Synopsis:

Shortly after he has become king, Henry V seeks advice from the Church regarding his claim to rule France as well as England. His mind is finally made up to wage war when he receives an insulting “gift” from the Dauphin, reminding Henry of his wild rebellious youth (as Prince Hal).

The king’s former companions from his days in the Eastcheap tavern hear of the death of Sir John Falstaff from Hostess Quickly. Putting their quarrels aside, they decide to join Henry’s army. The King, meanwhile, has to crush an assassination plot within his own ranks, after three nobles colluded with the French.

In France, the Dauphin is belittling Henry’s strength. The English ambassadors arrive to argue Henry’s claim to the crown. However, the King is already in France and soon after he besieges and takes the town of Harfleur. 

-INTERVAL –

The French remain undaunted and prepare to regroup and retaliate.

Princess Katherine begins to learn English with her companion, Alice. (If Henry is victorious, it is likely she will become Queen of England).

The campaign and dire weather have taken their toll: the English army is disheartened, sick and heavily outnumbered. But Henry rejects the French herald’s offer of a ransom and the two armies prepare to fight. The evening before the battle, Henry tours the camp in disguise, to gauge his men’s morale. In the French camp, by contrast, confidence is high and the conversation boastful.

Henry rouses his troops with an appeal to their unity and sense of “Englishness”. He rejects a final French plea for his ransom, and The Battle of Agincourt is fought. Despite the odds, an English victory is confirmed, with miraculously small losses. As part of the subsequent treaty, Henry woos and wins Katherine to ensure the peaceful link of the “contending kingdoms” England and France through marriage.

Henry V Poster

Cast:

CHORUS

 

The English Side
KING HENRY V
Duke of EXETER, the king’s uncle
Duke of YORK, the king’s cousin
Earl of WESTMORLAND
Archbishop of CANTERBURY
Bishop of ELY
Richard, Earl of CAMBRIDGE
Henry, Lord SCROOP of Masham
Sir Thomas GREY
Corporal NYM
Lieutenant BARDOLPH
Ancient PISTOL
HOSTESS QUICKLY, married to Pistol
BOY, previously page to Falstaff
Sir Thomas ERPINGHAM
Captain FLUELLEN, a Welshman
Michael WILLIAMS
HERALD

The French Side
KING OF FRANCE
Louis, the DAUPHIN, his son and heir
KATHERINE, his daughter
ALICE, Katherine’s lady-in-waiting
CONSTABLE of France
MONTJOY, the French Herald
GOVERNOR of Harfleur
Duke of BOURBON
Duke of ORLEANS
Lord RAMBURES
Duke of BURGUNDY

Harriet Benson
Michelle Fahrenheim
Sophie Wilkinson


Harrison Rose
Chris Hollis
Adam Tutt
Amy Allen
Simon Mackarness
Jon-Paul Rowden
Susie Coutts
Michelle Fahrenheim
Sam Hollis
Adam Young
Sophie Wilkinson
David McCarthy
Harriet Benson
Twyla Doone
Simon Mackarness
Jon-Paul Rowden
Susie Coutts
Crispin Glancy
 


Ed Taylor-Gooby
Freddie Hill
Twyla Doone
Katie Solly
Maximilian Marston
Sam Hollis
Maximilian Marston
Sam Hollis
Susie Coutts
Sophie Wilkinson
Harriet Benson

 

Cast:

CHORUS

 

The English Side
KING HENRY V
Duke of EXETER, the king’s uncle
Duke of YORK, the king’s cousin
Earl of WESTMORLAND
Archbishop of CANTERBURY
Bishop of ELY
Richard, Earl of CAMBRIDGE
Henry, Lord SCROOP of Masham
Sir Thomas GREY
Corporal NYM
Lieutenant BARDOLPH
Ancient PISTOL
HOSTESS QUICKLY, married to Pistol
BOY, previously page to Falstaff
Sir Thomas ERPINGHAM
Captain FLUELLEN, a Welshman
Michael WILLIAMS
HERALD

The French Side
KING OF FRANCE
Louis, the DAUPHIN, his son and heir
KATHERINE, his daughter
ALICE, Katherine’s lady-in-waiting
CONSTABLE of France
MONTJOY, the French Herald
GOVERNOR of Harfleur
Duke of BOURBON
Duke of ORLEANS
Lord RAMBURES
Duke of BURGUNDY

Harriet Benson
Michelle Fahrenheim
Sophie Wilkinson


Harrison Rose
Chris Hollis
Adam Tutt
Amy Allen
Simon Mackarness
Jon-Paul Rowden
Susie Coutts
Michelle Fahrenheim
Sam Hollis
Adam Young
Sophie Wilkinson
David McCarthy
Harriet Benson
Twyla Doone
Simon Mackarness
Jon-Paul Rowden
Susie Coutts
Crispin Glancy
 


Ed Taylor-Gooby
Freddie Hill
Twyla Doone
Katie Solly
Maximilian Marston
Sam Hollis
Maximilian Marston
Sam Hollis
Susie Coutts
Sophie Wilkinson
Harriet Benson

 

The Battle of Agincourt

On 25th of October, 1415, the feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, Henry led his small, exhausted English army against the might of the French at Agincourt.  An estimated 5,000-6,000 English troops opposed a massive French army of 50,000-60,000.

