show, which starts at 7.30pm each night, cost from £6.50.

n For booking information, go to www.westovians.co.uk

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVicki

Darren Mudd as Henry VIII and  Sarah Boulter as Anne Boleyn.

Darren Mudd as Henry VIII and Sarah Boulter as Anne Boleyn.