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From Wolf Hall to The Tudors, you’ve seen men tell their side of this story. The downfall of King Henry VIII’s ambitious second wife Anne Boleyn. Now it’s her turn.

Henry wants a son, Anne, and a divorce—in that order. Sex and politics rarely mix, or so say Henry’s scheming advisors, Thomas Cromwell and Cardinal Wolsey. Not content to be just another one of Henry’s mistresses, the clever Anne seizes an opportunity for a legitimate marriage—and some sneaky Protestant reformations while she’s at it.

Anne’s alluring religious fervor earns her allies as well as enemies. Between her failed attempts to deliver Henry a male heir and Henry’s newfound affection for one of Anne’s ladies-in-waiting, it isn’t long before she’s got a date on the chopping block in the Tower of London.

This sexy, smart revisionist history examines how a woman with convictions navigates a world of royal ambition, lusty affairs and shifting allegiances.

Performance Schedule

Evenings

Tue - Sun 7:30pm

Matinees

Sun (Preview) Apr 17, 4:00pm

Thu (Perspectives) Apr 28, 1:00pm

Sat, Apr 23, May 7 & 14, 2:00pm

Sun Apr 24, May 1, 8 & 15 2:00pm


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Ticket Prices

Performance Center
seating
Side
seating
Previews (Apr 14 - 17) $35 $35
Opening Night (Apr 19) $58 $53
Tue*, Wed, Thu $47 $42
Fri Eve $47 $42
Sat Eve $55 $50
Sun Eve & all Matinees $47 $42
Best Deal (all shows, limited availability) n/a $25

* Excludes Opening Night.

Prices subject to change. Phone orders subject to a $10 per order fee; online orders subject to a $3 per order fee. 

Disabled seating is currently only available through the MTC Box Office (415.388.5208 or in person). We apologize for any inconvenience.

The Perspectives matinees feature open captioning assistance for patrons who are hearing or vision impaired at no extra charge, and occur on the third Thursday of every performance run (check the calendar above for the exact date for each show). For more information about our open captioned performances, please contact the MTC Box Office by calling 415.388.5208, emailing boxoffice@marintheatre.org, or visiting in person.


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Discounts

GROUPS – Bring eight or more people to receive a substantial discount on tickets. Click here or call 415.388.5208.

SENIORS (65+) – $4 off any performances

UNDER 30 – $20, all performances

TEENS – $10, all performances

TEACHER – $10, all performances (limit 2). Must teach at a Marin County School. Contact the Education Dept. to request.

MILITARY – $5 off all performances. Learn more

Discount tickets are only available through the MTC Box Office (415.388.5208 or in person), unless stated otherwise.

MTC Engaged Special Events

 AFTER WORDS

AFTER WORDS

After Most Shows

Join a member of our artistic staff (often with one or more members of the cast) for a Q&A discussion after every performance, except on Saturday evenings, and Opening and Closing Nights.

perspectives

perspectives

Thursday, April 28 | 12pm

Before our weekday matinee, bring a brown bag lunch and listen to a pre-show talk by our fabulous production dramaturgs, Lydia Garcia & Maddie Gaw!



MTC After Hours

MTC After Hours

Saturday, May 7 | 10:30pm

After the performance join us at the MTC bar for jazz, drink specials, and camaraderie. MTC After Hour features the musical stylings of Full Mood Swing and is a low-key way to mix with fellow audience members, the cast, crew, and whoever else might stop by. A great way to continue the conversation after the curtain goes down!

SPECIAL EVENT

SPECIAL EVENT

Matinee at Grace Cathedral | April 30 12pm

Don’t miss this one time opportunity to see this captivating new play as MTC brings their production across the bay to the gorgeous Gothic surroundings of Grace Cathedral’s Quire.

