Medieval Times in Schaumburg passes the reins -- and reign -- to a new ruler Thursday: After 35 years of kings holding court during the dinner show, a queen will now inherit the throne.
Medieval Times this week unveils a new show, its first since 2012. Jousting, swordplay and horsemanship remain, but the queen will be the sole ruler.
Sara Schubring, who grew up in Elk Grove Village and now lives in Streamwood, is one of the women sharing that role. She answers a few questions about the change.
Q. What's the social message behind the move to install a queen to lead Medieval Times?
A. It's definitely a message of heart and confidence. In this new role, the queen has come forth to finally take her place on the throne and in doing so, she can also serve as a role model for women and girls of all ages. The show's creators developed the concept of casting a matriarch in the show's lead role based, in part, on guest feedback -- that they wanted to see a woman portrayed more prominently.
Q. Has this call for women to have a more significant role been building over time or was it tied to something specific?
A. The concept of the change in leadership in the script wasn't something that came about too recently. The show's creators have been working on developing this one for some time now. The call for a woman to be in a position of power, and not just alongside a king, has been something that our noble guests have requested. We refresh our show and implement new things every four to six years and, since our guests have asked, we answered.
Q. How significant is this change in the show?
A. We are debuting a new and exciting story line, along with the change in power, which is something that hasn't been fully explored at Medieval Times in 34 years! We've had queens in power before, but never as the sole ruling monarch.
Q. How did the kings take the regime change?
A. They took it very well, and are excited to have the ability to develop a new character within our cast. They are also extremely proud of the acting prowess we now get to display in the role of the queen.
Q. Will you be a benevolent ruler or take an off-with-their-heads approach?
A. I feel that the character's benevolence and respect go hand-in-hand, and while the character will command the attention and respect of her subjects, she will do so with grace and with honor. She's a firm, but kind ruler and is respected throughout her kingdom. She's also quite capable of asserting herself as a strong leader when warranted.
Q. Are you modeled after any particular queen in history?
A. Not specifically, no. It's a fictional story.
Q. Which costume piece do you love wearing?
A. I absolutely adore the crown. It's beautifully crafted and a welcomed alternative to the tiara.
Q. We hear there are really four queens. Which one of you actually makes the rules?
A. There are four other female actors that also play the role of the queen. It is an absolute privilege to work alongside such talented young women. I suppose we all collectively make the rules, each in our own right.
Q. How are you and the other queens preparing for your debut?
A. We are all putting countless hours into rehearsal and riding lessons to make sure we are more than ready and can deliver a consistent and flawless performance in the role.
Q. How do you think customers will react to a woman fully in charge and leading the show?
A. I believe our guests will welcome the change and be intrigued to see how now, as queen, she rules the kingdom at Medieval Times with poise and sovereignty. I think that the queen also will be a great role model.
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Where: 2001 N. Roselle Road, Schaumburg
Dinner tournament tickets: $61.95 for adults, $36.95 for children
Info and showtimes: (888) 935-6878 or medievaltimes.com/chicago