In autumn 2022, the duo that brought the James Plays to the stage, writer Rona Munro and director Laurie Sansom, returns to Scottish stages with a new collaboration, James IV – Queen of the Fight.
‘Scotland, 1504, seen fresh through the eyes of new arrivals Ellen and Anne, two Moorish women who were expected to take their place at a royal court….but not this one. Both women now have to fight to find and keep a place in the dazzling, dangerous world of the Scottish Court of James IV. It’s a world where war is never far away, words of love and promises of peace are not what they seem and where poets might turn out to be more dangerous than any assassin.’
The casting for the latest production stars Blythe Duff who returns as Dame Dounteboir, after her iconic performances as Isabella in James I and II and Annabella in James III. She will be joined by Daniel Cahill who will play James IV, carrying on his role as James III, creating continuity throughout the series, with Danielle Jam as Ellen and Laura Lovemore as Anne joining the company as the two Moorish women who take their place in the royal court.
Blythe Duff said “…. I was given a tantalising glimpse of the script when Laurie Sansom invited me to workshop the piece in May 2021. Being back on the Festival Theatre stage during that week reminded us of the extraordinary legacy and impact The James Plays had, not only personally, but on audiences when it toured nationally and internationally in 2014/16… To go through such an intense and personal journey with James and then to have both him and myself age 10 years before reuniting in a new production to bring his story to an end feels like an apotheosis on a whole other level.”
The cast is completed by Ewan Black (Turnbull/Fighter/Ensemble), Malcolm Cumming (Donald), Keith Fleming (Dunbar), Sarita Gabony (Margaret), Thierry Mabonga (Peter), Samuel Pashby (Douglas/Ensemble) and Gameli Tordzro (Ensemble/Musician).
Joining Munro and Samson the creative team are Designer Jon Bausor who also worked on the first three plays and Composer Venus ex Machina with the team being completed by Movement Director Neil Bettles, Sound Designer Garry Boyle, Casting Director Laura Donnelly CDG and Lighting Designer Lizzie Powell while British Historian Dr Onyeka Nubia has been working as a historical consultant on the project.
Rona Munro’s trilogy, acknowledged as a landmark event in Scottish and UK theatre, has already brought to life three generations of Stewart kings who ruled Scotland in the tumultuous fifteenth century to acclaim from Scotland and across the world.
Co-produced by Raw Material and Capital Theatres, in association with National Theatre of Scotland, the production will open at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh at the end of September 2022 before touring to Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness and Stirling.