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.

Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC – Image Licensing

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. 

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 below to see the evolution of Piper's designs

To find out about Michael Boyd's rehearsal process, how Henry V fitted into his staging of the Histories Cycle and issues raised by the play, read the transcript of the Director Talk event. This live event, chaired by broadcaster Paul Allen, took place at the Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, in November 2007.

Michael Boyd interview on  Henry V 2007

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