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Cast

  • Arwen Anderson*

    Arwen Anderson*

    Lady Rochford

    Arwen Anderson is delighted to return to MTC where she has appeared in Circle Mirror Transformation, the world premiere of Bellwether and A Streetcar Named Desire. Regional theater credits include: King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, The Verona Project (world premiere) at California Shakespeare Theater; Let There Be Love, A Christmas Carol, Tales of the City (workshop) at American Conservatory Theater; An Accident, Mrs. Whitney, Expedition 6, The Rules of Charity (all world premieres), and Mauritius at Magic Theatre; 77% at San Francisco Playhouse; Love in American Times (world premiere) at San Jose Repertory Theatre; Miss Julie with Stanford Repertory Theatre/Strindberg Forum; Lobby Hero, The Shape of Things at Aurora Theatre Company; You Know When The Men Are Gone, 4 Adverbs with Word for Word Performing Arts Company as well as roles with TheatreWorks, Brava! For Women in the Arts, Marines Memorial Theatre, Encore Theatre Company, Central Works and Climate Theater. Her film work includes Hog Island, Ashley 22, and Dark Retreat. Anderson is a graduate of Wesleyan University. 

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  • David Ari*

    David Ari*

    Cromwell/George Villiers

    After eight years away, David is thrilled to be making his return to the stage with the Marin Theater Company and the company of Anne Boleyn. David received his MFA from the University of California, San Diego, and is a recent transplant to the Bay Area. Career highlights include a best supporting actor nomination for his role in Los Angeles based Chalk Rep’s production of Family Planning (Ovation Award for Best Play), Beauty, Richard III, Full Circle (La Jolla Playhouse), and King Lear (Sierra Repertory Theater). All my heart to Heather for her endless love, patience, and support.

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  • Carrie Lyn Brandon

    Carrie Lyn Brandon

    Lady Celia/Country Woman 1

    Carrie Lyn Brandon is excited to make her MTC debut! A Bay Area native, she was a part of ACT's Young Conservatory where she appeared in I'm Still Standing and Homefront as well as other various concerts and performances. Brandon has performed as a soloist multiple times for the California Symphony and Reno Philharmonic. She is a recent graduate of Penn State's Musical Theatre BFA where her favorite roles included Wendla in Spring Awakening and Kate in From Up Here

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  • Dan Hiatt*

    Dan Hiatt*

    Tyndale/Reynolds/others

    Dan Hiatt has appeared at Marin Theatre Company in Othello, Noises Off, The Real Thing, Born Yesterday, Glengarry Glen Ross, Room Service, Communicating Doors, and Life x 3. Other credits include Ah, Wilderness!, Love and Information, A Christmas Carol, Round and Round the Garden, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Cherry Orchard, and The Matchmaker, at American Conservatory Theatre; Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Dinner with Friends, and Menocchio at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; The Arsonists, Wittenberg, and Breakfast with Mugabe at Aurora Theatre; Nicholas Nickleby, Titus Andronicus, The Pastures of Heaven, Much Ado About Nothing, King John, Uncle Vanya, and many others at The California Shakespeare Theatre; and The Pitmen Painters, The 39 Steps, and Upright Grand at TheatreWorks. Regional theatre credits include performances at Seattle Rep, Arizona Theatre Company, The Huntington Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Ford’s Theatre, Calgary Theatre Company, The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

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  • Craig Marker*

    Craig Marker*

    Henry VIII/James

    Craig Marker returns to Marin Theatre Company where he last performed as Iago in Othello. Other roles at MTC include Daniel Reeves in 9 Circles, Sharpe in Equivocation, Jim in Glass Menagerie, Trigorin in Seagull, and Bo Decker in Bus Stop. Regionally, Mr. Marker has performed for California Shakespeare Theater, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Aurora Theatre Company, TheatreWorks, Center REPertory Company, Shotgun Players, and San Francisco Playhouse. Mr. Marker’s television and film credits include TraumaBye-Bye, Bin LadenGeneric Thriller and Night of Henna; and his voice work includes several characters in the video game Brutal Legend starring Jack Black. craig-marker.com

