Mercy (Marcia Johnson) shocks Faith (Allison Edwards-Crewe) and Talbot (Geoffrey Pounsett) Photo: Barbara Zimonick

Serving Elizabeth

By Marcia Johnson

The year is 1952. Mercy, a Nyeri, Kenya restaurant owner is vehemently anti-monarchy. Her husband is seriously ill and her daughter has been accepted into university. When she is given the opportunity to cook for the visiting Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, can she still stick to her principles? Or can she use this opportunity to create some sort of redress.

The year is also 2015. Tia, a Kenyan-Canadian film student is living in London and interning on a new series about Queen Elizabeth II. When she reads the episode about the Kenya visit, she begins to question her history as a fan of princesses. Can she still continue to work on a production that ignores the negative effects of colonialism? Can she use this opportunity to make her feelings known?

“Richly detailed with urgent ideas…Serving Elizabeth is a gem.”


"…so bold, so brash, so intelligent, and so complex, that the play is absolutely refreshing."


“Brings new twists to storytelling about the royal family.”

Kamloops Omega

“The dual time structure [of Serving Elizabeth] allowed Johnson to both represent the history that she found lacking in “The Crown” and comment on the role that art can play in documenting that history”

Toronto StarKaren Fricker

"...this play (is) an investigation into how we look at history and how we tell stories and whose stories get told."

Leah-Simone BowenDirector of 'Serving Elizabeth', Western Canada Theatre

“Fresh, funny, thought-provoking, and full of unexpected surprises.”


“…funny and nuanced…”

Chatelaine MagazineCanada

Production Details

All characters have counterparts in 1952 and 2015.

2 Male

Talbot – English, White, mid-40s- 50s. Elizabeth’s envoy // Maurice, a successful screenwriter.

Montague – Kenyan, 20s, Talbot’s assistant and driver // Steve, English, an actor

3 Female

Faith – Kenyan, 19. Wants to go to university // Tia – 21, a Kenyan-Canadian film student living in London.

Mercy – Kenyan, mid-40s- 50s. Restaurant owner; anti-Monarchist // Patricia – English, a casting director

Robin – English, 30s, a production manager // Princess Elizabeth, 25

2 hours, 20 minutes (including intermission)

By Marcia Johnson

Purchase Play Script

Production History

Serving Elizabeth was previously titled Heavy Is The Head

Developed through the Thousand Island’s Playhouse Playwright’s Unit.

WORLD PREMIERE: February 20 – 29, 2020 Western Canada Theatre (Kamloops, BC)

August 28 – September 26, 2021 – Stratford Festival, Tom Patterson Theatre Canopy (Stratford, ON)

October 7-30, 2021 (with Livestreamed performances October 20-30) – Thousand Islands Playhouse, Firehall Theatre (Gananoque, ON) 

November 23 – December 19, 2021 (In-Person) & December 7 – 12, 2021 (Live Streaming) – The Belfry Theatre (Victoria, BC)

Script is available for purchase through Scirocco Drama

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