This August, London-based theatre company Part of the Night will launch Bloody Mary: On Air, a podcast that delves into the life of Queen Mary Tudor. The project originally began as a one-woman show entitled Bloody Mary: LIVE!, which was programmed to be performed at this August’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
With the show postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19, host Olivia Miller, the playwright and performer behind the original show, decided to take the extra year to explore the first Queen of England’s life as she continues to develop her play. In the podcast’s 20 minute episodes, Miller chats to experts such as Dr. Anna Whitelock (PEN Literary Award Winner), Professor Kate Williams (BBC) and playwright Kate Hennig (Shaw Festival) to learn more about Mary Tudor and how to artistically represent her legacy.
Olivia Miller, an artist based in New York, first began writing Bloody Mary: LIVE! while completing her MFA in Acting at the Brown University/Trinity Theatre program in 2019. The show features Mary Tudor as a teenager, performing stand-up to address her so-called ‘bloody’ legacy, and focuses on themes of gender and power, mothers and daughters, and how we reconcile memory with history. Bloody Mary was shortlisted for the 2020 Les Enfants Terribles Award and will now perform with the venue Assembly at the 2021 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The podcast will interest fans of shows like My Favorite Murder, You’re Wrong About, and Noble Blood due to its thrilling storytelling, its mix of conversation and history, and its mission to seek the unobstructed truth about the first Queen of England.
Bloody Mary: On Air is produced by Olivia Munk and Jessica Bickel-Barlow, the founders of Part of the Night, a production company that creates inclusive theatre for nightlife spaces with the goal of making them more accessible to people whose gender identity often makes them feel excluded in these environments.
“When we made the decision to turn our theatre show into a podcast during lockdown, we had no idea how the project would turn out. None of us had ever created a podcast, but we knew we had to find a way to keep telling the story, even if all the theatres were shut-down, and even if we were going to be stuck on different continents while we did it. It’s been thrilling to see the enthusiasm from academics, artists, and history buffs we reached out to, which just goes to show how much passion there is amongst people who study Mary to tell her side of the story.” -Jessica Bickel-Barlow, Producer
“I first met Olivia Miller in 2012 when we were freshmen at Harvard University. While we created many theatre shows together during our undergraduate years, I had no idea that 8 years later we would be making a podcast about Mary Tudor while living in different countries during a global pandemic. It’s been amazing to work alongside Olivia and Jessica to turn lemons into lemonade. As a true-crime and history podcast junkie for years, I look forward to adding to the cannon and to hopefully help shine a light on not only the plight of Mary Tudor, but also on how women in power and politics have been seen (and maligned) for centuries.” -Olivia Munk, Director of Bloody Mary: LIVE! (show) and Producer of Bloody Mary: On Air (podcast)