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  • ​Robert Parsons*

    ​Robert Parsons*

    Understudy: Wolsey/Cecil

    Robert Parsons is happy to be returning to MTC where he has appeared in Circle, Mirror, Transformation, Visons of Kerouac, Pal Joey and Communicating Doors. Other Bay Area credits include work at American Conservatory Theatre (Arcadia, Rock ‘N Roll, The Little Foxes, The Black Rider Buried Child, The Colossus of Rhodes), Magic Theatre (A Lie of the Mind, Pleasure and Pain, The Lonesome West, The American in Me ), SF Playhouse, (Colossal, Six Degrees of Separation, Slasher), Aurora Theatre Company, (A Bright New Boise, Private Jokes/Public Places) as well as stints at Symmetry Theatre Company, TheatreWorks, Word for Word, Cutting Ball, Marin and SF Shakespeare Festivals, San Jose Stage Company and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Regional credits include work at Ford’s Theatre, Ahmanson Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, Alley Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company and the Sydney Festival. Film credits include Delirium, Black August, and This Is Hamlet.

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  • Charles Shaw Robinson*

    Charles Shaw Robinson*

    Cardinal Wolsey/Cecil

    Charles Shaw Robinson was last seen as George in Swimmers at MTC. Other work for MTC includes roles in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy, and in Bill Cain’s Equivocation. Other favorite roles include Sorn in Stupid F**king Bird and Leonard in Seminar (both for the San Francisco Playhouse); Milton in the West Coast premiere of Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul (Berkeley Repertory Theatre); Gloucester in King Lear, Iago in Othello (California Shakespeare Theatre); and Henri in Magic Fire, directed by Jack O'Brien (Berkeley Repertory Theatre/Old Globe). Regional Theatre credits include the title roles in Hamlet(Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Pericles (Centerstage, Baltimore), and Scaramouche (The Empty Space Theatre, Seattle). He was last seen in New York in the American premiere of Frank McGuinness’s Gates of Gold at 59E59 Theaters, and before that at the Second Stage Theatre as the Father in Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice.

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  • Liz Sklar*

    Liz Sklar*

    Anne Boleyn

    Liz Sklar is thrilled be back at MTC where she last played Liz in The Whale. At MTC she has also played Jenny June in Failure: A Love Story, the Amazon in Lasso of Truth, Aemilia in Othello, Masha in Seagull and was in the world premiere of Bellwether. Other Bay Area credits include Trouble Cometh and Becky Shaw - SF Playhouse, Care of Trees - Shotgun Players, A Christmas Carol - A.C.T., King John - Marin Shakespeare Company and The Tempest - Cal Shakes. She had the honor of playing Lady Macbeth and Titania (Midsummer) at Mortal Folly Theatre in NYC and co-starred with Stacy Keach in the film Imbued. She will be playing Desdemona in Othello later this year at Cal Shakes. Sklar holds a BA in Theater Arts from Brown University, an MFA in Acting from A.C.T.

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  • Lauren Spencer

    Lauren Spencer

    Jane Seymour/Country Woman 2

    Lauren Spencer is delighted to make her MTC debut. As a Bay Area based actor, Ms. Spencer is proud to have collaborated with Crowded Fire (Goods Goods, The Late Wedding, Blackademics, Mechanics of Love); American Conservatory Theater (How To Catch Creation); San Francisco Shakespeare Festival (Romeo and Juliet); Shotgun Players (The Rover); JUST Theater (A Maze) among others. Ms. Spencer also works as a teaching artist with Cal Shakes and The SF Shakespeare Festival. laurenspencer.weebly.com

