Actors from Elysium Theatre Company sword fight on the Piazza 

University piazza transformed into Shakespearean battlefield

Two of Shakespeare's history plays will be staged outside at the University of Exeter’s new Piazza at 1.30 on Friday 22 and 11am and 3pm on Saturday 23 June.

Abridged versions of Henry IV Part 1 and Richard III form part of a series of productions performed by Elysium Theatre. 

The theatre company is comprised of University of Exeter Drama graduates and current students who have been awarded £5,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to stage Shakespeare’s entire medieval history cycle. It’s all part of The Wars of the Roses Project where the company will be performing five Shakespeare plays (including these productions) in their entirety at the National Trust’s Buckland Abbey on 11 and 12 August.

The plays to be performed on the Piazza follow the story of kings taking crowns by force. With a country on the brink of being torn apart by civil war, themes of friendship, loyalty and duty form the basis of Henry IV, and Richard III details the infamous story of the hunchbacked prince, tearing his way to the throne, destroying anyone in his path.

Nicola Pollard, Assistant Director, a postgraduate in drama, said: “In keeping with our living history theme, both productions feature tremendous sword fights, transforming the University Piazza into the battlefields of medieval England. We’re performing at a wide variety of venues this summer, each offering its own challenges and rewards. The company are looking forward to performing to a ‘home crowd’ on campus, and being one of the first to perform in this new space.”

The Wars of the Roses cast performed during the visit from Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh’s as part of the official opening of the Forum, the new development at the heart of the University’s Streatham Campus.

Tickets for the Exeter Piazza performances are £5/£4 (£8 for both plays on Saturday) and are available from the Northcott Theatre now (01392 493493). Patrons are advised to bring cushions, and are welcome to bring picnics.  


Date: 21 June 2012