Shakespeare’s Globe commissioned Howard Brenton to write a new play – Anne Boleyn. It premiered at the Globe Theatre on 24 July 2010 with Miranda Raison in the title role as Henry VIIIs notorious second wife. It received high critical acclaim and won Best New Play at the What’s On Stage Theatregoers Choice Awards in 2011. Sell out performances resulted in its return for two months in 2011.
Not some dusty, historical drama, it was described as a tale full of life and humour, adventure and romance, all tinged with sadness. It is a celebration of a great English heroine who was a significant force in the political and religious fight leading to the English reformation. While sharp intelligence, political acumen and forward manners are desirable in a mistress, they were at the time unacceptable in a wife… the rest, as they say, is ‘herstory’.
Miranda is best known for her role as Jo Portman in the British television series Spooks (a show Howard Brenton also wrote scripts for). She also played Anne Boleyn in Henry VIII in the same season at the Globe.
The play opens with Miranda addressing the audience holding her severed head, rendered in my sketch which Miranda kindly signed. She also sent me a lovely note, thanking me for a “wonderful drawing”.