The Last Wife, a startlingly contemporary play about Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII, will is now being viewed at Stratford Festival’s Studio Theatre. Written by former company member and award-winning theatre artist Kate Hennig, the production is directed by Alan Dilworth in his Stratford directorial debut, and starring Maev Beaty in the title role.

An exciting new play developed through Stratford’s Laboratory, The Last Wife focuses on a dying husband, a steamy affair and a marriage steeped in violence that nonetheless offers an irresistible promise. Does Kate risk her safety to gain power? Does she love the man she should love or the man she must love? And what happens to her children when she loses it all?

The production features Sara Farb as Mary, Jonah Q. Gribble as Eddie, Gareth Potter as Thom, Bahia Watson as Bess and Joseph Ziegler as Henry.

“The story of patriarchy inundates us,” says Mr. Dilworth. “If we are fish, the story of patriarchy is the water we are swimming in. The trouble is, it can be hard to notice the story we are dwelling in and not mistake it for truth itself. The Last Wife invites us – through the story of the formidable and extraordinary Katherine Parr – to notice the water, and to consider the possibility of changing it. Is change possible? And if one lets go of one’s story of how things have been, how things are, what lies beyond?”

The Last Wife is just one of several works in this season of Discovery that invites us to explore the power imbalance between men and women,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Kate Hennig has constructed a powerful portrayal of Katherine Parr as a highly capable and educated woman, struggling with how she is perceived and treated by men. Through its contemporary tone, the play holds up a prophetic mirror to our still unbalanced world as we look around and realize that, sadly, not much has changed.”

Artistic credits include Designer Yannik Larivée, Lighting Designer Kimberly Purtell, Sound Designer Alexander MacSween, Dramaturge Bob White, Originating Dramaturge Andy McKim and Fight Director John Stead.

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