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  • ​Howard Swain*

    ​Howard Swain*

    Sloop/Andrewes/Country Man 1

    Howard’s work at MTC includes The Seagull, Killer Joe, Bus Stop, Pal Joey, Sacco and Vanzetti, and Morning’s At Seven. He has worked on the national tours of Picasso At The Lapin Agile and Love, Janis. He recently performed in Toronto and Paris with the Word For Word company and off-Broadway at The New York Theatre Workshop. Bay Area credits include ACT, Berkeley Rep, TheatreWorks, Aurora Theatre, Magic Theatre, Eureka Theatre, SF Playhouse, Center REP and Playground, and as well as the Colorado, Oregon, Santa Cruz, Marin, and California Shakespeare Festivals. Television and film credits include Nash Bridges, Midnight Caller, Jesse Hawks, Mrs. Lambert Remembers Love, Partners In Crime, Kiss Shot, Bed of Lies, Hill St. Blues, Cherry 2000, Miracle Mile, Metro, Dog and the Dogma, Bartleby, Golden Gate, Just One Night, Teknolust, Frameup, Night of the Scarecrow, Benjamin, Valley of the Heart’s Delight, and Smoke And Mirrors.

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  • ​Ryan Tasker*

    ​Ryan Tasker*

    Simpkin/Barrow/Parrot/Country Man 2

    Ryan Tasker makes his MTC debut. Recent roles include Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing) and Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility) with the Livermore Shakespeare Festival, and Macduff (Macbeth) and Fluellen (Henry V) with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. He has also appeared with the Word for Word Performing Arts Company (where he is an Associate Artist), Aurora Theatre Company, TheatreWorks, Shotgun Players, San Jose Repertory, Just Theater, Theatre Rhinoceros, TheatreFIRST, Willows Theatre Company, Sierra Repertory Theatre, theatre Q, and Pacific Repertory Theatre, among others.

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Creative Team

  • Howard Brenton

    Howard Brenton

    Playwright

    Howard was born in Portsmouth in 1942. He and his wife Jane live in South London and they have two sons. His many plays include Christie In Love  (Portable Theatre, 1969); Revenge (Theatre Upstairs, 1969); Magnificence (Royal Court Theatre, 1973); The Churchill Play (Nottingham Playhouse, 1974 twice revived by the RSC 1978 and 1988); Bloody Poetry (Foco Novo 1984 and The Royal Court Theatre, 1987); Weapons of Happiness (National Theatre, winner of the Evening Standard Award 1976); Epsom Downs (Joint Stock Theatre, 1977); Sore Throats (RSC, 1978); The Romans In Britain (National Theatre, 1980, revived Sheffield Crucible Theatre 2006); Thirteenth Night (RSC, 1981);  (1983),  (1988) and  (1992) all presented by the Royal Court;  (RADA Jerwood Theatre, 2000);  (National Theatre 2005, nominated for the Olivier Award, 2006);  (Shakespeare’s Globe, 2006); The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Chichester Festival Theatre/ Liverpool Everyman, 2010) and Anne Boleyn (Shakespeare’s Globe and UK Tour 2010/2011 – winner of Best New Play at the 2011 Whatsonstage Awards). 

    Howard’s play 55 Days, directed by Howard Davies and starring Mark Gatiss, played to wide critical and popular acclaim at Hampstead Theatre, shortly followed by his play Drawing the Line. He also adapted the two parts of Strindberg’s The Dance of Death into one play called Dances of Death, which opened at the Gate Theatre in 2013. In 2014, his play Doctor Scroggy’s War opened at the Shakespeare’s Globe, and Howard’s piece Ransomed will make up part of Salisbury Playhouse’s Magna Carta Festival showcase.

    Collaborations with other writers include, Brassneck with David Hare (Nottingham Playhouse 1973); A Short Sharp Shock with Tony Howard (Royal Court and Stratford East, 1980);  Pravda with David Hare (National Theatre, winner of the Evening Standard Award, 1985); Iranian Nights with Tariq Ali (Royal Court Theatre, 1989); Moscow Gold with Tariq Ali (RSC Barbican Theatre, 1990); Ugly  with Tariq Ali (Tricycle Theatre, 1998); Collateral Damage (Tricycle Theatre 1999) and Snogging Ken (Almeida Theatre, 2000) both with Tariq Ali and Andy de la Tour.  

