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Rose Riot | The Wars of the Roses (2018/19)

Directed by Damien Ryan

Written by William Shakespeare, Adapted by Damien Ryan

December 14, 2018 to January 27, 2019

“Glory is like a circle in the water…” Joan of Arc

Shakespeare’s Wars of the Roses, the inspiration for television’s Game of Thrones, is all about glory – its splendour and its terrible price. The red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York seek to strangle each other in an epic, 30-year cycle of violence, romance, political manoeuvring, popular uprising and deep prophecy until the unweeded garden of the realm yields a new flower – the Tudor Rose – the white dyed in the heartblood of the red, the red turned pale with fear of the white.

Spanning the nations of France and England at their most tumultuous moment, we see an incredible series of Icarus figures soar and fall. From the flight to impossible heights of a shepherd girl called Joan who has her wings burnt by fire; to the humble, spiritual Henry VI, a king seeking a higher plane of human thought and patience; to the political giants, Warwick the Kingmaker, Edmund Lancaster and Richard York who can touch the clouds but fall to earth with a bloody thud alongside their giant puppet, Jack Cade, a provincial bricklayer-cum-politician who turns public speaking into a circus art; and amidst them all, a pair of underdogs, an unlikely young man and woman who bloom in this manure to become the terrors of the earth, Queen Margaret of Anjou, the “She-wolf of France” and “that bottled spider…”, Richard III.

The work of a young Shakespeare, this is a wild, bold, daring, dangerous feat of storytelling and is among his most illuminating and prescient creations. It is extravagant, violent, funny, fierce and very moving. It could be described as history’s greatest leadership spills. This is riotous summer entertainment at its best. Summer is coming!

“A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse” – whatever form of transport you can get your hands on, don’t miss this rare opportunity to see this extraordinary cycle featuring some of the best actors of Shakespeare in the country.

Director's Note

(No director's note available for this production)

Production Reviews

"Damien Ryan directs his adaptation with astonishing clarity and imagination. It is a herculean undertaking. At about four hours, the energy of these warring roses does not wilt"

"It’s a great opportunity to experience these treasures of the English canon properly contextualised"

"The Wars of the Roses is surprising. Volatile. Illuminating. Must-see"

Production Gallery

Photography by Seiya Taguchi

  • Abe Mitchell | Bagot, Westmoreland, Lancaster, Young Richard III

  • Adele Querol | Bess of Gloucester, Alice of France, Joan la Pucelle (of Orleans), Emmanuel the Clerk of Chatham College, Young Elizabeth becoming Queen to Henry VII

  • Bernadette Ryan | Earl of Worcester, Constable of France, Queen Elizabeth Grey

  • Berynn Schwerdt | Duke of York, Earl of Mortimer, King Charles of France, John Talbot, Jack Cade, Older King Edward IV

  • Brittanie Shipway | Bushy, Kate Percy, First Soldier of England, Tutor, Younger Lady Grey becoming Queen Elizabeth Grey

  • Bron Lim | Dame Joan Falstaff, Governor of Harfleur, Commander Clifford, Older Eleanor Duchess of Yor

  • Chantelle Jamieson | Isabel of Valois Queen of England, Nun of Gadshill, Duchess of Bedford, Young Clifford, Lady Anne becoming Queen to Richard III

  • Christopher Stalley | First Soldier of England, Doll Tearsheet, A Certain Lord, John Bates, King Henry VI, Richard Grey

  • Christopher Tomkinson | Chorus, Captain of Trees, The Douglas, Warwick the Kingmaker, Older George of Clarence

  • Damon Manns | Lord Aumerle of York, Ned Poins, Kylian (formerly Katherine) of Valois, Young John Talbot, Hume the Spy, Henry Tudor Earl of Richmond becoming King Henry VII

  • Drew Livingston | Green, Henry (Hotspur) Percy of Northumberland, Alencon, Younger George of Clarence, Lord Mayor of London, Man Who Had Fair Warning, Soldier with Bad Timing

  • Eloise Winestock | Henry (Hal) Monmouth becoming Queen Henry V

  • Emma Palmer | Henry Bolingbroke becoming Queen Henry IV, Orleans, Le Fer, Duchess of Buckingham

  • Francesca Savige | Soldier from Wales, Eleanor Duchess of York, Scrivener

  • James Lugton | Gardener, Northumberland, Nym, Professor of Ely, Court, Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, Catesby

  • John Turnbull | John of Gaunt the Duke of Lancaster, Bardolph, Old Mortimer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Smith, Farmer, Lord Stanley

  • Lizzie Schebesta | Ensign of France, Margaret of Anjou becoming Younger Queen Margaret of England, Ratcliffe

  • Max Ryan | Young Henry (Hotspur) Percy of Northumberland, Boy, Young Richard Plantagenet becoming Richard Duke of York, Child George of Clarence

  • Melanie Dobson | Rutland daughter to Richard Duke of York, Child Princess Elizabeth, Prince Edward of the Tower (almost) becoming King Edward V

  • Oliver Ryan | Edward of York leader of the vanguard at Battle of Agincourt, Child Edward of York becoming King Edward IV, Prince Edward of Anjou heir to King Henry VI

  • Terry Karabelas | Older Richard Duke of Gloucester becoming King Richard III

  • Thom Blake | Child Richard Duke of Gloucester, Child Henry Earl of Richmond, Young Prince Richard of the Tower

  • Wendy Strehlow | Bishop of Carlisle, Mistress Quickly, Soldier from the

  • Anna Gardiner | Set & Costume Design

  • Damien Ryan | Director, Adaptor & Set Design

  • Emma Paterson | Stage Manager

  • Francesca Savige | Assistant Director

  • James Brown | Composer and Sound Designer

  • Jessica Serio | Stage Manager

  • Matt Cox | Lighting Designer

  • Tim Dashwood | Fight Director

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