RSC's First Encounters with Shakespeare to Present Stripped Down HENRY V, June 2015
The Royal Shakespeare Company continues its commitment to creating live theatre for young audiences with its First Encounters with Shakespeare production of The Famous Victories of Henry V - a 90 minute adventure condensing the three great plays of Henry IV Parts I and II and Henry V.
Directed by Owen Horsley, and aimed at 8-13 year olds, the production will open in June 2015 in schools in Warwickshire and the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon before embarking on a six week UK tour of schools and regional theatres, then travelling to the US to play at The Ohio State University. UK locations include Birmingham, Hull, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle upon Tyne, Leicester and Cornwall.
Using Shakespeare's original language, The Famous Victories of Henry V introduces us to notorious bad boy Prince Hal as he swaps his rebellious life on the streets of London for the battlefields of France to become one of the most famous heroes in British history. Hal's epic journey into adulthood will lead its young audience through a life of scandal, parties, friendships, family feuds, rebellion and new responsibilities, ending in glorious victory as the once infamous Prince of England becomes the brave and noble King Henry V.
The production takes place in the 600th anniversary year since the battle of Agincourt, and complements the RSC's recent History plays. The title of The Famous Victories is taken from an early play that may have inspired Shakespeare to write the Henry plays.
Owen Horsley, making his directing debut for the RSC, said:
"The Famous Victories of Henry V weaves Shakespeare's Henry IV Part I and II and Henry V together to produce the ultimate coming of age story. Our production, which tells of how the wayward Prince Hal becomes a heroic and valiant King, is bold, dynamic and fun. With the help of our young audience we hope to create a lively show that celebrates the power of imagination and the wonder of theatre. In our school performances we are asking the students to be active parts of the theatre-making process. They will be providing props for the 7 strong acting company to use in performance, impacting on the storytelling and staging, as well as being part of the live action itself."
Owen was recently Assistant Director on Gregory Doran's productions of Richard II and Henry IV Parts I and II. He is Artistic Director of Eyestring Theatre Company, and in 2010 became Associate Director for Cheek by Jowl, after being Declan Donnellan's Assistant Director on a number of productions.
Other members of the creative team include: Simon Anthony Wells (designer) and Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown (fights).
The tour of The Famous Victories of Henry V forms part of the RSC's Learning and Performance Network (LPN), a three year touring and education partnership with ten regional theatres and their local schools including: Hull Truck Theatre, Hull; New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under Lyme; Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne; Curve, Leicester; and the Hall for Cornwall, Truro.
Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director, said:
"Many of us have our first encounter with Shakespeare at school and that experience can define our attitude to live theatre and to Shakespeare for the rest of our lives. This tour brings the thrill and excitement of these extraordinary plays right to the heart of schools, regional theatres and communities. Most importantly, those schools and theatres are long term partners with us here at the RSC, all working to ensure children and young people have vivid, accessible and memorable experiences of theatre and Shakespeare."
The production will also play at the Drake Performance and Event Centre at The Ohio State University. The Royal Shakespeare Company in America is presented in collaboration with The Ohio State University.