ANNE BOLEYN by Howard Brenton
Directed by Richard Garner
A fresh, tantalizing take on a familiar tale of romance, betrayal and political intrigue. Devout as she is ambitious, Anne navigates courtly love, lust and lies to secure not only her own marriage to King Henry VIII but a Protestant reformation. Anne fulfills her calling to be England’s first Protestant queen, but keeping her crown – and her head – is a different matter. A delicious and daring revisionist history.
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Anne Boleyn - Brooke Owens
Henry VIII/James I - Brian Hatch
Dean Lancelot Andrewes/Thomas Cromwell - Allan Edwards*
Robert Cecil/Tyndale/Simpkin - Doyle Reynolds
Lady Rochford/Divine - Brittany Smith
Doctor John Rainolds/ Cardinal Wolsey - Kerwin Thompson
George Villiers/Country Man 2/Divine - Timothy Harland
Henry Barrow/Parrot/Country Man 1/Sloop - Josh Brook
Lady Jane Seymour/Divine/Country Woman 2 - Assata Hefner
Lady Celia/Divine/Country Woman 1 - Nysa Loudon
*Member of Actor's Equity
Director - Richard Garner
Stage Manager - Allison Kelly
Facility & Production Manager - Lisa Green
Technical Director - Carter Eastis
Assistant Stage Managers - Joi Porter, Jacob McAfee
Set Designer - Barrett Doyle
Lighting Designer - D. Connor McVey
Costume Designers - Abby Parker & Susan Carter
Sound Designer/Composer - Rob Brooksher
Properties Design - Elisabeth Cooper
Dramaturg - Kathy Janich
Master Electrician - Kathleen Cole
Dialect Consultant - Cynthia Barrett
Fight Director - David Sterritt
English playwright and screenwriter Howard Brenton [now 73] was born Dec. 13, 1942, in Portsmouth, the second-largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. He and his wife, Jane, live in South London and have two grown sons.
Brenton is the son of policeman (later Methodist minister) Donald Henry Brenton and Rose Lilian. He was educated at Chichester High School for Boys and read English literature at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge. In 1964 he was awarded the Chancellor's Gold Medal for Poetry. While at Cambridge he wrote a play, Ladder of Fools, which was performed at the ADC Theatre as a double bill with Hello-Goodbye Sebastian by John Grillo in April 1965, and at the Oxford Playhouse in June of that year. Eric Shorter of The Daily Telegraph described it as "actable, gripping, murky and moody: How often can you say that of the average new play tried out in London, let alone of an undergraduate's work …?" Brenton's one-act play It's My Criminal was performed at the Royal Court Theatre in 1966.
In 1968 he joined the Brighton Combination as a writer and actor, and in 1969 joined Portable Theatre (founded by David Hare and Tony Bicat), for whom he wrote Christie in Love (1969) and Fruit (1970). He is also the author of Winter, Daddykins (1966), Revenge and the triple-bill Heads, Gum & Goo and The Education of Skinny Spew (1969). These were followed by Wesley (1970), Scott of the Antarctic and A Sky-blue Life (1971); Hitler Dances, How Beautiful With Badges and an adaptation of Measure for Measure (1972).
In 1973 Brenton and David Hare were jointly commissioned by Richard Eyre to write a 'big' play for Nottingham Playhouse. "The result was Brassneck, which offered an exhilaratingly panoramic satire on England from 1945 to the present, depicting the meteoric ups and downs of a self-seeking Midlands family ... from singing the Red Flag in 1945 to acting as a conduit for the Oriental drug market in the decadent 1970s" (Michael Billington in his book State of the Nation: British Theatre Since 1945)..A year later Brenton's The Churchill Play debuted. Billington described it as another “state-of-the-nation play” about the growing conflict between security and liberty, opening with the image of a dead Winston Churchill rising from his catafalque in Westminster Hall. Brenton's play "offered an imaginative vision of a future in which basic human freedoms would be curtailed by the state. As so often, a dramatist saw things that others did not,” Billington said.
Brenton's next major success was Weapons of Happiness, about a strike in a south London factory. It was staged by Hare in July 1976 and won the Evening Standard award for best play.
He gained notoriety for his play The Romans in Britain, which drew parallels between the Roman invasion of Britain in 54 BC and the British military presence in Northern Ireland. But the politics of his play were ignored. Instead a display of moral outrage focused on a scene of attempted anal rape of a Druid priest caught bathing by a Roman centurion. This resulted in a private prosecution against the play's director, which was withdrawn when it became obvious that it would not succeed.
The theme of Brenton's 1985 political comedy Pravda, a collaboration with David Hare who also directed, was described by critic Michael Billington in The Guardian (May 3, 1985) as "the rapacious absorption of chunks of the British press by a tough South African entrepreneur … superbly embodied by Anthony Hopkins who utters every sentence with precise Afrikaans over-articulation as if the rest of the world are idiots." The target of the satire was generally accepted to be the Australian international newspaper proprietor Rupert Murdoch and his news empire, but the play's main question mark was about the dangers for society and the state of monopolistic media ownership.
