RSC's Full Histories Cycle Comes to LondonDate: 6 October 2000
The Royal Shakespeare Company will present its full running of Shakespeare's eight English history plays in London next spring. The event, collectively called This England: The Histories, will see the entire cycle being performed across three London auditoria - the Barbican Theatre, the Barbican Pit and the The Young Vic - in April 2001.
The RSC's staging of the eight plays, from Richard I to Richard III is one of the biggest projects the company has ever undertaken. Involving over 50 actors, four directors and six auditoria in both Stratford and London, This England is being billed as the 'millennial theatre event'.
Since March 2000, the first four plays have opened to acclaim in the RSC's three Stratford playhouses. The soul-searching Richard II, directed by Steven Pimlott, in The Other Place; the developing relationships between fathers and sons in the bard's state of the nation plays Henry IV Parts I and II in the Swan Theatre, directed by Michael Attenborough; and, most recently, Henry V coming of age and the war against France in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, directed by Edward Hall.
The examination of the state of the nation through history continues throughout the winter from November 2000 when the three parts of Henry IV as well as Richard III, all directed by Michael Boyd, will be presented in a specially redesigned Swan auditorium by a separate ensemble of 30 actors.
From December, the first four productions in the cycle will transfer to London and will play in repertoire with the rest of the RSC's summer festival productions. This England then culminates in April 2001, when all eight plays will be performed in London. Richard II will be staged at the Pit Theatre; Henry IV Parts I and II will be in the Barbican Theatre, along with Henry V; and the three parts of Henry IV and minates in April 2001, when all eight plays will be performed in London. Richard III will run in repertoire at the Young Vic.
During the month, all eight productions will be able to be seen in their entirety, creating a unique experience for theatregoers to view the breadth of the interwoven stories and to trace the family relationships as well as the political disputes of the English crown across nearly a century of history.
The productions will be complemented by a rehearsed reading of the first chapter of the Histories - Edward II, now attributed in large part to Shakespeare - in the Pit Theatre, also in April 2000.