    Howard wrote the libretto for Ben Mason’s football opera PLAYING AWAY (Opera North and Munich Biennale, 1994) and a radio play, NASSER’S EDEN (1998). New versions of classic texts include THE LIFE OF GALILEO (National Theatre, 1980) DANTON’S DEATH (National Theatre, 1982, and revived in a new version at the National in 2010), and Goethe’s FAUST (RSC 1995/6). 

    Howard’s novel Diving for Pearls was published by Nick Hern Books in 1989. His book of essays on the theatre, Hot Irons, was published by Nick Hern Books (1995) and reissued, in an expanded paperback version, by Methuen (1998).  

    Howard’s television plays include Dead Head (a four part serial for BBC2, 1986) and he was lead writer on five series of the award-winning  for Kudos/BBC1 (2001-2005, BAFTA Best Drama Series 2003). 

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  • Jason Minadakis^

    Jason Minadakis^

    Director

    Minadakis is in his tenth season as artistic director of MTC, where he has directed The ConvertThe Whale, Failure: A Love Story, the world premiere of Lasso of Truth, The Whipping Man (San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Awards for best production and best acting ensemble), Waiting for Godot, Othello, the Moor of Venice, The Glass Menagerie, Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice, the world premiere of Seagull, Happy Now?, Equivocation (SFBATCC Award for best director), the world premiere of Sunlight, Lydia, The Seafarer, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Streetcar Named Desire, said Saïd, Love Song and The Subject Tonight is Love. As artistic director of Actor’s Express Theatre Company, he directed The Pillowman, Bug, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Echoes of Another Man, Killer Joe, Burn This, The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, Blue/Orange and Bel Canto. As producing artistic director of Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, he directed Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, Chagrin Falls (2002 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Production) and numerous others, including 19 productions of Shakespeare. Regional credits include The Whipping Man at Virginia Stage Company, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Hamlet at Georgia Shakespeare, Copenhagen at Playhouse on the Square (2003 Ostrander Theatre Award for Best Dramatic Production) and Bedroom Farce at Wayside Theatre.

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  • Sean McStravick

    Sean McStravick

    Stage Manager

    Sean McStravick has previously stage managed MTC’s productions of August Wilson’s Gem of the OceanMy Mañana Comes, The Oldest Boy, Choir Boy, The Convert, The Whale, Fetch Clay, Make Man and Good People. He has worked for numerous Bay Area theaters including Shotgun Players, 42nd Street Moon and Willows Theatre Company, where he was the production stage manager from 2010 to 2012. Regionally, he has also supported productions at North Coast Repertory Theatre, Blue Trunk Theatre Company, Back Seat Theatre, the Reduced Shakespeare Company and Actors Alliance of San Diego. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

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  • Nina Ball

    Nina Ball

    Scenic Designer

    Nina Ball has designed the sets for MTC’s productions of The Convert, Failure: A Love Story, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, Good People, The Beauty Queen of Leenane and God of Carnage. Her designs have been seen at A.C.T., Cal Shakes, San Jose Rep, Aurora Theatre Company, Shotgun Players, SF Playhouse, Center REP and Z Space, among many others. She has been nominated for numerous San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Shelley and Arty Awards. Recent awards include SFBATCC Awards for My Fair Lady at SF Playhouse and Metamorphosis at Aurora Theatre, a BroadwayWorld San Francisco Award for Care of Trees at Shotgun Players and an Arty Award for her design of Eurydice at Solano College Theatre. Ball is a company member of Shotgun Players and has a MFA in scenic design from San Francisco State University. ninaball.com

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  • Ashley Holvick

    Ashley Holvick

    Costume Designer

    Ashley Holvick is currently MTC’s Costume Shop manager. She previously designed the costumes for the MTC Family Series production of Charlotte’s Web. Other recent work includes San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Romeo and Juliet and Mugwumpin’s Blockbuster Season. Ashley has designed for many theaters and institutions throughout the Bay Area including The Aurora Theatre Company, Shotgun Players, Pacific Repertory, UC Berkeley, Just Theatre, TheatreFirst among many others.

