Girls from Years 5 to the Upper Sixth performed Richard III at the MAC Theatre in Birmingham as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival event. The cast worked extremely hard to develop their interpretation and version of Richard III which is condensed into a half-hour abridgement.
An all female version of Richard III was always going to be unique, especially when taking into account the negative light in which Shakespeare portrays the female characters in this play. The girls set their version on a chessboard as Richard manipulates so many of the characters in the play, just like he is playing a game with them and controlling their lives. The different sides of the chess game reflect the York and Lancastrian houses in the War of the Roses, made more obvious by the colours of the cast’s t-shirts representing the red and white of Lancaster and York respectively. The girls decided to portray the character of Richard with two actresses, emphasizing the split in his character between his evil and better personality traits.
After only 6 rehearsals the girls performed at the MAC and also again back at SMArt to another full house the next evening.
The audience was overjoyed with the production; the set and costumes were simple yet striking and gave a fantastic backdrop to the girls’ performances.