Tag Archives: Richard II

Completing the Oxford Shakespeare

Today sees the official publication of the last play in the multi-volume Oxford Shakespeare series: Richard II, edited by Anthony B. Dawson and Paul Yachnin. Stanley Wells has been General Editor of the entire series since it started in 1979, making him the only person ever to have presided over a complete Shakespeare series of […]

Continue Reading

Spacey: From One Richard to Another

A few years ago I saw and admired Kevin Spacey playing Richard II at the Old Vic, in a production directed by Trevor Nunn.  Now, also at the Old Vic, I’ve seen him as Richard III, expertly directed by Sam Mendes. They were both fine performances, highly individual while showing great respect for the text. […]

Continue Reading

Shakespeare and Good Friday

Good Friday: the beginning of an extraordinary moment in the Christian calendar which remind us of the intense human drama that marked the end of Jesus’s earthly life: profound loneliness, desertion, denial, interrogation by state and religious officials, mockery, beating, and the most painful of deaths. Easter, and these events that lead up to it, […]

Continue Reading

The Hollow Crown

Characters in contention for leading role in theatre Shakespeare tribute: Sad Stories of the Death of Kings (Richard II/Henry VI, Part III) ‘This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle/ This earth of majesty’. The words of John of Gaunt in Richard II evoke romantic visions of a lost England: a demi-paradise surrounded by silver […]

Continue Reading

Politics, Poetry and Passion: Richard II in Bristol

Human emotion and political intrigue crackle through Richard II. History, politics, and feeling are all made vibrant by its rich poetic dynamic.   It is not surprising that Sir John Gielgud felt strongly that actors should be cast in this play on account of their different vocal qualities. Long stretches of Richard II require sustained […]

Continue Reading

“Trippingly on the tongue”

I saw ‘The King’s Speech’ at the cinema this week, and was struck by its Shakespearian qualities.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised to find Shakespeare’s words taking centre stage in a film that explores the theme of kingship – Shakespeare was, afterall, rather interested in kings called Richard and Henry (and John). While […]

Continue Reading

The Marriage of True Minds?

My daughter has been invited to read at a friend’s wedding, so she asked me if I could suggest an appropriate passage from Shakespeare. This set me thinking about the use of Shakespeare for public occasions. The most surprising choice I remember for a wedding was when the best man chose to read Hamlet’s verses […]

Continue Reading

Shakespeare’s Kings and Handel’s ‘Messiah’

To York Minster on Saturday evening for the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah. I last heard it there 19 years ago. It was performed by York Music Society, the oldest such society in the country, founded in 1765. My former English teacher, she who led me up the Mount Everest of King Lear, was in […]

Continue Reading

“Let me play the lion too”

Yesterday I had an interesting chat with my colleague Paul about which actors we would like to see play Richard II. The jury is still out on that one – but it led me to think about the power of personality, and the part played by a performer’s persona in shaping the presentation of a […]

Continue Reading

Download a free book written by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells about Shakespeare, Conspiracy & Authorship. Download the Book.


24 brilliant poems, inspired by Shakespeare's life and art, bound in an artisan stitched chapbook

get your copy now