Stage Door News

Stratford: Kate Hennig’s “Mother’s Daughter” is now on stage at Stratford

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Mother’s Daughter, the highly anticipated final instalment of Kate Hennig’s Queenmaker Trilogy, is now on stage at the Studio Theatre. The production officially opens on Friday, June 14.

Following the wild success of The Last Wife and The Virgin Trial, Hennig has created another master work exploring women, power and the nature of leadership. Mother’s Daughter focuses on Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, who, upon the death of Edward VI, easily wrests the throne from Edward’s official heir. But she remains haunted by a vivid mental image of her late mother, urging her toward the course that will earn her the enduring nickname of Bloody Mary. 

Shannon Taylor is at the centre of the courtly action as Mary, with Beryl Bain as Bassett, Jessica B. Hill in the dual roles of Bess and Anne, Irene Poole as Catalina, Andrea Rankin as Jane, Maria Vacratsis as Susan and Gordon Patrick White as Simon.

Director Alan Dilworth, who brought a deft hand to the first two plays, returns to complete the trilogy. His creative team includes Designer Lorenzo Savoini, Lighting Designer Kimberly Purtell, Sound Designer Debashis Sinha, Dramaturge Bob White and Fight Director Anita Nittoly.

Mother’s Daughter clearly and sensitively dramatizes the vulnerable beating heart of a leader, without fog, romance, sentimentality, or hate,” says Dilworth. “By pulling back the curtain on an alternative Mary Tudor, Kate invites us to reconsider who Mary might have been, not as the truth, but as possibility. The existence of this new ‘Hennig-ian’ version of Mary ceaselessly compels me not because I am attached to this version of the truth, but because the figurative and dramatic canvas of Kate’s story has made more space for the consideration of multiple (and potentially contradictory) meanings and truths about Mary Tudor. I am so grateful to have worked with Kate on the Queenmaker series. I am indebted to her for sharing her vision, camaraderie and brilliance, and for teaching me so much about power.”

Mother’s Daughter was commissioned by the Stratford Festival, as was The Virgin Trial, and all three of Hennig’s Queenmaker plays were developed through the Laboratory, the Festival’s research and development wing. The Last Wife premièred in Stratford in 2015, followed by The Virgin Trial in 2017, and both productions played to sold-out houses throughout their extended runs. Both plays were shortlisted for the Carol Bolt Award, with The Virgin Trial also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. Following their Stratford premières, both plays have since been produced across Canada and in the United States. 

“It has been a privilege to première Kate’s brilliant plays in Stratford and then follow their flourishing lives beyond our stage,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “We have all been keenly awaiting this closing chapter, in which Kate brings the sisters to a final conflict over the throne. Once again, she has devised a powerful visualization of the Tudor queens, resulting in a taut, riveting thrill ride from start to finish.” 

“Tudormania” (August 28) extends to the Forum, where Hennig will lead an expert panel examining how the fascination with this era has translated into the pop culture of today, from The Tudors to Reign to Hennig’s trilogy. Hennig will be joined by historian Margaret McGlynn of Western University and scholar Thomas H. Luxon of Dartmouth College.

For tickets and a full list of the Forum events offered almost every day throughout the season, please visit:


By Kate Hennig

World première, commissioned by the Stratford Festival
May 18 – October 13; opens Friday, June 14

Studio Theatre, 34 George Street East, Stratford, Ontario

Tickets: $35 to $150

Box office: 1-800-567-1600

The Stratford Festival’s 2019 season runs until November 3, featuring Othello, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry VIII, Billy Elliot the Musical, Little Shop of Horrors, Private Lives, The Neverending Story, Mother’s Daughter, Nathan the Wise, The Front Page, The Crucible and Birds of a Kind.

Photo: Shannon Taylor and Irene Poole. © 2018 David Cooper.