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©2016 by suemacstory

"Combining theatrical flair with stunning hard core storytelling, Hannah McDowall and Sue Macmillan are a duo not to be missed!"

ELEANOR LONGSHANKS

A Theatrical Performance

Created and performed by Sue Macmillan and Hannah McDowall

"Cleverly directed and beautifully performed. Captivating from start to finish."

Tour Completed

7 venues, over 1000 audience members - it was a great success and thanks to all those people who came to see the show. We are in the process of writing a more detailed account of all the adventures - watch this space...

About the show

In November 1290, Queen Eleanor died. Edward, her King, erected 12 lavish memorials to honour her across the length of the country topped and tailed by two splendid tombs in Lincoln Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. No English queen before or since has ever been so extravagantly remembered. 8 of those 12 crosses are now lost to history and with them any public awareness of who she was.

This storytelling show, co-written and performed by Sue Macmillan and Hannah McDowall gives intimate glimpses of Eleanor and Edward’s life together spanning 36 years of marriage, 16 children, two wars, years spent on crusade together in the Holy Land, the blossoming of a property empire and the domination of Wales. It celebrates the chivalric culture they idealised and the affectionate, formidable team they became.

 

Origins of the Show

Back in 2012, Sue, caught in an unexpected rain shower, ducked into the old church of St Mary’s in Woburn, a small town in Bedfordshire, where one of the Eleanor Memorial Crosses once stood. St Mary's holds a permanent exhibition detailing the route of the crosses from Lincoln, where she died, down to Westminster where she was finally buried, stopping on the way at the 12 locations where the memorials were subsequently placed. This gave us our first taste of excitement about this queen who had clearly made such an impression on her King, in a time when royal marriages were for political expediency and not for love.

So we began to read all we could. And discovered very quickly that there was very limited information about her directly. For two and a half years we researched copies of original royal account books held in the British Library, the few accounts which have been written about her since, and, we studied the Arthurian literature that she read, loved and commissioned. To help us understand the landscape and imagery, we visited Lincoln and the places she visited in her final days. On the same dates her body travelled, we walked the first part of the route her embalmed body took in December 1290, unconfined on an open byre with Edward following behind her. All of these sources influenced the writing of this performance, which brings to life, with historical accuracy, the fully rounded nature of a queen with strength, intellect and love.

 

2016 Performances:

Stony Stratford

Leeds

London

Woburn

2017 Performances:

Harby

Lincoln

Grantham

Stamford

Geddington

Delapre Abbey

St. Albans

Waltham Abbey

St. Ethelburga's, London

"Cleverly directed and beautifully performed. Captivating from start to finish."