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Rona Munro's THE JAMES PLAYS Cycle Set for Edinburgh Festival, Aug 2014; National Theatre, Fall 2014

James I, James Ii and James IiI - are a new cycle of history plays by award-winning playwright Rona Munro and directed by Laurie Sansom, Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland, which are to be presented in an unprecedented co-production by the National Theatre of Scotland, Edinburgh International Festival and The National Theatre of Great Britain, during the Edinburgh International Festival in August and at the National Theatre in London from September to October.

This vividly-imagined trilogy brings to life three generations of Stewart Kings who ruled Scotland in the tumultuous fifteenth century. Each play stands alone as a unique vision of a country tussling with its past and future, with its own distinct theatrical atmosphere. Viewed together they create a complex and compelling narrative on Scottish culture and nationhood.

The James Plays promise to be historical drama for a contemporary audience, served up with a refreshing modern directness.

Audiences are invited to join a cast of extraordinary characters in the Edinburgh Festival Theatre and the Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre in these fast paced stories that bring to life Scotland's past through the gripping stories of the men, women and children who once ruled it.

An ensemble of 20 actors will take the audience through a rarely-explored period of history with playful wit and boisterous theatricality, and should prove a landmark of Scottish drama in a remarkable year.

Some events and characters have been invented; others have been altered or simplified to clarify the narrative but, as far as possible, historical record has been used.

- James I (1394 to 1437), married to Joan Beaufort

- James Ii (1430 to 1460), married to Mary of Gueldres

- James IiI (1452 to 1488), married to Margaret of Denmark

Laurie Sansom, Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland says, "When I first read Rona Munro's trilogy of plays about James I, II and III of Scotland, I realised that not only were they a rare gift to an incoming Artistic Director, they were also something extraordinary to offer to audiences during a year when Scotland's history and future are under the spotlight. The three plays are daring, passionate and offer a tumultuous ride through Scottish 15th century history. I look forward to bringing Rona's vividly evoked backstage dramas of Scotland's medieval royalty to a contemporary audience in a remarkable year for Scotland and friends. They are a hugely ambitious undertaking for the National Theatre of Scotland and would not have been possible to bring to the stage without the support and partnership from the Edinburgh International Festival, The National Theatre of Great Britain as well as the financial support of the Scottish Government's Expo Fund"

Jonathan Mills, Director of the Edinburgh International Festival says, "The Festival is delighted to be working in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland and the National Theatre in London. Rona Munro's specially commissioned history plays explore a colourful, intriguing and critical period in Scotland's history lived through the lives of three very different monarchs and the ways in which their personalities and political environment shape their times. The major project from one of our most distinguished playwrights premieres over two weeks in the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh and is a centrepiece of this year's Festival. We thank the Scottish Government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund for its support of this substantial and exciting project"

Nicholas Hytner, Director of The National Theatre of Great Britain says, "When Laurie Sansom sent me Rona Munro's exhilarating trilogy, I knew at once that the National Theatre should be involved. I couldn't be happier that we're collaborating for the first time with the National Theatre of Scotland on three plays which explore Scottish history and Scottish identity, and stand comparison with the greatest historical dramas in the way they use ancient dynastic struggles to illuminate a vast array of current concerns. We look forward to bringing these tremendous plays into the Olivier Theatre's repertoire after their debut at the Edinburgh International Festival."

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