Handbagged is a play by the British playwright Moira Buffini, examining the relationship between Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister from 1979 to 1990.


Handbagged originated in 2010 as a one-act play,[1] with the younger Thatcher played by Claire Cox, and the elder by Stella Gonet, as part of the Tricycle Theatre's Women, Power and Politics festival. The title derives from the verb coined[2] early in Margaret Thatcher's term to evoke the effects emanating from her personal handbag, as it became an emphatic political prop and visible symbol of her power.

The extended version premiered in October 2013 at the Tricycle.[3]

West End production

In April 2014, the play transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre in London's West End, due to run until August 2014.[4] The cast of this production was:[1]

The play toured the UK from September to December 2015 starring Susie Blake and Kate Fahy, with the younger queen portrayed by Emma Handy. It visited Canterbury, Salford, Guildford, Oxford, Coventry, Cambridge, Nottingham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Edinburgh, Norwich, Cheltenham,[5][6] Richmond, Cambridge[7] and Bath.[8][9]

2022 revival

The play was revived at the same theatre where it first opened, now renamed the Kiln, running from 11 to 29 October 2022.[10] The cast of this production was:

The director was Indhu Rubasingham, who also directed the 2014 premiere.


  1. ^ a b 'Handbagged' programme. Vaudeville Theatre.
  2. ^ "HANDBAG | Meaning & Definition for UK English | Lexico.com". Lexico.com. Archived from the original on 19 February 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  3. ^ Billington, Michael (2 October 2013). "Handbagged – review". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  4. ^ Mitford, Oliver (9 May 2014). "Handbagged Review". Bestoftheatre.co.uk. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  5. ^ "The arts diary: Handbagged, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham" Archived 2015-11-22 at the Wayback Machine. Gloucestershire Echo November 17, 2015
  6. ^ "Queen at 90: How Elizabeth II is portrayed on stage and screen". Bbc.com. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  7. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Handbagged review: Susie Blake and Emma Handy star in the comedy at the Theatre Royal". ChronicleLive Oct 27, 2015
  9. ^ "Handbagged review at Theatre Royal, Bath" Archived 2015-12-14 at the Wayback Machine. Bath Chronicle, December 01,
  10. ^ "HANDBAGGED | Kiln Theatre". kilntheatre.com. Retrieved 16 October 2022.