From director Josie Rourke, Tudor historical drama Mary Queen of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie is now available for home viewing

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Two powerful Queens battle for one throne in the riveting and extraordinary drama based on a true story, Mary Queen of Scots, available now on Digital and on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on 20 May 2019, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

A chronicle of two strong woman pitted against each other in an age of male dominance, the 16th century tale showcases bold performances from former Academy Award nominees Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie in their roles as Mary I of Scotland and Elizabeth I of England.

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Filled with manipulation, betrayal and deceit from start to finish, Mary Queen of Scots also features an outstanding supporting cast including Guy Pearce, Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, Adrian Lester, Gemma Chan and David Tennant.

Mary Queen of Scots explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan). Queen of France at 16, widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry and instead returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. By birth, she also has a rival claim to the throne of Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie), who rules as the Queen of England.

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Determined to rule as much more than a figurehead, Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth’s sovereignty. Rivals in power and love, the two Queens make very difficult choices about marriage and children. Betrayal, rebellion and conspiracies within each court imperil both Queens, driving them apart, as each women experiences the bitter cost of power.

Hailed by Stephanie Zacharek of Time as “cleverly entertaining”, Mary Queen of Scots on Blu-ray and DVD comes packed with bonus features including a commentary by actors and filmmakers as well as exclusive featurettes that will take viewers on a behind-the-scenes journey into the making of the film.

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BLU-RAY & DVD BONUS FEATURES:

  • An Epic Confrontation– A deeper look at the film’s most significant scene and how the two actresses prepared for their characters first encounters.
  • Something About Marys – A behind the scenes look at how the Marys’ on-set chemistry was formed and how it created a bond between the entire cast and crew.
  • Tudor Feminism – An exploration of how Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth ruled in a time when men called the shots.
  • Feature Commentary with Director Josie Rourke and Composer Max Richter.

Go here to explore the Mary Queen of Scots website.

“Shakespeare loves women of colour…” We find out what Dr Farah Karim-Cooper of Shakespeare’s Globe has been working on – and learn about Shakespeare’s “alternative discourse of beauty”

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Photos by Bronwen Sharp

Which play or area of Shakespeare are you working on right now – and what are you getting from it?
I’m editing a book called Titus Andronicus: The State of Play, published by Arden – it’s a collection of essays examining what scholars are saying in 2017 about this important play. I have also just started researching a book about Shakespeare, Death and Spectatorship. I have not got an angle other than my interest in what happens to and within the spectator when they see someone die/killed. Either on stage or in reality.”

What have you learned about Shakespeare that would have surprised your younger self?
I have learned that he loves women of colour… which appeals to a Pakistani-American lady like myself! His dark lady sonnets (I’m oversimplifying) reveal an excitement at alternative beauty, the arguments for darker beauty in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour’s Lost suggest that he was engaging in what the terrific scholar Kim F. Hall has described as an alternative discourse of beauty – beauty that is brown, black or just not white. P.S. read Hall’s classic Things Of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England.”

Which Shakespeare character most resembles you?
Um… see my answer to Question 2! But seriously, I am not sure. I think I have a lot of Shrew‘s Katherina in me – feisty and with very high standards!”

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If I ask you to give me a Shakespeare quotation, which is the first one that comes to mind?
‘Meantime we shall express our darker purpose.’ – King Lear.”

What’s your favourite Shakespeare-related fact, myth, story or anecdote?
I think my favourite Shakespeare-related fact/anecdote/myth is the one about the dismantling of The Theatre in order to move the timbers across the river and build the Globe. There’s a lot of myth surrounding that story, which makes little sense given there is a great deal of surviving record about it, but I like how the story has been compressed from a couple of major events – i.e. dismantling one playhouse and building another more glorious – taking place over months to something that happened overnight.

“I love the idea of this fantasy – that one morning, the Globe magically appeared on Bankside and that Shakespeare might have played a part in this. It is a wonderful story, as myth-laden as it is. I think an excellent research project would be to build an oak-framed theatre and see how long it takes to dismantle it! I know Peter McCurdy (of McCurdy & Co who built the Globe and Sam Wanamaker Playhouse) would like to try this!”

You have the power to cast anyone in the world (actor or otherwise) to play any Shakespearean character. Who do you choose – and which role do they play?
I want to see Adrian Lester play Hamlet. He’s one of my favourite Shakespearean actors and Hamlet is my favourite role. It would be unbelievable.”

Dr Farah Karim-Cooper is Head of Higher Education and Research, Globe Education.
Read our interview with Farah in Shakespeare Magazine 10