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  • Kurt Landisman+

    Kurt Landisman+

    Lighting Designer

    Kurt has designed lighting for over 40 of MTC’s productions, including SwimmersChoir Boy, The Whale, August Wilson’s Fences, Jacob Marley’s Christmas CarolTopdog/UnderdogOthello, the Moor of Venice and Seven Guitars. His lighting designs have been seen at most Bay Area theaters including A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, San Jose Rep, Aurora Theatre Company, Center REP, San Francisco Opera, Cal Shakes, Magic Theatre and TheatreWorks. He has received numerous San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle and Drama-Logue awards. Nationally, Landisman’s designs have been seen at Arizona Theatre Company, Laguna Playhouse, Los Angeles Opera, Minnesota Opera, Sacramento Opera, Virginia Opera, Tulsa Opera, Ballet Arizona, Guthrie Theatre and Cincinnati Playhouse, as well as Off Broadway at Circle Rep and Douglas Fairbanks Theatre. His association with playwright Sam Shepard included the world premieres of True West and Fool for Love. Internationally, his designs have been seen in Tokyo, Singapore and Shanghai. kurtlandisman.com

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  • Teddy Hulsker

    Teddy Hulsker

    Sound Designer

    Theodore is returning to MTC after having just done the sound design for Swimmers. Previous work includes My Mañana Comes at MTC; and AssassinsWoyzeckStrangers BabiesHarry Thaw Hates Everybody and Our Town with the Shotgun Players. His work can also frequently be heard at the San Francisco Playhouse where past credits include Into the WoodsSeminar and Tree. He is a Mugwumpin Company member and past work with them includes The Great Big AlsoLuster and Blockbuster Season. In 2012 He received the Eric Landismen Fellowship for emerging designer and has been thrice nominated for a BATCC award for Sound Design. In addition to his work as a sound designer he curates a monthly art event called Klanghaus in North Oakland. theodore-hulsker.squarespace.com

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  • Lynne Soffer

    Lynne Soffer

    Dialect Coach

    Soffer has provided coaching for 29 MTC productions, including The ConvertGood People, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Othello, the Moor of Venice, A Steady Rain and The Glass Menagerie. She has served as dialect/text coach on over 250 theater productions, including A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, San Jose Rep, Magic Theatre, Cal Shakes. SF Playhouse, Marin Shakespeare Company, the Old Globe, Dallas Theater Center, Arizona Theatre Company, the Arena Stage, Seattle Rep and Denver Center Theatre Company. Her film and television credits include Fruitvale Station, Metro, Duets, The Land of Milk and Honey and America’s Most Wanted. Soffer is a professional actor, director and teacher of actors. She is the recipient of the 2011 Actors’ Equity Association Lucy Jordan Humanitarian Award.

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  • Regina Victoria Fields

    Regina Victoria Fields

    Assistant Director/Choreographer

    Regina Victoria Fields is thrilled to be serving as an Artistic Direction Intern at Marin Theatre Company, and for the opportunity to Assistant Direct. Miss Fields recently graduated from Santa Clara University cum laude with double majors in Theatre Arts and Religious Studies and has studied with the Gaiety School of Acting as well as the British American Drama Academy. As an actress, she has worked with companies including California Shakespeare Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, and African American Shakespeare Company. In the spring, she will be directing at the Flight Deck in Oakland, as well as assistant directing here at Marin Theatre Company. A firm believer in the power of theatre as a tool of change, she hopes to incorporate social justice into her work as her career progresses.

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* Denotes member of Actors Equity Association
+ Member, United Scenic Artists
^ Member, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers

Reviews

  • Marin Theatre Company’s compelling ‘Anne Boleyn’
    Published 8:58 am, Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    When Anne Boleyn walks on stage carrying her severed head in a satchel, you know this is not going to be the usual costume drama.

