Hear ye, hear ye: as of Jan. 11, Medieval Times has debuted a queen as the show’s lead role, shattering the stained-glass ceiling in the Gothic-esque production’s 34-year history. Company executives cite the change in part to years of guest feedback requesting women in more prominent roles at the dinner theater and equestrian tournament.
"Where previously our female characters played in more supportive roles, we are now showing a woman fully in charge, a woman whose authority is sometimes challenged, but she quickly rises to the occasion as a strong leader, squelching opposition," Jon Speier, Medieval Times senior vice president and general manager, said in a press release.
Though it makes a timely arrival in the era of the #Metoo movement, creative director Leigh Cordner told PIX 11 that the new script has in fact been in the works for years.
Presenting Queen Dona Maria Isabella as an independent ruler and master of ceremonies across Medieval Times’ nine North America locations, the positive shakeup is big news for the production, which used to simply feature a princess who stood by the side of her father, the king, through the two-hour production.
Erin Zapcic, one of Medieval Times’ staffers to step into the new role, says the time has certainly come for a more visible female lead.
“Especially little girls, I want them to look at the Queen and say this is something I can be one day, whether it’s literally a queen or to be a woman in position of power and not take their own power for granted and not feel they can’t embrace their own dreams and go after what they want,” Zapcic told PIX 11.
From riding into the show on an Andalusian and leading dialogue to presiding over the jousting, sword fighting and equestrian games, Queen Dona Maria Isabella is perhaps paving the way for Medieval Times' next trailblazing casting: a female knight.
But, for now, a queen at the reins is certainly the kind of change worth raising a goblet too.