Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 11:43 UK

Search to find Queen Mary's voice

Mary Queen of Scots (pic: Hulton Archive)
Mary is thought to have spoken with a mixed accent

A nationwide search to find a voice to portray Mary, Queen of Scots has been launched.

Tourism chiefs want someone who can speak with a mix of Scots and French to play Mary in a new audio exhibit about her relationship to Alloa Tower.

The Clackmannanshire tower was home to the influential Erskine family, protectors of the Stuart dynasty.

The production will be recorded by Stephen Gilmour, whose credits include two Harry Potter films.

The search marks the first time a member of the public has been sought to appear in one of the presentations.

Previous audio exhibits for the project have used local personalities and experts to give voice to colourful characters from the area.

'Confident woman'

The contest is being run as part of the Forth Timeline project to promote the history and culture of the Forth Valley.

Mary's connection with Clackmannanshire was forged with her relationship to the Erskine family who owned Alloa Tower and served as her protectors during her 'rough wooing' by Henry VIII.

It was Lord Erskine who accompanied her to France.

She later returned to the tower as an adult seeking sanctuary from Lord Bothwell, her estranged husband and the father of her child.

The family's role continued as protectors of Prince James when Mary was later held in England.

Organisers believe that she would have had a mixed accent and have also opened the competition to native French speakers who may have picked up local dialect while living in Scotland.

Apart from the accent, they are also looking for a voice that captures Mary as a confident diplomat and leader.

Susan Mills, Heritage Officer at Clackmannanshire Council, said: "The voice of Mary is a mystery. No-one really knows what she would have sounded like but it is logical to think that it would have been a mix of lowland Scot and French.

"She was known as an intelligent and confident woman and I think it will be interesting to hear people's interpretation of how she spoke."

For more information about the role visit www.forthstimeline.com or call 0131 208 0627. Entries close on 9 August.



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