Bess the Commoner Queen

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A new play by award-winning playwright Kevin Fegan, featuring Michelle Todd as Bess.

"In these troubled times, Fortune hangs by a single thread..."

A female story of survival and astonishing business success in the brutal world of Elizabethan politics, as witnessed first-hand by "Bess of Hardwick". Born a farmer's daughter, Bess rose to become the richest woman in Elizabethan England. She created the Cavendish dynasty, built Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall and became a maker of queens. Bess was the closest female friend and Lady-in-Waiting to Elizabeth I and, at the same time, confidante to Mary Queen of Scots, whom Bess and her 4th husband (the Earl of Shrewsbury) kept under "house-arrest" for over 15 years until Mary's execution. They visited Buxton to "take the waters" on more than one occasion.

"Who'd 'ave thought, this Derbyshire lass would one day be tab-hanging between two great queens?"

An ambitious show presented as a seamless mix of powerful live performance and luscious film, shot on location at Hardwick Hall. 

“A tour de force, striking outstanding production, triumph for actress Michelle Todd and playwright Kevin Fegan.”

British Theatre Guide

“Britain's most innovative playwright.”

Plays International

Supported by First Art

  • Price: Adults £15, Children £10