Today four unsuspecting Anne Boleyn fans came to the East of London to meet us for a day of filming.
We met at West Ham’s football stadium, Upton Park because it is known as The Boleyn Ground. As the name suggests, there is Tudor history attached to the ground.
The club rented Green Street House and grounds in East Ham from the Roman Catholic Church from around 1912. Green Street House was known locally as Boleyn Castle because of its imposing nature and an association with Anne Boleyn, who had either stayed at, or as some believe, owned the house. The ground is said to be haunted by one of her maids who died in childbirth. Therefore, when the stadium was built, it became the Boleyn Ground.
It was the perfect setting for the film. The contrast of history meets modern. The empowered female fans of a, supposedly, feminist role model against a stereotypically chauvinistic male setting. The joining of two passions but ones that are viewed with different cultural expectations.
When I put out the original call for fans, four pages of my email inbox had been filled with Anne Boleyn fans. It was absolutely fascinating to meet our four twenty-somethings who all arrived with fear and trepidation at the Boleyn Ground! Rachel, Sophie, Michaela and Kelly were absolutely brilliant! They all came with their Anne merchandise and were ready and eager to talk about their passion.
The question that we really wanted answered was WHY is Anne seen as such a role model. Our fans went a long way in explaining that. It seems that fans have an emotional connection to the ill-fated Queen, who has reached almost celebrity status in the last ten years.
Sophie told us that she makes her wardrobe decisions everyday based on Anne. She only wears gold jewellery and always wears a headband, (having dark hair and eyes like Anne certainly helped!).
Rachel wore her own Tudor replica gown at the meeting and it was an amazing dress! She said it cost her around £250 and she was planning on buying another one this year. She had been to many of the Anne Boleyn sites around the country, and her passion for Anne had taken over her life.
Michaela told us that she finds she is trying to embody Anne in everyday life, sometimes meaning that she gets into arguments with her boyfriend. She said this is particularly evident if she is reading a story about Anne, particularly The Other Boleyn Girl, in which Anne and Henry have a very fiery relationship!
Kelly told us that she really wants to organise a Tudor dinner party. All the guests would have to come dressed in historical costume and they would eat Tudor inspired food. It would be a brilliant theme!
Each of the girls had so much to say on the topic that we could have stayed for hours. Once the interviews are edited I will be posting them here as they give some amazing insight into their passion for Anne!
Kathryn and I would like to thank Sophie, Rachel, Michaela and Kelly for putting up with our slightly strange filming requests and being fantastic interviewees on a very surreal afternoon at Upton Park! We’d also like to thank the staff at West Ham for letting us come and film at the stadium this afternoon.