The Histories 2007-8


In 2007, as part of our contribution to the Complete Works Festival, Artistic Director, Michael Boyd, directed Henry VI, Parts I, II and III and Richard III.

This was the beginning of a two-year ensemble project to stage all of Shakespeare's history plays using the same company of 34 actors playing all 264 roles.

In 2008 Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II, and Henry V joined the rep. All the plays were opened in the temporary Courtyard Theatre, culminating in the Glorious Moment when audiences could see all eight plays in historical order over one long weekend.

The plays then transferred to the Roundhouse, in London, for a sell-out eight week run. This was described by the Guardian as 'one of the greatest events in modern theatre' and resulted in several awards, including four Oliviers.

The Histories in numbers

  • 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

See photos from Michael Boyd's Henry V



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Teaching Shakespeare