Originally commissioned by First Art, in association with Derby LIVE

Bess - The Commoner Queen

by Kevin Fegan

Guildhall Theatre

How to find our venues

Wed 12 - Sat 15 Jun

Tickets: £13.75 More price information

Running Time: 2 hours 10 minutes - approximate, including any interval(s).

Most tickets cost more when booked via telephone or in person at box office. See our Ts & Cs for details.

About the event

After a sell-out premiere run and critical acclaim in 2017 at The Guildhall Theatre Derby, "Bess the Commoner Queen" returns on its national tour in June 2019.

The Guildhall Theatre will be closed until the end of September 2019. This event has been cancelled and ticket holders will receive a full refund. 

"In these troubled times, Fortune hangs by a single thread..."

A female story of survival and astonishing business success in the brutal world of Elizabethan politics, as witnessed first-hand by "Bess of Hardwick". Born a farmer's daughter, Bess rose to become the richest woman in Elizabethan England. She created the Cavendish dynasty, built Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall and became a maker of queens. Bess was the closest female friend and Lady-in-Waiting to Elizabeth I and, at the same time, confidante to Mary Queen of Scots, whom Bess and her 4th husband (the Earl of Shrewsbury) kept under "house-arrest" for over 15 years until Mary's execution.

"Who'd 'ave thought, this Derbyshire lass would one day be tab-hanging between two great queens?"

An ambitious show presented as a seamless mix of powerful live performance and luscious film, shot on location at Hardwick Hall. 

Performed by Michelle Todd (Follies - Shaftsbury Theatre West End)

Directed by Rikki Tarascas ("celebrates the totality of theatre in knowing hands" - Plays International)

Film and Projection Design by Will Simpson ("The Kite Runner" Wyndham's Theatre & Playhouse Theatre West End)

Published by Playdead Press. Funded by First Art. Supported by Derby Live

Dates & Tickets

Bess - The Commoner Queen

Wed 12 Jun 2019, 7:30pm


Thu 13 Jun 2019, 2pm


Thu 13 Jun 2019, 7:30pm


Fri 14 Jun 2019, 7:30pm


Sat 15 Jun 2019, 2pm


Sat 15 Jun 2019, 7:30pm


Prices & Offers


Concessions: £11.75

Concessions are typically available to over 60s, under 16s, students, unemployed and disabled people. Click through to Buy Tickets for individual prices and availability. Please note that proof may be required on collection of tickets or on entry to the auditorium.


Take advantage of one of the following great offers for this event.

Groups 10+

Save 10% by buying 10 or more standard tickets in one transaction.
(Please note that this offer is not valid in conjunction with any other offer including Family Tickets & Concession prices)

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"A tour de force, striking outstanding production, triumph for actress Michelle Todd and playwright Kevin Fegan" (British Theatre Guide).

"Britain's most innovative playwright" (Plays International).