Bess of Hardwick play to go on three-month tour

Published: 17 February 2019

Michelle Todd is to reprise her role as Bess of Hardwick in Kevin Fegan’s Bess: The Commoner Queen which is to start a three-month tour at Buxton’s Pavilion Arts Centre.

Bess: The Commoner Queen is a one-woman show presented as “a seamless mix of powerful live performance and luscious film shot on location at Hardwick Hall”.

It gives an insight into the political intrigues of Elizabethan England, as witnessed first hand by Bess who was the closest female friend and lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth I.

The play premièred at Derby’s Guildhall Theatre in 2017. Fegan said, “the show is selling out the first venues of the tour, weeks in advance. We couldn't have wished for a better start.

“It's great to get the creative team back together again. Michelle is on fire in rehearsals as Bess.

“The plan was always to tour the show so it's great to be able to deliver a national tour in 2019 to a really interesting mix of venues, from Buxton where Bess used to visit with Mary Queen of Scots to the new Kit studio space at Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury. It’s thought that Marlowe was once a tutor of Bess's granddaughter, Arbella Stuart. Other theatre spaces include The Lowry and The King's Head Theatre, London.”

Derby’s Guildhall Theatre has closed for emergency repairs, so performances of Bess in June will be staged in the former Derby Central Library.

Steve Orme