Richard II, with David Tennant in the title role, was the first play directed by Gregory Doran in his new position as Artistic Director of the RSC.

This was also the first production to be broadcast live from Stratford-upon-Avon to a worldwide audience.

Richard II (David Tennant) is deposed by Bolingbroke (Nigel Lindsay) and is forced to resign his crown in the 2013 production
Deposition scene: Bolingbroke (Nigel Lindsay) receives the crown from Richard II (David Tennant), 2013, Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Photo by Kwame Lestrade © RSC Browse and license our images

Mesmerising performance

Doran’s elegant and absorbing production of Richard II marked the start of his plan to present the entire Shakespeare canon. The production opened at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in October 2013, where it played to packed houses before transferring to London’s Barbican Theatre later that year.

Critics enthused about David Tennant's mesmerising performance as Richard and how he suggested brilliantly “a man who feels as hollow as his crown” Dominic Maxwell, The Times, 18 October 2013. Particularly electrifying was the moment when Richard held out his crown to Bolingbroke (Nigel Lindsay) as if he was offering a dog a stick.

King and Country

In 2016, the production returned to the Barbican Theatre, London, as part of ‘King and Country: Shakespeare's Great Cycle of Kings’, to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. It played in repertoire with with Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V. David Tennant reprised his role as Richard II but cast changes included Jasper Britton as Henry Bolingbroke and Julian Glover as John of Gaunt.


Stephen Brimson Lewis designed the sets and period costumes, which combined with back-projection, automation, lighting effects by Tim Mitchell and Medieval-sounding music by Paul Englishby, enhanced the storytelling and helped propel the action. In the photograph below, you can see the designer's model box featuring a backdrop of Westminster Abbey, created using projection against a curtain of metal chains.

Designer Stephen Brimson Lewis's model box of the set for Richard II 2013


In the following gallery you can see photographs of the sets with different lighting effects for specific scenes.

Filming Richard II in 2013


In November 2013, Gregory Doran's production of Richard II became the first RSC production to be screened live from Stratford upon Avon. It broadcast to 391 UK cinemas with a total of 103,393 viewers and 209 overseas cinemas with 23,076 viewers.

Seats were removed in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium to allow access for a large crane with a 44 foot telescopic arm which gave a range of options for camera angles: from wide shots of the stage to close-ups of the actors' faces at key moments.

For a behind-the-scenes look at beaming Richard II worldwide see our Production Diary 12 which includes an interview with John Wyver, the 'Live From Stratford-upon-Avon' producer.

Film script from Richard II 2013 directed by Gregory Doran


The RSC worked with Ravensbourne College in a unique opportunity for UK schools to watch Richard II, which was streamed directly into 1,000 schools on 15 November 2013.

Explore our Production Diary 13 to see how students reacted to this experience.

In this photograph you can see of students watching the schools broadcast of Richard II in St Albans School, Birmingham.

Schools broadcast of Richard II in 2013 at Ravensbourne College


Production poster for Richard II 2013 featuring David Tennant



Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Elliot Barnes-Worrell - Groom, Servant, Herald

Antony Byrne - Thomas Mowbray

Sean Chapman - Earl of Northumberland

Marty Cruickshank - Duchess of York

Oliver Ford Davies - Duke of York

Gracy Goldman - Lady-in-waiting

Marcus Griffiths - Greene

Emma Hamilton - The Queen

Jim Hooper - Bishop of Carlisle

Youssef Kerkour - Lord Willoughby

Jane Lapotaire - Duchess of Gloucester

Nigel Lindsay - Henry Bolingbroke

Jake Mann - Bagot

Sam Marks - Bushy

Miranda Nolan - Lady-in-waiting

Keith Osborn - Sir Stephen Scroop, Abbot of Westminster

Michael Pennington - John of Gaunt

Joshua Richards - Lord Ross, Captain, Keeper, Gardener

Oliver Rix - Duke of Aumerle

David Tennant - Richard II

Simon Thorp - Earl of Salisbury, Lord Marshal,

Edmund Wiseman - Harry Percy



Director - Gregory Doran

Designer - Stephen Brimson Lewis

Lighting Designer - Tim Mitchell

Sound Designer - Martin Slavin

Music - Paul Englishby

Movement - Michael Ashcroft

Fights -Tery King


The RSC's archive is held at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. You can visit the Library and Archives there to look at production related information, including photos, videos of shows and stage management documents:

Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive homepage

You can search the RSC catalogue here: 

RSC performance database

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