Bringing Shakespeare’s neglected women out of the shadows:
Shakespeare gave Queen Margaret additional lines than any other female character and more lines than King Lear. Now, she’s finally been given her own play – one of 2 productions putting Bard’s women center stage.
A promoting email from the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester recently proclaimed that it is staging the “world premiere of a brand new William Shakspere play”.
That may be stretching it a bit.
What it is doing is putting on a single new production using all the lines spoken by Queen Margaret over four existing Shakespeare plays, making the 15th Century queen of England the central character in her own story for the first time.
“It is like she’s been lying there in plain sight for 400 years, but nobody has reached in and assembled her before because she is scattered across four plays,” says playwright Jeanie O’Hare.
“To me, she’s really obvious – she’s there staring back at us.”