The Chamber of Beheaded Queens is a distinctly feminised historical fantasy. It depicts an afterlife where Anne Boleyn, Mary Stuart, Catherine Howard and Marie-Antoinette share their experiences of the cruel men who beheaded them. The chamber is an heavenly sanctuary that is part of a honeycombed network of similar spaces. They are linked by labyrinthine corridors that allow the dead to develop their personalities as though alive. Catherine Howard, played youthfully by Maisie Young, states she was still childlike when beheaded. Thus, she uses the corridors to mature.
The performance begins with an embroidering Anne Boleyn (played by Christine Corser with a subtle fragility) sat opposite a staunch Mary Stuart (played with a wonderful pertness by Ashleigh Barton). Birdsong begins to play. It transpires that Anne has remained silent for a hundred years, a suggestion of how long it has taken her to heal. Then an interesting conflict emerges through the only luxury the queens are allowed – tokens. Anne is annoyed with Mary for wasting a token on birdsong, so she takes refuge in her sowing. A feminine pastime implying it provided Anne refuge from patriarchal constraints when alive. Furthermore, the birdsong reminds Anne of being imprisoned in a stone cell, as she heard the chirping outside. The implication is that being married to a king is itself a prison sentence.