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Overall rating:


Reference number: 11249

Date: 1976, March 3

Sound: sound

Original format: U-Matic (hi-band)

Colour: bw

Fiction: fiction

Running time: 201.00 mins

Description: A full performance of Mary Queen of Scots by Scottish Ballet, in two acts. Performed at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, on 3 March 1976. The ballet tells the story of the ill-fated Scottish queen.

Mary Queen of Scots was premiered by The Scottish Ballet at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow on March 3, 1976

A programme for Mary Queen of Scots is available in the Scottish Theatre Archive: STA SB 1/71

Please note this is a copy of the raw capture of the original analogue video for preservation and as such may display defects such as dropout, washed out colour and sound fluctuation.

Credits: [choreography Peter Darrell
composer: John McCabe (commissioned score)
scenario: Noël Goodwin
designer: Peter Docherty
lighting: John B. Read

Casting: Elaine McDonald, Graham Bart, Robin Haig with Andrea Durant, Richard Holland, Kit Lethby, Paul Tyers;

Shotlist: Act I Scene I (0.16-22.14)
France – The Court at Fontainebleu

Mary loses a husband and gains a throne. She is widowed by the death of the teenage Francois II of France, and is encouraged by his mother, Catherine de’ Medici, to return to Scotland to take possession of the Scottish throne, thereby frustrating the ambitions of Mary’s four uncles of the Guise family. She leaves with the Scottish delegates and her companions from childhood, the ‘Four Maries’

Interlude – The voyage to Scotland

Scene 2 (25.29-50.46. Tape ends abruptly)
Scotland – The Queen at Holyrood

The Four Maries are welcomed home, and Riccio adds and alien element to the Scottish court. With Bothwell as Captain of her Guard, Mary wins the court’s allegiance and the attentions of Darnley, to whom some Scottish factions take exception. The Queen encounters John Knox.

Scene 3 (0.09-21.36)
Scotland – The Queen in private

Mary, now married to Darnley, is pregnant. Amid political uncertainties, her trust in David Riccio is betrayed. Darley becomes increasingly suspect in court and conspirators alike, and Mary turns for support to Bothwell. Later, Mary becomes a mother fir the first time and a widow for the second. She frustrates intentions against her by the presentation of a son and heir, the infant James


Act II Scene I (22.35-35.48)
England – the Court of Elizabeth

Elizabeth at a country festival, attended by Norfolk, Walsingham and Babington. Reports of Mary and her conduct are mimed for Elizabeth’s entertainment, but the possible outcome is less to her liking. She remains undecided what action to take.

Scene 2 (26.47-50.28)
Scotland – Passion and Politics

Surrounded by rising popular tension, Mary and Bothwell become passionately attached, and Mary presents Bothwell as her husband. Increasing hostility compels them to flee, leaving the infant James behind. A Double Pas de Trois reflects the predicament of Mary and Elizabeth, and Mary is made aware of her danger.

The flight into England

Scene 3 (2.44-17.26. Tape starts mid-action)
England – The Captive

Mary in captivity, attended by Mary Seton, fruitlessly turns for help to Norfolk; to Elizabeth; to her son James, now the ruling monarch in Scotland, and to Babington. By acknowledging Babington’s intentions, she causes his arrest an implicates herself.

Threnody for Mary

Scene 4 (17.43-28.04)
England – The course of history

Elizabeth hesitates over the death warrant. Mary draws comfort from the Eucharist and Elizabeth signs the warrant. Mary is led to her fate, but sees Elizabeth swept away by James and the heirs of the future before she meets her own end.

Curtain call: 28.34-30.59

[The above synopsis was provided by a programme for this production in the Scottish Theatre Archive: STA SB 12/31]