As part of its UK tour, Shakespeare’s Globe will present the three Henry VI plays under their original titles – Harry the Sixth, The Houses of York & Lancaster and The True Tragedy of the Duke of York – at the Grand Opera House Belfast from Wednesday 28 to Saturday 31 August.
Having opened at the York Theatre Royal earlier this year, the Tour’s arrival in Belfast will mark the company’s first ever visit to Northern Ireland. As the trilogy unfolds, audiences will see a sequence propelled and shaped by the royal ambitions of the House of York. Overflowing with intrigue and violence, this was Shakespeare’s first blockbuster history sequence and firmly established his reputation as one of the most popular playwrights of the Elizabethan age.
Although usually performed as a trilogy, the Henry VI plays were not intended as such and each one can be enjoyed without knowledge of the others. The Globe will present each of the three plays as stand-alone productions, emphasizing their individual strengths and qualities, while also providing the opportunity to see all three staged chronologically in a single day.
The Henry VI plays begin with the death of Henry V and together chart the entirety of his son’s turbulent reign. They encompass the stories of Joan of Arc, who is burnt at the stake at the end of Harry the Sixth, and Jack Cade, whose short-lived peasant rebellion is depicted in The Houses of York & Lancaster. Yet at the heart of all three plays is the lethal struggle between York and Lancaster. The black comedy that builds with each reversal of power in The True Tragedy of the Duke of York ultimately sets the stage for the ascent of Shakespeare’s demonic Richard III.
The three plays will be directed by Nick Bagnall, whose previous directing credits include Betrayal (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield) and Entertaining Mr Sloane (Trafalgar Studios). Nick is joint Artistic Director of the Milton Rooms, Malton.
Designer Ti Green was nominated for two Tony awards and an Outer Critics Circle award for her set and costumes for Coram Boy (Imperial Theatre, New York). She was also nominated for an Evening Standard Theatre Award for her design of The Revenger’s Tragedy (National Theatre).
Composer Alex Baranowski recently composed the soundtrack to the BAFTA-nominated film McCullin. His theatre credits include Macbeth (Trafalgar Studios), The Cripple of Inishmaan (Noel Coward Theatre) and Ballet Black (Royal Opera House).
To book tickets for the Grand Opera House performance, visit www.goh.co.uk or contact Box Office on 028 9024 1919.