Boudicca returns to St Albans
- Credit: Archant
Warrior Queen Boudicca returns to her roots when a performance of Imogen de la Bere’s much-acclaimed play is re-enacted at the Roman Theatre in St Albans.
The Maltings Arts Theatre’s resident company, OVO, is getting ready to re-stage last year’s hit production, Boudicca at Verulamium, in the open air from next Friday, September 12, to Sunday, September 14.
Local actress, Anna Franklin, will return as the warrior queen, a role that was created for her by Imogen, who also directs the play.
Anna has been performing in and around St Albans for over 15 years, mostly with OVO and the Abbey Theatre’s Company of Ten. She recently played Titania in Marmalade Theatre’s inaugural production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Hogg End.
When asked what historical figure she would like to play, back in 2012, Anna had no hesitation in naming Boudicca. She explained, “The story of this incredible woman, who refused to be suppressed and fought like a tiger for her freedom, never giving up, has always captured my imagination.”
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After wowing audiences last September, the highly-regarded local actress was thrilled at the opportunity to reprise the role.
She explained: “Working with Imogen’s script again is an absolute joy; it’s a beautiful play overflowing with wonderful poetic language. We witness the oratorical, vengeful Boudicca leading her army but we also gain an insight into the struggle inside her head as she wrestles with the dilemma of either continuing on the path to inevitable disaster or removing her people’s symbol of freedom and everything she stands for.
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“It’s a dream role and a real honour to be able to perform Imogen’s work.”
Staging the production outside presents a new challenge for the cast. The large open air amphitheatre is a very different space compared to the intimate in-the-round studio at the Maltings.
But Anna is unphased. “It’s a great privilege to tell the story in the actual place it happened – you can touch those stones in the Roman Theatre and feel the history, the real events that took place there, which adds a whole new dimension and depth to the play.
“There is still a layer of ash under St Albans from where Boudicca sacked it in 60AD, so this is a real piece of living history.”
Boudicca at Verulamium will be performed at the Roman Theatre of Verulamium in Bluehouse Hill at 7.30pm on all three nights. Tickets are £10 from www.ticketsource.co.uk/ovo