Faint plays Munro’s Katherine

Nov 22 2023 | By More

Catriona Faint takes title role in fifth James Play

The title role of Katherine Hamilton in Rona Munro’s latest James Play, James V: Katherine, will be played by Catriona Faint, who was recently seen as Jonathan in the NTS production of Dracula – Mina’s Reckoning.

James V: Katherine is the fifth, standalone instalment of Munro’s series of plays set during the reigns of Scotland’s generations of Stewart kings. Produced by Raw Material and Capital Theatres, it will open in the Studio on Potterrow on Wednesday 10, running through to Saturday 20 April 2024 (tickets).

New artwork for James V: Katherine. Pic Mihaela Bodlovic, Art Direction: Niall Walker, Make Up: MV Brown.

As previously reported (Next James Play announced), in this latest play Munro continues to move the focus away from the monarchs themselves. The lesser-known historical figure of Katherine Hamilton will be at the front and centre of the story, in what will be an intimate and up-close performance.

Faint will lead a four-strong ensemble cast in the production. It sees her reunited with director Orla O’Loughlin who helmed the NTS’s recent award-winning production of Enough Of Him by May Sumbwanyambe, about Joseph Knight, an African man enslaved by plantation owner Sir John Wedderburn and brought to Scotland to serve in his Perthshire mansion.

on trial for her life

Faint, who played the housemaid Annie in Enough of Him, now moves out of the shadows to take centre stage as the nineteen year-old Katherine, a respectable young married woman, who has a secret love she’s trying to forget.

When her brother, Patrick, is executed for preaching ideas forbidden by the church, Katherine is put on trial for her life too. She too will be tortured and executed unless she denounces her brother. Devoted and defiant, Katherine refuses, as she believes Patrick’s death might just change Scotland forever.

Jonathan and Dracula shake hands with their arms outstretched from their bodies as far as possible.

Catriona Faint (right) as Jonathan, with Liz Kettle as Dracula in Dracula Mina’s Reckoning. Pic Mihaela Bodlovic

Orla O’Loughlin told Æ: “It’s a total delight to be working with Catriona on this extraordinary play.

“Cat brings such rigour, courage and care to the role and I am so excited to reclaim the incredible history of Katherine Hamilton with her, as we prepare to bring the next chapter in Rona Munro’s epic James Play cycle to Scottish stages across the land.”

The pivotal moment in Katherine’s life came at Holyrood, in front of the cynical young James V in a courtroom packed with the great and the good of Edinburgh.

hidden love

It was a literal performance for her life, a fight for survival, using her intelligence and wit. In Munro’s account, as she struggles to claim her innocence, the hidden love between her and a young woman, who never leaves her side throughout the ordeal, challenges her to decide what is truly worth living and dying for.

Charged with bringing this courtroom to life as the play tours round Scotland’s smaller venues will be designer Becky Minto with lighting designer Derek Anderson and composer and sound designer Danny Krass. Garen Abel Unokan will be Associate Director.

Further casting will be announced in the New Year.


James V: Katherine
The Studio, 22 Potterrow, EH8 9BL.
Fri 5 – Sat 20 April 2024
Previews Fri 5/Sat 6, Tue 9: 7.30pm.
Tue – Sat 7.30pm; Mats Thurs, Sat : 2.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.

Catriona Faint as Annie in Enough of Him. Pic Sally Jubb


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