The English advanced first. Henry’s strategy was to fight where the field narrowed between two woods, to prevent the French from outflanking him. It was rumoured that the French intended to cut off the first and second right-hand fingers of every captured archer to prevent them from being able to use a bow. The English archers raised those two fingers to the advancing French as a gesture of defiance.

The French cavalry advanced through the muddy ground, but the English had planted six-foot stakes before them, so they were forced to retreat in front of their own men-at-arms, who were struggling across the muddy field.

The massive French army was hemmed into a small space with disastrous results. Unable to rise in heavy armour, men who fell to the ground in the crush were suffocated in their own armour. French casualties were enormous. The French knights tried to rally and attempt a further charge but realised further resistance was hopeless.

Henry had won a spectacular and glorious victory against all odds. Returning to England in November, the Londoners gave a rapturous welcome to their hero king and Henry’s popularity reached its zenith.

CEG 2018

Gallery

Revered king or ruthless warmonger?

In Henry IV, Shakespeare gave us a feckless Hal who matures into the politically astute, charismatic monarch “history” has painted since: the winner of significant battles like Agincourt in the course of his rightful claim to the French crown.  In reality it seems that the king who founded monasteries, went on pilgrimages and contributed to the building of Westminster Abbey was never the roistering Cheapside “lad” Shakespeare made him, but a consistently pious and often ruthless character, determined to shore up his claim to the French throne by forcing the French into battle through ambassadorial goading. (And later despatching thousands of prisoners at Agincourt and Caen). By demonstrating his prowess over the French, he could show that his claim was “God’s will” whilst nipping in the bud any local conspiracies against his dynasty. Besides, English history shows that there is nothing quite so unifying as a battle cry against the French.

The myth has of course been given greater credence by depictions of Henry V over the years. Despite his ships bearing the motto “une sanz pluis” (“one and no more”) most theatre and film versions have depicted not a cruel autocrat but a noble leader flying justified colours; brave in battle, charming in courtship. Laurence Olivier’s 1944 film gave a black & white war-torn Britain a rousing technicolor and beautifully articulated escapist rallying call. In days of rationing, including clothing, the film must have been – and still is – a visual feast. Because of the frequent air-raids, Olivier shot the battle scenes in Ireland, and with neat synchronicity the film was released just after D-Day. But even the few less attractive elements of Shakespeare’s Henry were trimmed to ensure the film’s effectiveness as a propaganda tool.

The young Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 version restored many of these darker elements, splashing mud over Olivier’s colours. And so we see a grittier depiction of war and its effects: notably in the lingering shot of Henry carrying the body of a young boy across the battlefield. (Film buffs might also spot a young Christian Bale as Falstaff’s Boy). Whereas Olivier’s film is all colour-drenched longshots, Branagh’s is mostly shot in muted grey close-ups: there is more emphasis on Henry the man, bowed by the demands of kingship, treachery and war. Branagh had already played the King in his RSC debut, and was clearly revelling not only in his role as the Olivier actor-director of his generation, but also in allowing the camera intimate access into the King’s thoughts and feelings. 

Every Shakespeare production, even of the History plays, reflects to a degree contemporary attitudes, for instance to war or the nature of monarchy. And so it is fitting that in this production, nearly a hundred years after the end of WW1, the Prologue asks us to imagine as our theatre of war the “Wooden O”, recycled as the duckboards, trenches and shattered landscape of the “Great War”. Perhaps too much history has passed for us to separate the myths and realities of Henry’s real character.  But, whoever the enemy and whatever the era, the threat and impact of war have very shallow graves.

CJH 2018

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Production:

Producers
Director
Movement Director
Associate Movement Director
Assistant Director

Composer/Musical Director
Costume Designer
Technical Director

Stage Manager
Deputy Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Technical ASM

Wardrobe Mistress
Deputy Wardrobe Mistress

Production Carpenter
Graphic Designer
Production Photography
Art Department

Front of House Manager
Bar Manager
Box Office Manager

Clare Glancy and Lucy Hollis
Jake Smith
Chris Cuming
Scott Hunter
Sam Gaffney

David Barton
Nicole Small
William Glancy

Amanda Kerstein
Matthew Cruddace
Daisie Langford
Jude Wilson

Eve Oakley
Eleanor Banasik

Spatz Crawford
Abigail Glancy
Jessica Marsh
Tom Harwood

Rachel Gorvin
Sally Thomas
Freya Hollis

Production:

Producers
Director
Movement Director
Associate Movement Director
Assistant Director

Composer/Musical Director
Costume Designer
Technical Director

Stage Manager
Deputy Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Technical ASM

Wardrobe Mistress
Deputy Wardrobe Mistress

Production Carpenter
Graphic Designer
Production Photography
Art Department

Front of House Manager
Bar Manager
Box Office Manager

Clare Glancy and Lucy Hollis
Jake Smith
Chris Cuming
Scott Hunter
Sam Gaffney

David Barton
Nicole Small
William Glancy

Amanda Kerstein
Matthew Cruddace
Daisie Langford
Jude Wilson

Eve Oakley
Eleanor Banasik

Spatz Crawford
Abigail Glancy
Jessica Marsh
Tom Harwood

Rachel Gorvin
Sally Thomas
Freya Hollis