Shakespeare's royal trilogy comes to Bath
Following the success of last year's staging of Henry V at Bath's Theatre Royal, the popular Globe Theatre returns to the city next week to perform all three plays which comprise William Shakespeare's Henry VI under their original titles – Harry the Sixth, The Houses of York & Lancaster and The True Tragedy of the Duke of York.
Overflowing with intrigue and violence, this was Shakespeare's first blockbuster history sequence and firmly established his reputation as one of the most popular playwrights of the Elizabethan age.
The three Henry VI plays are believed to have been written in 1591, and the first production of Henry VI is thought to have been performed at the Rose Theatre in 1592.
For those who enjoyed the productions of Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 in 2011's Peter Hall Company Season at the Theatre Royal Bath, and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre's production of Henry V, which toured to Bath last May, the trilogy of Henry VI plays will offer a fascinating opportunity to enjoy the historical sequel.
The Henry VI plays begin with the death of Henry V and together chart the entirety of his son's turbulent reign. They encompass the stories of the bewitching and enigmatic, Joan of Arc, who is burnt at the stake at the end of Harry the Sixth, and Jack Cade, whose short-lived peasant rebellion is depicted in The Houses of York & Lancaster.
Yet at the heart of all three plays is the lethal struggle between the houses of Lancaster and York, the two great factions in English politics.
The black comedy that builds with each reversal of power in The True Tragedy of the Duke of York ultimately sets the stage for the ascent of Shakespeare's demonic Richard III.
Although usually performed as a trilogy, the Henry VI plays were not intended as such.
During the week-long run in Bath from Tuesday to Saturday, Shakespeare's Globe will present each of the plays as stand-alone productions, emphasising their individual strengths and qualities, while also providing the opportunity to see all three staged chronologically in a single day on Saturday.
Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal's box office on 01225 448844 or online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk