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Criterion Theatre
Mary Stuart (2022)
Friedrich Schiller adapted by Peter Oswald
Sat 7th May to Sat 14th May

With Power Comes Fear

Director – Hugh Sorrill
The Play

Deposed, imprisoned and powerless Mary, Queen of Scots represents everything that threatens the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The two women have much in common, having been manipulated by powerful forces around them, but only one can live. A thrilling fictional meeting is at the heart of Schiller’s play in which Mary redeems her youthful crimes through an ordeal that lifts her into realms of spiritual serenity, while Elizabeth descends deeper into rage, revenge and deception. Oswald’s striking adaptation in a mixture of modern prose and poetry is accessible and passionate.

Reviews of the play

"an excellent piece of writing in the technical sense - it’s expertly crafted so as to keep the stakes high at all times, to really create the claustrophobic world of the court... it is truly special to find not one but two such well-formed women in a historical piece like this." Fireside Theatre, 

"At a time when world media is obsessed with the English royals’ pretty wedding frocks and resplendent pomp and ceremony, showcasing a perfectly dressed union of state, monarchy and church, Peter Oswald’s new version of 18th century playwright Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart takes us back to a time when having influence through power, religion, loyalty and monarchy, could literally be a matter of life or death...and shows us that time hasn’t changed one aspect of monarchy: that the world continues to judge by appearance, rather than reality." Kate Ward-Smythe, New Zealand Herald.

Casting Information: 14 roles

Some roles are gender specific and are noted, the rest are not.

Where playing ages are noted, they are for guidance only - actors of any age will be considered for most roles.

Two or three roles, including non-speaking parts, may be doubled. 

Elizabeth, Queen of England: F 50s

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots: F 40s

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester: M 40s

George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury: 60s

William Cecil, Lord Burleigh: M 60s

William Davison, Secretary of State: 40s

Sir Amias Paulet, guardian of Mary: 50s

Mortimer, Paulet’s nephew: M 20s

Hanna Kennedy, Mary’s Nurse: F 60s

Count Aubespine, French Ambassador

Count Bellievre, Envoy of France

O’Kelly, friend of Mortimer

Drugeon Drury, second guardian of Mary: 60s

Melvil, Mary’s House Steward

Audition Information

Open reading on Sunday November 21st at 7:30pm in the Theatre bar. Come along and find out about the play: All Welcome.

Auditions: Still open. Dates by arrangement.

You do not have to be a Criterion member to attend the reading or the auditions and auditions are conducted according to our EDI Policy.

Please contact the director Hugh Sorrill for more information on

EDI Assessment

In line with our EDI policy, we undertake an EDI impact assessment of all our artistic programming. ‘Mary Stuart’ has no specific diversity message within its narrative. The play can be cast with complete neutrality on race/ethnicity. Some of its themes call for gender specificity in certain roles.


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