Mansfield’s Old Library Theatre hosts touring show Bess Of Hardwick

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The national tour of new play Bess of Hardwick comes to Mansfield’s Old Library Theatre on March 21 and 22.

Written by Shirebrook-born playwright Kevin Fegan and performed by Ashfield-born Michelle Todd, the tour has already seen sell-out performances in Buxton and Nottingham.

Fegan and Todd hadn’t met since they were ten years old in the same junior school class at St.Philip Neri in Mansfield when, in 2017, they were reunited in their ambition to create a play about Bess of Hardwick.

Michelle Todd is a graduate of the world-famous Cantamus Choir from Mansfield and went on to become an international soprano singer and West End actress.

Kevin Fegan is an established playwright and poet with more than 50 stage plays and ten books of poetry to his name.

“I remember walking to Hardwick Hall as a teenager on a summer’s day, never thinking that one day I would write a play about Bess,” said Fegan.

The play is a unique insight into the political intrigues of Elizabethan England, as witnessed first-hand by “Bess of Hardwick”.

Bess was a close female friend to Elizabeth I and, at the same time, confidante to Mary Queen of Scots, whom Bess and her fourth husband (the Earl of Shrewsbury) kept under house arrest for more than 15 years until Mary’s execution.

The play is an ambitious one-woman show presented as a seamless mix of powerful live performance and film shot on location at Hardwick Hall.

Born a yeoman’s daughter, Bess “the commoner queen” rose to become the richest woman in Elizabethan England. She built Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall.

The performances start at at 7.30pm on March 21 and then 2pm on March 22.

Click here for more on the performances.