Clare McCaldin as Mary 1Mary’s Hand is a new project about the life and reign of Queen Mary I.

It’s a little-known fact that Mary loved games of chance, such as dice and cards. In Mary’s Hand, the Queen shares a game of cards with the audience who get to choose the next card to be turned. Their choices prompt Mary’s reflection upon the influences and events in her life: her father Henry VIII, her mother Katherine of Aragon, her Catholic faith, as well as the perceived causes of her troubles; her half-brother Edward VI, half-sister Elizabeth I, the ever-stronger Protestant faith, and her desperate desire for a child.

Above all, Mary was driven by the wish to be a good and just monarch and her deep conviction that she needed to restore England to to the Church of Rome. Her marriage to the Catholic Philip of Spain promised to resolve many of these issues at a stroke, but Mary had played her cards badly and paid a high public and personal price.

With new words by Di Sherlock (The Ubiquitous Woman) and Martin Bussey, (Through a Glass Darkly, The Windhover), Mary’s Hand will be scored for mezzo and chamber ensemble and performed for the first time in 2018.