Watch: The legend of the first and only female Pope

During this episode of‘s online cultural programme ‘Take a Bow‘, Coryse Borg speaks to German-born director Irene Christ about the highly-anticipated Summer production Pope Joan.

Christ is no stranger to the local theatre scene and has been working as both an actress and director here and overseas for a number of years. This will mark her return to directing locally since 2008’s Tattoo by Dea Loher.

The piece, based on the novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross in the stage version by Susanne Felicitas Wolf, tell the story of a prodigy  who chooses to defy all odds by challenging the highly conservative male dominated  society she was born into. Joan is a defiant and determined female who will stop at nothing to acquire the knowledge she has been so unfairly denied of. Why? Because she was a woman, a woman who refused to concede to the constraints that were imposed upon her. Instead she focused on learning to read behind her father’s back by disguising herself as a boy to further her learning at a monastery where she would be accepted as a male monk until eventually becoming – legend has it – the first and only female Pope to have ever lived.

Pope Joan is being played by Maria Buckle, with the rest of the cast being made up of Antonella Axisa, Chris Galea, Faye Paris, Alan Paris, Mikhail Basmadjian, Alex Weenink, Michael Mangion, Joe Depasquale, Stephen Mintoff, Peter Galea, Ileana Sammut, Julian Zammit and Miguel Azzopardi. Costumes and production design are by Joachim Hamster Damm while projections are by Darrin Zammit-Lupi. The production will also feature the all-male Cappella Sanctae Catharinae choir under the direction of Alex Vella Gregory.

Pope Joan will take place at the Mdina Ditch on the 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th July. It is produced by Teatru Malta together with the Malta International Arts Festival.

Tickets may be purchased online.

Filming: Miguela Xuereb

Editing: Coryse Borg