The scandalous story of Anne Boleyn on stage

  • 14/06/2013

Everyone knows the scandalous story of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII's second wife who eventually got beheaded for adultery, incest and high treason.

Now the Auckland Theatre Company is doing a more modern interpretation of the story to celebrate the company's 21st birthday.

Director Colin McColl says he didn't just want to use traditional Tudor style music and costumes.

"We wanted this combination of renaissance music and sort of 1950s music because it's kind of 50s. We've kind of referenced the 50s and Tudor times, we've mixed the costumes together and we wanted to do the same with the music. It was quite hard for Adrian Hollay, our composer, to combine renaissance music with 50s rock but he's managed to do it quite well I think."

Boleyn is played by Anna Jullienne, known for her roles on Shortland Street and The Blue Rose. She says she is enjoying wearing the lavish costumes.

"Well I like to dress up in a pretty frock so I quite like it, there's lots of getting in and out of it being laced up, but I think it's worth it at the end of the day."

She says she jumped at the chance to take on such an iconic role, which has been played by so many actors before her.

"Anne Boleyn's like one of the most amazing women in history I think. From my point of view, from an actor's point of view, it's an amazing role of playing such a powerful, such an amazing woman. And when you read the script she has so many dynamics to her character, she's really devoted to the church, and she's feisty and she's vulnerable and it's a great role."

She also had to have her face cast in a mould for a scene without her head.

"I do actually have a little prosthetic head for the beginning of the show which is obviously Anne's head, so the art department girls made a plaster cast of my face, it was actually quite relaxing."

This version of the story was first performed at the Globe Theatre in London in 2010 and portrays Boleyn as a key figure in the spread of Protestantism in England.

Known as the 'whore who changed Britain' Boleyn gets King Henry to divorce his first wife and marry her, then tries to convince him to take on Protestant ideals.

McColl says it is a different approach from other stories of Boleyn.

"It's interesting isn't it with the Tudor dynasty because we keep revisiting it in television and novels, whereas the TV series The Tudors with all the sexual intrigue of the time and [there's] Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall book that deals with the political intrigue. This is more about Anne Boleyn's determination to turn England into a Protestant country and break the ties with the Catholic Church in Rome."

It is a visual feast and a powerful story which McColl and Jullienne are excited for audiences to see.

"It's dramatic and it's intelligent and it's also very, very funny," McColl says.

"I think it's feisty and sexy and colourful and funny and it's sort of got, for a piece of theatre, it's got it all it's sad and dramatic and funny, there's colour and dance, and it will be a good night out," Jullienne says.

The show opens at Auckland's Q Theatre on June 15 and goes until July 13. Tickets are available from Q Theatre's website.

3 News

source: newshub archive


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