Elizabeth I

Construction of an Icon – Elizabeth I & the Armada Portrait


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Following in the footsteps of 16th century public entertainments, which allowed Elizabeth I to see and be seen, multi-award winning performer and writer, Christopher Green, embodies the Queen, presenting his unique interpretation of one of the most iconic and recognisable historical figures and influencers in history.

There were three outings of the show, giving people around the UK the chance to meet this very contemporary historical queen.

Visitors were invited to give the ‘Queen’ a royal send off, where Green, as Elizabeth I, led a procession starting from the Queen’s House at Royal Museums Greenwich, up the river on Thames Clipper to London Eye and on to the National Portrait Gallery.

During the procession Green wore wearing a replica of the remarkable and intricate garment as depicted in the Armada Portrait – on permanent display in the Queen’s House, Greenwich. The Armada Portrait commemorates the most famous conflict of Elizabeth’s reign (1558–1603), the Spanish Armada’s failed attempt to invade England in August 1588. The portrait has been the inspiration for countless portrayals of Elizabeth I on stage, in film and television.

After meticulous research, designers Bronya Arciszewska and Oliver Cronk, in collaboration with students from the London College of Fashion, The Courtauld Institute, and a wide range of designers and makers created, layer by layer, a 21st century costume.

The ‘Queen’ was joined and accompanied by the ‘ladies of the bedchamber’, all members of the Amies Freedom Choir, who will sing together and create a soulful 21st century masque. Composer, Peter Adjaye has created a 21st century anthem for the choir and the public to sing together. The choir is comprised of female survivors of human trafficking and aims to develop the musical and cultural awareness of young women from different ethnic backgrounds by exploring songs and multicultural musical styles.

Green’s Elizabeth I: Construction of an Icon has been commissioned by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the Armada Portrait Project.

Peter Adjaye, aka AJ Kwame, is a contemporary conceptual sound artist specialising in cross-disciplinary collaborations. Peter has created a unique choral piece, the Onipa Anthem (People’s Anthem), for the Amies Freedom choir, inspired by the Armada Portrait and the Tudor Trumpeter, John Blanke.



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