Eleanor of Aquitaine: Mother of the Pride
A remarkable one-woman performance by veteran actress Eileen Page about the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine
Wednesday 16 to Friday 18 May
One of the most dynamic women in history is reincarnated for Eileen Page in her remarkable one-woman performance Eleanor of Aquitaine: Mother of the Pride, a play by Catherine Muschamp.
A woman of extraordinary courage, beauty and iron will – uniquely Queen of France then Queen of England, and mother of two English Kings – Eleanor of Aquitaine’s name was legendary ever before her death.
Having inherited the wealthy Duchy of Aquitaine at the age of fifteen, her first marriage to King Louis VII of France ended in divorce when she failed to produce an heir. Two months later Eleanor stunned Europe by my marrying the future King Henry II of England who was eleven years her junior, thus creating the formidable Plantagenet dynasty. Two of their eight children became Kings of England – Richard the Lionheart and King John – but their marriage was tempestuous; she spent 14 years under house arrest for conspiring against her husband with her ambitious sons.
Eleanor of Aquitaine brings to life a formidable woman, far ahead of her time, who witnessed and influenced some of the Middle Ages’ most dramatic events, including the murder of Thomas Becket and her own rivalry with Henry II’s mistress, ‘fair’ Rosamund Clifford.
“It’s a pleasure to hear English spoken with such sensitivity and clarity... She produces what’s really wanted - dignity, rueful wisdom, indignation, melancholy and grief.” (Benedict Nightingale, The Times)
Eileen Page’s 70-year career encompasses Shakespeare, contemporary writers, musical theatre, film and television. Her long association with the RSC included Peter Brook’s production of Love’s Labour’s Lost, Henry V with Paul Schofield, Mother Courage, Richard II, The Winter’s Tale, and Waste with Judi Dench, which transferred to the Wes End. Other West End appearances include Heidi Schiller in Stephen Sondheim’s Follies (Shaftesbury Theatre, a role she later reprised for a BBC gala performance), Me and My Girl (Adelphi Theatre); The Boyfriend (Duchess Theatre); and Nine (Royal Festival Hall). Among many leading roles in repertory seasons across the country, one of her favourites was Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter at Liverpool Playhouse.
This event is part of 'I'll Say It Again! A season of work by women artists'. This is a month-long festival of events including theatre, music, poetry and dance, celebrating the centenary of women's suffrage in the UK.