Shakespeare's three Henry VI plays will be staged at the various battlegrounds of the Wars of the Rosesby Laura Marsh / June 24, 2013 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2013 issue of Prospect Magazine
The white rose of York. The Globe Theatre will be staging Shakespeare’s “Henry VI” plays at the battlefield sites of the Wars of the Roses © Mark Crossfield
Battlefield performances of Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays
Various locations. June to September
Full of alarums and battles, Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays are perfectly suited to open-air performance. The Globe Theatre’s decision to stage these plays at the battlefield sites of the Wars of the Roses is inspired. There will be performances at Towton, Tewkesbury, St Albans, and Barnet. These are Shakespeare’s earliest attempts at history, played out with huge casts and encompassing the stories of Joan of Arc, peasant revolt and political machinations.
Director Nick Bagnall and actor Garry Cooper both have form for bracing, site-specific Shakespeare. Their promenade production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2011 was staged in Malton town centre, and had Bottom and Titania reclining on a stack of pallets in the market square. Their Henry VI, performed on simple 16th-century-style stages, is less experimental, but no less ambitious. All three plays are performed in one sitting, with the first installment starting around midday, and the last at dusk.