This production formed part of a staging of the Histories Cycle, with Michael Boyd directing 34 actors in seven of the eight plays. (Richard II was directed by Associate Director Richard Twyman.) The productions played in rep over nearly two years as part of the RSC's Complete Works Festival, culminating in the Glorious Moment when audiences were able to see all eight plays over one weekend.
Geoffrey Streatfeild's Henry V was boyishly vulnerable, weighed down with public responsibility. On the thrust stage, the battle sequences were spectacular - the audience were assaulted with ear-splitting explosions and clouds of smoke as the actors burst out of a central trap-door, scaling ladders across the stage and around the auditorium.
Watch the famous 'Once more unto the breach...' speech »
In contrast to the plainly-dressed English soldiers emerging from below the stage, the French occupied the aerial space - they wore elaborate brightly-coloured costumes, draped themselves from trapezes and the audience first met Katherine as she was flown in from the roof, presented inside a picture-frame.
Tom Piper's industrial design for all the plays featured a central cylindrical tower and the set was constructed to look similar to the Courtyard Theatre's 'rusty' exterior.
View the Design photo gallery to see the evolution of Piper's designs.
Explore photographs of this production:
Photo gallery - Production
Photo gallery - Rehearsal
Photo gallery - Design
Read more about this production on the following webpages:
Article by Sarah Crompton, Daily Telegraph
Michael Boyd: making Histories
Review by Michael Billington, Guardian
Review: Henry IV Parts One and Two and Henry V
Review by Rhoda Koenig, The Independent
Review: Henry V - The king as a smug schoolboy
The Histories Cycle - Facts and figures
- 34 actors
- 264 characters
- 90 weeks of rehearsing
- 175,000+ people watched the plays
- 800+ costumes
- 150 knifes, swords and guns
- 2 litres (average) fake blood used per play
Photo by Ellie Kurttz shows Geoffrey Streatfeild as Henry and Wela Frasier as the Boy in the RSC's 2007 production of Henry V © RSC