Former Harris Academy pupil Ava Hickey has created her own digital show that will be shown as part of a new festival for emerging theatre creators.
The Four Marys is based around the characters and relationships of Mary Queen of Scots’ four ladies-in-waiting.
The Four Marys as a title will be familiar to anyone who saw the work of the late Eddie Small, who presented a play of the same name based on four Marys who helped to shape Dundee – Slessor, Brooksbank, Walker and Baxter.
Ava’s play takes us even further back in history.
“I feel like we see a lot about Mary Queen of Scots, and people don’t really even know that she had these four ladies-in-waiting, who were all called Mary,” Ava, 22, said.
“And they’re all really funny. They have their own sort of ways about them.”
The ladies-in-waiting travelled to France with Mary Queen of Scots when they were five years old and returned in their late teens. Ava’s production happens the few days after they return to the UK.
“It’s a really modern piece, I kind of say it’s 16th century Derry Girls,” she says, explaining that she was inspired by lots of female-led comedies that she watched over lockdown.
The idea came to Ava after she modelled an Elizabethan collar that a friend made for an art project.
After further research on the Marys, she wrote the show in just four days, and created the production with support from her friends, and Chaya Gupta, who is helping with the sound.
It’s a really modern piece, I kind of say it’s 16th century Derry Girls”
Pre-recorded moments where the Marys interact are interspersed with live monologues that help the audience to learn more about each Mary. Also, Ava plays all the characters.
“I have to really completely shift because they’re all so different,” she says. “But it’s a really good challenge.
“They’re all fun in their own way. I can’t really choose [a favourite]. It’s like choosing between your children!”
Ava grew up in Dundee, and was a keen member of Dundee Schools Music Theatre, and Thomson-Leng Musical Society.
When she was in sixth year, she decided to pursue a career in the theatre industry, and went to London to train in acting at Rose Bruford.
“I grew up going around all the different Dundee theatres,” she recalls. “It was a really rich place to grow up and see theatre, as well as do it.”
Theatre success at an early age
Since then, theatre has become her “entire life”, and she has performed in numerous productions, including National Theatre’s Scenes for Survival and Perth Theatre’s pantomime.
The Four Marys will be shown as part of Framework Theatre’s ‘Framework Festival’, Scotland’s first emerging theatre-maker’s festival. It will take place from today to May 7, and is set to feature a variety of workshops, panels and performances.
Emma Ruse, producer of Framework Theatre Company says, “We’re so delighted to have Ava and this show as part of the festival as it brings some much needed joy to our screens.
“The show is a joyous comedy, and if that’s not exactly what we all need right now then we don’t know what is!”
The Four Marys is available to watch live on Zoom on Wednesday, May 5 at 4pm, and Friday, May 7 at 7.30pm, and will last approximately 30 minutes.
Tickets cost £5 – click here to purchase online