Richard II's ring


David Tennant featured on Radio 4's Today programme this morning. He was talking about the ring he wears in Richard II which was given to him by Ian Richardson's widow, Maroussia Richardson.

Ian Richardson, who died in 2007, played Richard II with us in 1973 and 1974. It was a highly successful production which began in Stratford-upon-Avon and then transferred to New York and London. The brass ring he wore in that production - made by our props team in Stratford-upon-Avon - was given to him after the show closed.

Maroussia found the ring recently and when she heard that David Tennant was to play Richard II she felt it would be appropriate to offer the ring to David. She says that Ian was the last Scottish actor to play Richard with us and that it felt right to pass the ring on to David, our next Scottish Richard.

She says: 'I just came across it and thought it's very nice … but what's it doing sitting in a box? I read in the paper that David was about to do it and I thought that it would be a good idea to pass it on.”

She gave the ring to David on press night who says in the interview on the Today programme: 'It means an enormous amount to me. I was terribly moved. It felt like a blessing and encouragement from history.'

The fellowship of the ring
It's common for actors to keep significant props or items of costume as keepsakes from productions. There is a story that Laurence Olivier used a sword that was given to him by John Gielgud that was once used by Edmund Kean.

There is another connection between that production of Richard II and this one. A young Gregory Doran saw the 1973 production and it had a huge influence on him and his future career. It has been a strong reference point for this production.

David says he fully intends to continue the tradition of passing this ring on. One day he will give it to another Scottish Richard II who is playing with us at the RSC.

We wonder who that person might be? Could it be you?

You can listen to the interview with David and Maroussia on the BBC iPlayer here.

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