by William ShakespeareConceived and adapted by Graham Abbey Directors Weyni Mengesha & Mitchell Cushman
Richard II and Henry IV Part 1
Lust for power leads to political turmoil in this fast-paced new distillation of Shakespeare’s epic histories of a nation and its rulers – their lives, their battles and their deaths.
this epic drama on its own – or follow its exciting sequel in Breath of
Production support is generously provided by The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation and by Martie & Bob Sachs.Support for the 2016 season of the Tom Patterson Theatre is generously provided by Richard Rooney & Laura Dinner.
2016: Old Gardener, Sir John Falstaff in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Sir John Falstaff, Captain Fluellen in Breath of Kings: Redemption. 13th season. Stratford (selected): Cook (Mother Courage), Antony, Duke Vincentio, Leicester, Cymbeline, Malachi Stack, King Arthur, Falstaff, Stephano, Dylan Thomas, Julius Caesar, Bottom, Polonius, Henry Higgins, Henry V, Bassanio, Tom Fashion, D'Artagnan, Richmond, Edward IV, Hortensio, Antipholus of Syracuse, Pericles. Elsewhere: New York: King Lear (Lincoln Center); Poetic License (The Directors Company); Do Not Go Gentle (Clurman Theatre); Women Beware Women (Red Bull Theater). Canadian Stage's The Elephant Man; Shaw Festival, five seasons; Prospero, Richard III, Cyrano (Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.); Love's Labour's Lost (RSC); Hamlet, Henry VIII (Chichester Festival); An Enemy of the People (Lyric Hammersmith, London); two seasons as Theatr Clwyd's artistic associate (Welsh National Company). Film/TV (selected): ReGenesis, Murdoch Mysteries, 24, Slings and Arrows, Black Harbour, Airwolf, Forever Knight, American Psycho II, Hypercube, One of the Hollywood Ten, Conspiracy of Fear.
2016: Sir Henry Green, Ned Poins in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Prince Humphrey, Ned Poins, Constable of France, Francis Feeble in Breath of Kings: Redemption. 10th season. Stratford (selected): Biondello in The Taming of the Shrew, Williams in Possible Worlds, Scrub in The Beaux' Stratagem, Andrei in Three Sisters, Apollodorus in Caesar and Cleopatra, Roderigo in Othello and Flaminius in Timon of Athens. Elsewhere: Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood (Globe Theatre); Krogstad in A Doll's House (Montgomery/TNB). Film/TV: Dmitri in award-winning miniseries Fargo (season 1; Best Miniseries: Emmy, Golden Globe), Suits, Republic of Doyle, The Ron James Show, Warehouse 13, Lost Girl. Training: National Theatre School of Canada; Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre. Awards: Tyrone Guthrie Award (2003, 2007), John Hirsch Award (2004) and the inaugural recipient of the Richard Monette Travel Grant (2009).
2016: Sir Stephen Scroop, Sherriff, Blunt in Breath of Kings: Rebellion, Lord Chief Justice, Lady Northumberland, Alice in Breath of Kings: Redemption and understudy in John Gabriel Borkman. Fourth season. Stratford: Kate in The Little Years, Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew, Olga in Three Sisters. Elsewhere: Happy Place, The Gigli Concert (Soulpepper); How Do I Love Thee? (Canadian Rep); The Bakelite Masterpiece, The Little Years (Tarragon Theatre); Manon, Sandra and the Virgin Mary (Buddies in Bad Times); Escape from Happiness, Better Living, Fighting Words, The Glace Bay Miners' Museum (Factory Theatre); Age of Arousal (Alberta Theatre Projects); Possible Worlds, directed by Yoshi Oida (Canadian Rep). Film/TV: Cardinal, Rookie Blue, Reign (CTV); Murdoch Mysteries, Republic of Doyle (CBC); Carrie (MGM); Breakout Kings with Academy Award-winning director Gavin Hood (A&E). Awards: Dora Awards for Outstanding Performance in The Little Years (Tarragon), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Birdland Theatre), The Leisure Society (Factory Theatre). Dora nomination for How Do I Love Thee?
2016: John of Gaunt, Earl of Westmoreland in Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Earl of Westmoreland, Justice Silence in Breath of Kings: Redemption. 34th season. Stratford: Helicanus (The Adventures of Pericles), Doc (West Side Story), Slim (Of Mice and Men), Mr. Brownlow (Oliver!), Chorus Leader (Oedipus Rex), Cornwall (King Lear) at the Lincoln Center in New York and the title roles in Julius Caesar, Richard II and Henry VI. Elsewhere: He has appeared in theatres across Canada, most recently as Dr. Meade in the world première of Gone With the Wind at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (2013). Film/TV: His most recent film project is the part of Pontius Pilate in The Gospel of John. Et cetera: He lives in Stratford with his wife, Astrid.
Playwright: Macbeth, As You Like It and Breath of Kings.
Born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, William Shakespeare was the eldest son of John Shakespeare, a glover and tanner who rose to become an alderman and bailiff of the town, and Mary Arden, the daughter of a wealthy farmer. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but there is a record of his baptism at Stratford's Holy Trinity Church on April 26. Since an interval of two or three days between birth and baptism would have been quite common, tradition has it that he was born on April 23 - the same date as his death 52 years later.
The young Shakespeare is assumed to have attended what is now King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford, where he would have studied rhetoric, grammar and ancient Roman literature in its original Latin. In 1582, when he was 18, he married Anne Hathaway, a farmer's daughter who was eight years his senior. Anne was pregnant at the time, and the couple's first daughter, Susanna, was born a few months afterwards in 1583. Twins followed two years later: a son, Hamnet, who died at the age of 11, and a second daughter, Judith.
Nothing further is known of Shakespeare's life until 1592, by which time he was sufficiently established as an actor and writer in London to be the target of a literary attack by a jealous fellow playwright, Robert Greene. Soon afterwards, an outbreak of plague forced the temporary closure of the theatres, and Shakespeare turned his attention instead to his long narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. He also began writing the Sonnets, a series of 154 complex and often ambiguous poems on themes of love, jealousy and mortality.
By 1595, Shakespeare was back in the theatre, writing and acting for the Lord Chamberlain's Men. His income as one of London's most successful dramatists enabled him in 1597 to buy what was then Stratford's second-largest house, called New Place, and in 1599 he became a shareholder in London's newly built Globe Theatre.
In 1603, when James I had succeeded Elizabeth on the throne, Shakespeare's company was awarded a royal patent, becoming known as the King's Men. Meanwhile, the playwright continued his business dealings in Stratford and in London, where in 1613 he bought a property known as the Blackfriars Gatehouse. He is believed to have spent increasing amounts of his time in Stratford from around 1609 until his death on April 23, 1616. He is buried in the town's Holy Trinity Church.
Conceiver, adaptor and associate director of Breath of Kings.
Graham has been a member of the Stratford Festival acting Company for 18 seasons. He served as an assistant director on last season's production of The Alchemist and is a graduate of the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction.
He is the founder and Artistic Director of the Groundling Theatre Company, based in Toronto, and this past winter directed the company's inaugural production of The Winter's Tale at The Coalmine Theatre.
As a writer/creator, Graham has developed two television series with CBC and is currently working on an adaptation of Shakespeare's history cycle for a scripted television series.
Graham would like to dedicate this production to the memory of a great friend and mentor, Douglas Campbell, who led him through the streets of Eastcheap many moons ago.
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