James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock

by Rona Munro

A co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland and Edinburgh International Festival

10 September - 28 October 2014

James I: The Key Will Keep the Lock

James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock

Through bold and irreverent storytelling, James I explores the complex character of the colourful Stewart king – poet, lover and law-maker.

Captured at the age of 13 and crowned King of Scots in an English prison, James I of Scotland is delivered home 18 years later with a ransom on his head and a new English bride.

The nation he returns to is poor: the royal coffers empty and his nobles ready to tear him apart at the first sign of weakness. Determined to bring the rule of law to a land riven by warring factions, James faces terrible choices if he is to save himself, his Queen and the crown.

The ensemble includes James McArdle (The Heart of Robin Hood, Chariots of Fire) as King James, Stephanie Hyam (That Face, Romeo and Juliet) as Queen Joan, and Blythe Duff (Taggart, Beautiful Burnout, Good With People, Ciara) as Isabella Stewart. 

A co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland and Edinburgh International Festival
The James Plays – James I, James II and James III – are a trio of new history plays by award-winning writer Rona Munro. Exhilarating and vividly imagined, they bring to life three generations of Stewart kings who ruled Scotland in the tumultuous fifteenth century. Each play stands alone as a unique vision of a country tussling with its past and future; together they create an intricate and compelling narrative on Scottish culture and nationhood, full of playful wit and boisterous theatricality.

Suitable for 14yrs+

Winner of The Herald Angel Award, August 2014

James II: Day of The Innocents 
James III: The True Mirror 
The James Plays overview page

Frequently asked questions about The James Plays

Rona Munro and Laurie Sansom talk about the trilogy. Friday 26 September, 6pm

In Context
Medieval Castle Life Thursday 2 October, 2 – 5pm, Clore Learning Centre: Cottesloe Room
Scottish Literature of the 15th Century Friday 17 October, 2 – 4pm, Clore Learning Centre: Cottesloe Room
Writing History Plays Thursday 23 October, 2 – 4.30pm, Clore Learning Centre: Cottesloe Room

Photo by David Eustace

Related content: 
  • War Horse final performance 12 March 2016
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • As You Like It. Photo of Rosalie Craig
  • Evening at the Talk House. A decomposing dessert on a cake stand
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Photo of Sharon D Clarke by Seamus Ryan
  • Iphigenia in Splott
  • Waste. Image: Charcoal on paper a man's head, smudged, by Valentin van der Meulen. ‘Untitled 07’. 2013.
  • Cleansed. Photo: Untitled by Birgit Kahle
  • The Solid Life of Sugar Water
  • People, Places and Things poster, with Denise Gough
  • The James Plays - The three Kings
  • Les Blancs / The Whites
  • Brainstorm. Teenage boy with blue exploding head
  • The Suicide. Photography by Jay Brooks
  • Another World: Losing our children to Islamic State
  • The Flick poster - photo of a cinema floor