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Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, 2020

MFA Performance Costume Final year project

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“Once upon a time, there were twa queens on the wan green island, and the wan green island was split inty twa kingdoms. But no equal kingdoms.”

Liz Lochhead, 1987

Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, a play by Liz Lochhead, examines the titular tragic figure. Lochhead’s play explores the time from Mary Stuart’s return to Scotland until her death in 1587. The text uses key historical events to lead the timeline along, whilst simultaneously playing with anachronistic details and symbolism to bring the story into a contemporary context.

Written in 1987, marking the 400th anniversary of Mary Stuart's death in 1547, the play explores a range of themes: religious intolerance, gender and power, national identity, politics and class relations. These themes are not only significant to the historical setting but also within contemporary Scotland. The play encourages a cross-examination of our past and present, and a questioning of the prejudices that still exist today.