In 2008 some critics expressed surprise that Brenton, long a political firebrand of the hard Left, had written a biographical play about Harold Macmillan. Never So Good seemed wholly sympathetic to the former Tory prime minister. It was, perhaps, forgotten that Brenton, shortly before, had written a challenging play about the biblical figure St. Paul, and a nimble romance about the love affair between 12t-century theologian Pierre Abelard and his attractive young student Heloise. These suggested a broadening of Brenton's political outlook if not a conversion.
o Ladder of Fools, Cambridge University Actors, ADC Theatre, Cambridge (1965)
o Christie in Love, Portable Theatre, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs (1969)
o Gum and Goo, Brighton Combination (1969); RSC at the Open Space Theatre (1971)
o Revenge, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs (1969)
o Heads, University of Bradford Drama Group (1969); Inter-Action at the Ambience-in-Exile Lunch Hour Theatre Club (1970)
o The Education of Skinny Spew, University of Bradford Drama Group (1969); Inter-Action at the Ambience-in-Exile Lunch Hour Theatre Club (1970)
o Fruit (1970)
o Wesley, Bradford Festival (1970)
o Scott of the Antarctic, Bradford Festival (1971)
o Hitler Dances, Traverse Theatre Workshop (1972)
o Measure for Measure (adaptation), Northcott Theatre (1972)
o Magnificence, Royal Court (1973)
o Brassneck, written with David Hare, Nottingham Playhouse (1973)
o The Churchill Play, Nottingham Playhouse (1974); revived by the RSC 1978 and 1988
o The Saliva Milkshake, Soho Poly Lunchtime Theatre (1975)
o Weapons of Happiness, National Theatre, Lyttelton (1976); winner of the Evening Standard award 1976; revived by the Finborough Theatre, 2008
o Epsom Downs, Joint Stock Theatre Company (1977)
o Deeds, written with Trevor Griffiths, Ken Campbell, and David Hare, Nottingham Playhouse (1978)
o Sore Throats, RSC Donmar Warehouse (1978)
o The Life of Galileo, translation from Bertolt Brecht, National Theatre, Olivier (August 1980)
o The Romans in Britain, National Theatre, Olivier (October 1980)
o A Short Sharp Shock, written with Tony Howard, Royal Court at the Theatre Royal Stratford East (1980)
o Thirteenth Night, RSC Donmar Warehouse (1981)
o Danton's Death, translation from Georg Büchner, National Theatre, Olivier (July 1982)
o Conversations in Exile, adapted from Brecht, Foco Novo (1982)
o The Genius, Royal Court (1983)
o Sleeping Policemen, written with Tunde Ikoli, Foco Novo, Hemel Hempstead then Royal Court (1983)
o Bloody Poetry, Foco Novo, Hampstead Theatre (1984); Royal Court (1987)
o Pravda, written with David Hare, National Theatre, Olivier (1985); winner of the Evening Standard Award 1985
o Greenland, Royal Court (1988)
o H.I.D. (Hess is Dead), RSC, Almeida Theatre (1989)
o Iranian Nights with Tariq Ali, Royal Court (1989)
o Moscow Gold with Tariq Aii, RSC Barbican Theatre (1990)
o Berlin Bertie, Royal Court (1992)
o Faust Parts 1 and 2, translation from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, RSC Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (September 1995); RSC The Pit (September 1996)
o Ugly Rumours, with Tariq Ali, Tricycle Theatre (1998)
o Collateral Damage with Tariq Ali and Andy de la Tour, Tricycle Theatre (1999)
o Snogging Ken with Tariq Ali and Andy de la Tour, Almeida Theatre (2000)
o Kit's Play, RADA Jerwood Theatre, (2000)
o Paul, National Theatre, Cottesloe (November 2005) , Olivier nomination for Best Play
o In Extremis, Shakespeare's Globe (2006) , revived 2007
o Never So Good, National Theatre, Lyttelton (2008) 
o Anne Boleyn, Shakespeare's Globe (2010)
o Danton's Death, National Theatre, Olivier (2010), a translation from Georg Büchner
o The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Liverpool Everyman and Chichester Festival Theatre (2010)
o 55 Days, Hampstead Theatre (2012)
o Drawing the Line, Hampstead Theatre (2013)
o Doctor Scroggy's War, Shakespeare's Globe (2014)
o Ransomed, Salisbury Playhouse (2015)
o Lawrence After Arabia, Chichester Festival Theatre (2016)
o Diving for Pearls (novel), Nick Hern Books (1989) ISBN 978-1-85459-025-1
o Hot Irons (diaries, essays, journalism), Nick Hern Books (1995) ISBN 1-85459-123-1; reissued in an expanded version, Methuen (1998)
o Evening Standard Award for best play 1976, for Weapons of Happiness
Evening Standard Award for best play 1985, for Pravda
o Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers Best Choice award for best new play 2011, for Anne Boleyn
1. The Second Wave by John Russell Taylor, Methuen 1978 reprint
2. Who's Who in the Theatre, 17th Edition, Gale (1981)
3. Brenton: Plays One, Methuen 1986 ISBN 0-413-40430-7
4. Theatre Record and its annual Indexes
5. Howard Brenton's CV for Never So Good RNT programme 2008
The action of the play takes place at the Court of King Henry VIII (1527-1536) and the Court of King James 1 (1603-1604).
Anne Boleyn is performed in two acts. Act 1 has 16 scenes. Act 2 has 11 scenes.
Anne Boleyn is a play on the life of Anne Boleyn by the English playwright Howard Brenton, which premiered at Shakespeare’s Glove in 2010. Anne is portrayed as a significant force in the political and religious in-fighting at court and a furtherer of the cause of Protestantism in her enthusiasm for the Tyndale Bible (more on that later).
The play was commissioned by the Globe and premiered there, running July 24-Aug. 21, 2010. It was awarded best new play at the WhatsOnStage Theatregoers Choice Awards 2011. The production toured England and Scotland in 2011.