The Henry VI plays are Shakespeare's earliest, most theatrically exciting plays and in their day, they were among his most popular works. In a story which stretches over thirty years, Shakespeare dramatises the fall of the House of Lancaster and creates some of his most compelling characters, among them the Queen Margaret and the wildly ambitious Richard, Duke of Gloucester (the future Richard III).
Modern productions have become landmark works that have defined institutions such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the English Shakespeare Company. This book, the first major study of the Henry VI plays in performance, focuses on the cultural context of modern British productions on stage and screen which have explored Shakespeare's troubling depiction of England in crisis and related those themes to contemporaneous questions of national identity.
About the Author
Stuart Hampton-Reeves is Principal Lecturer in English and Drama at the University of Central Lancashire. Carol Chillington Rutter is Professor of English at the University of Warwick
Table of ContentsIntroduction: Henry VI and national culture
1. Playing Henry VI in the early modern period
2. Rediscoveries: Nation, war and empire (1899-1953)
3. The Wars of the Roses: The RSC's Henry VI and Edward IV (1963 – 4)
4. A true trilogy: The RSC's Henry VI (1977-79)
5. Henry VI and the BBC (1960 and 1981-3)
6. English counter-histories: The ESC’s House of Lancaster and House of York (1987-89)
7. Acts of war: The RSC’s The Plantagenets (1988-1990)
8. Plundering in front of hell: The RSC’s Henry VI – The Battle For the Throne (1994-1995)
9. Black comedies: The RSC’s millennial Henry VI (2000-2001)
Appendix: Cast and crew