Magna Carta

A six-episode radical retelling of the origin of the Magna Carta with King John’s bastard daughter Joan and second wife Isabella at its treasonous heart.

Brochure

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Treatment

The Magna Carta is the greatest document in the history of the world but its origin

story is virtually unknown. This series aims to remedy that. Magna Carta dramatizes the

particular crimes of King John: the closing of the forests, the starvation of Matilda de

Briouze and the slaughter of the young Welsh princes. The trauma of these abuses plays out

in the lives of the women around the King – the women who secretly scheme to stop him –

Isabella and Joan.

Joan is John’s pagan bastard daughter who loves land and rivers more than castles

and churches. Isabella is John’s second wife who loves the Christian God and believes he will

send angels to guard those who seek justice and mercy. They nurture and befriend and find

a way to make justice out of injustice.

King John’s taking of land and debt hostages enrages Robert Fitzwalter. But it takes

Isabella to turn Robert Fitzwalter’s defiance of the King into the sacred work of angels.

Llywelyn the Great defends Wales against the King’s Men’s vicious genocides. But it takes

Joan becoming Lady of Wales for Llywelyn to unite with the Barons and the church and take

the field at Runnymede. Archbishop Langton longed to remind the barons of earlier

charters. But it takes Isabella’s prodding for him to overcome his fears and stand against the

King.

Magna Carta shows in six episodes how the British tame tyranny. The Magna Carta

happened because Joan and Isabella didn’t want John dead, only better behaved. The Great

Charter was born of daring and treason and the starved body of Matilda de Briouze. Magna

Carta sets out to remind Britain of this beating heart of its native rights – shrouded in

secrecy, born of blood, oddly courteous. It is time for this story to be told.

Reading of The Treason Play, 2017.

Francesca Reid as Joan, Lady of Wales | Image by B. Schulz-Mastroianni (BS)
With the resident medievalist, Cecilia Gaspochin and the fabulous Richard McNally | BS
Guy Masterson as Stephen Langton | BS
Rachel Mariner | BS
Sam Donnelly as Robert Fitzwalter | BS
Nora Silk as Isabella of Angouleme | BS
Deep in Act II | BS