Leicester students to check out Richard III

Published: 15 March 2014
Reporter: Steve Orme

Richard III will be performed in two locations in Leicester

The University of Leicester’s theatre group, LUTheatre, is making a giant chess board to stage William Shakespeare’s Richard III—and is assembling a cast of 32 actors to represent its pieces.

LUTheatre is staging the production, endorsed by the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of its Open Stages scheme, and is the only university student group to take part.

Actors from LUTheatre have received on-site vocal training by RSC associate staff while the directors and designers received mentoring from members of the RSC’s team in Stratford.

Dr Roger Scoppie, LUTheatre manager and director of Richard III, said, “We don’t want our production to be tied to historical depictions of Richard III or conventional images of him informed by Tudor propaganda. So our Richard enters as the White King's Knight—staging the play on a chess board divorces it from its historical baggage.”

Richard Buckley, co-director of University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), who helped discover the remains of Richard III under a car park in Leicester city centre, said, “It’s fantastic to see a play about Richard that takes him out of time and frees him from historical bias.

“In the end the great thing about the Richard III dig was that the outcome proved so interesting to so many—Richard III’s story is a universal one of ambition, fallacy and human tragedy, just as relevant today as it was in Shakespeare’s time.”

LUTheatre will stage Richard III at Queen’s Hall, Students’ Union, University of Leicester from Thursday until Saturday (20 to 22 March) and in Leicester Cathedral from Wednesday until Friday, 2 to 4 April.

Tickets cost £10 and are available at the Embrace Arts web site.