    After Anne Boleyn shows off her severed head as a way of welcoming the audience, she spends the next 2 ½ hours leaning in and defying the notion of what a lady is supposed to do at court. She won’t sit tittering with the ladies in waiting, sewing or reading romances about knights in armor. Rather, she is going to woo a married king, make him wait seven years before they consummate their relationship (to paraphrase Beyonce, if Henry likes it then he better put a ring on it) and she is going to open the door to Protestants and to the eventual rupture between the Church of England and Rome.

    As played by Liz Sklar, Anne is defiant, determined and devout. She is devoted to the work of William Tyndale (Dan Hiatt), a Protestant-leaning scholar whose books, including the Bible he translated directly from the Hebrew and Greek, were seen as heretical and banned in England. She and Henry, fueled by her passion, become a power couple but only until she fails to provide him a male heir and his eye wanders toward young Lady Jane Seymour (Lauren Spencer).

    In addition to all the drama at court that has been dramatized many times, Brenton allows us a glimpse of Anne’s legacy by shifting centuries, moving from the court of King Henry VIII to King James (both played with remarkable, scene-stealing gusto by Craig Marker). James, newly arrived from Scotland and installed on the throne, not only tries on Anne’s coronation dress (much to the delight of his lover, George Villiers) but also suspects that there was more to Anne than her reputation as a demon harlot. Once he discovers her Tyndale books, he figures out that it was she — he calls her “the whore who changed England” — leading the push to realize the King as the leader of the church and not the Pope.

    — Chad Jones, San Francisco Chronicle Read full review
  • MTC play recasts Anne Boleyn as mother of the church

    A play by Howard Brenton originally commissioned by Shakespeare’s Globe in London, where it premiered in 2010, “Anne Boleyn” now makes its West Coast premiere at MTC in a lively staging by artistic director Jasson Minadakis.

    The story jumps back and forth in time between Anne Boleyn’s time in the late 1520s and 1530s and the beginning of King James’ reign, starting in 1603. Craig Marker does a splendid job of playing both kings — the boisterous and bawdy Scotsman James and the passionate and impulsive Henry.

    The large cast of 10 local actors is terrific throughout. Hiatt doubles as the gentle but uncompromising Protestant religious scholar William Tyndale, and Ari is a cold-bloodedly Machiavellian Thomas Cromwell, always scheming ways to rise in power by tearing everyone else down. Charles Shaw Robinson plays a perfect straight man to James as his chief minister Robert Cecil, and he tenaciously struggles to retain his stature as Cardinal Wolsey, Henry’s Lord Chancellor, whose perceived dithering Anne detests. Arwen Anderson is a sympathetic presence as Anne’s sister-in-law and confidante, who’s often bullied into betraying her, with Carrie Lyn Brandon and Lauren Spencer as two bubbly members of her retinue, one of whom will prove to be instrumental later.

    Nina Ball’s set is fantastic, evoking an ornate, cathedral-like palace with stag’s head silhouettes on the walls. At least in Anne’s day, there’s always someone lurking behind a pillar watching and listening to people’s private conversations, usually several people. Ashley Holvick’s attractive costumes suggest the period without particularly being beholden to it, adding the occasional stiletto heels or T-shirt with impunity.

    This revisionist depiction of Anne Boleyn as a dedicated religious reformer is a refreshingly original take (if maybe also a far-fetched one) that gives Brenton an opportunity to play with the ways that people have always found to turn religion to their own ends. James’ obsession with Anne seems unconvincingly contrived, but the juxtaposition between the two figures and the effect that each of them had in shaping the religious culture of the country proves fascinating. Whether or not King James actually ever gave the fact much thought, it’s certainly true that we’d never have had the King James Bible were it not for the English Reformation sparked, in her own unlikely way, by Anne Boleyn.

    — Sam Hurwitt, Marin IJ Read full review

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