Caption

Medieval Times unveils its new queen, with a nod to notable royal

The royal court is abuzz.

At long last, Medieval Times of Atlanta has unveiled its new queen of the castle — the first in its history.

To have a queen as leader of the cast is a positive and timely step, said William Phillips, general manager of Medieval Times Atlanta.

“Little girls can look up to her and that’s what we need.”

In the new show, Queen Doña Maria Isabella ascends to the throne after her father, the king, dies.

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Most read

  1. 1 Top Pence aide won’t fill post as Trump’s Chief of Staff | Jamie Dupree - AJC
  2. 2 Five things we learned from Falcons’ loss to Packers 
  3. 3 More blood pressure medication recalled due to possible cancer risk

Lawrenceville native Ashlyn Süpper, 20, steps into the groundbreaking role after working in the medieval-themed dining and live entertainment show for more than three years.

“I’m just very excited to be able to play this strong female lead,” said Süpper, a graduate of Collins Hill High School. “The hardest challenge has been to make her a strong leader without being overbearing.”

Sora, a three -year-old lanner falcon, is held by master falconer Lady Autumn, 26, at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament at Sugarloaf Mills (Casey Sykes for (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)) (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The new performance will not only include a female lead, but new costumes, armor, fight scenes and musical score.

A big component of the show is the jousting, horsemanship and swordplay in addition to a four-course feast.

Women will rule the throne in all nine of the Medieval Times’ locations in the United States and Canada. The venue at Sugarloaf Mills mall in Lawrenceville, which opened in 2006, holds 1,100 people.

Show director Leigh Cordner said repeat customers will quickly realize it’s a whole new show, with no connection to previous storylines.

The death of the king will be mentioned briefly, but it’s part of the plotline.

“We felt the scenario of the king and princess had kind of run its course,” he said. “We were looking to do something completely different.”

However, it was also a response to customers, who wanted to see women in prominent roles.

Queen Maria Isabella is “absolutely in charge,” he said. “We put her right out there and give her the majority of the lines. The show revolves around the character.”

For her part, Süpper, who started working in the gift shop of Medieval Times Atlanta several years ago before moving to other roles, including that of princess, said she based her character on Mary, Queen of Scots.

She was also known as Mary Stuart or Queen Mary I, and ruled Scotland from December 1542 until 1567. She was the daughter of King James V of Scotland and his second wife, Mary of Guise.

A knight sits on his horse as they practice during a media tour of Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament hours before the new show’s opening night at Sugarloaf Mills . (Casey Sykes for (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)) (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Mary, Queen of Scots ruled until she was forced to abdicate the throne and sought the protection of England’s Queen Elizabeth I, according to Biography.

Rather than get help, however, Mary was held in captivity until her execution in 1587.

Süppersaid she is a huge fan of the television series “Reign” on the CW, which is based on the monarch’s life.

Süpper said she also had to learn to ride an Andalusian stallion for the role.

Other notable facts:

• More than 700 new costumes for all nine castles’ performers, including horses, are custom-designed and hand-made at a dedicated costume shop near the Dallas Design District.

• There are 200 new suits of armor, shields and helmets, all of which are custom-designed and hand-made at a dedicated armory in Florida.

• More than 350 team members and 225 horses train and rehearse new lines and fight scenes for three months while still presenting the current show.

• It takes two months to teach a queen to ride an Andalusian stallion.

• New music was composed by Daniel May, composer and jazz pianist who has scored films and worked with Sting, the Moody Blues and others. He directed and recorded Medieval Times’ new show composition in Kiev with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. He directed the choir in Ukraine with lyrics written by poet and choir member Solomia Gorokhivska.

More from AJC