The Kings James revealed

Feb 8 2016 | By More

National Museum reveals James Plays objects

In the Court of the Kings – Face to face with James I, II & III: Mon 8 Feb 2016

The National Museum of Scotland has organised an event bringing together historians and theatre makers who are concerned with the James Plays, currently playing the Festival Theatre.

Jewellery plays a small but significant part in Rona Munro’s James Plays. At their culmination, in the trilogy’s final scene, young Jamie is seen in his rooms in the moments before his coronation.

James III Daniel Cahill (Jamie) with Matthew Pidgeon (James III) behind. Photo: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

James III Daniel Cahill (Jamie) with Matthew Pidgeon (James III) behind. Photo: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

It’s not too much of a spoiler to say that, having wrapped his own naked flesh in chains – in penance and reminder of his patricide – the soon to be James IV is not in the best mind for kingship.

So when his aunt Annabella bestows on him the jewellery of his ancestors, she reminds him that while he embodies Scotland, they are what embodies the people who have made him so. They are symbols of Scotland’s history, the proof of its story.

It’s powerful stuff, not less for coming after so much drama. And tonight (Feb 8) the National Museum of Scotland is going to reveal something of those – and other – objects which tell Scotland’s story from that time.

In what the NMS is calling an evening of dynastic discovery, it will explore the lives of the Stewart Kings who ruled Scotland in the tumultuous fifteenth century.

lively and enlightening

This rare opportunity to find out more about a little-known part of Scotland’s history has been specially programmed to coincide with the return of the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of the trilogy to the Festival Theatre.

Journalist and Broadcaster, Janice Forsyth will host what is promised to be a “lively and enlightening conversation” with George Dalgleish, Keeper of Scottish History and Archaeology, and David Forsyth, Principal Curator of Scottish History and Archaeology.

They will be unveiling the secrets of ‘James’ objects within the NMS’s collections.

Laurie Sansom, Director of The James Plays and Artistic Director at the National Theatre of Scotland, and Rona Munro, who wrote The James Plays, will also be on the stage.

They will discuss the process of creating what is an epic trilogy and reveal what it was about James I, II and III that originally inspired them.

Refreshments will be served after the event, allowing the conversation to continue.


In the Court of the Kings: Face to face with James I, II & III
National Museum of Scotland auditorium, Lothian Street entrance, Edinburgh.
Monday 8 February 2016
7pm-8.15pm (doors: 6.30pm). Followed by a drinks reception.
Cost: £6/£5.
Details and booking from


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