A hand with three crown rings holding a needle and thread in front of a tapestry


01st October 2017

Venue Derby Live – Guildhall Theatre
Running Time 100m
Prices £13.75
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Accessible Performances

Date Time Performance Types More Info / Tickets
1st October 2017 14:30

BSL Interpreted

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Bess takes centre stage in this one-woman show mixing theatre with film.

Surprisingly, this is the first drama to capture this extraordinary woman and her extraordinary times.

During a life of over 80 years, Bess rose from being a Derbyshire farmer’s daughter with 400 acres to become Elizabeth Countess of Shrewsbury with 400,000 acres. The life and times of Bess of Hardwick is in every way an epic life-telling.

Midst all this she would marry four times, become a Lady-in-Waiting and confidante of Queen Elizabeth 1st – “jailor” to Mary Queen of Scots, even spend time herself in The Tower of London and become the founding mother of the Cavendish dynasty, the Dukes of Devonshire.

Three of the most iconic women of the age: Elizabeth Tudor Queen of England, Mary Stuart Queen of Scots and Bess Hardwick – The Commoner Queen embroidered into the same tapestry – when all about them were men.

Over 400 years later the Bess legacy lives on today through the country’s most titled and wealthiest families notably via the Cavendish-Bentinck line to Queen Elizabeth II.

Playwright: Kevin Fegan
Director: Rikki Tarascas
Filmmaker: Will Simpson
Bess: Michelle Todd

A return for playwright Kevin Fegan whose last work at The Guildhall, “Slave”, won the Pete Postlethwaite Best New Play Manchester Theatre Awards.