Richard II

2nd to 5th August
Directed by Amy Levene

For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison'd by their wives: some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd:
— Richard II, Act III Sc 2

Richard speaks with his Queen as he is led to the Tower of London


King Richard's cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, accuses Thomas Mowbray of plotting the death of Richard's uncle Gloucester. Richard exiles Bolingbroke, setting in motion a chain of events that throws a nation, and his family, into turmoil. As Bolingbroke returns to claim the throne for himself and recover his country, a struggle for power and loyalty begins.

Shakespeare's beautifully-written play offers a timely exploration of the fall and rise of power.

Accompanied by stunning live music, and performing in the magical surroundings of St Dogmaels Abbey, The Abbey Shakespeare Players were thrilled to present Richard II for the very first time in our thirty-year history.


Richard II evokes an opulent sound-world, by turns heraldic, liturgical, and vernacular. For deposed, captive Richard near the play's end, music and how we hear it are a metaphor for all that has gone wrong:

Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
When time is broke and no proportion kept!
So is it in the music of men's lives.
And here have I the daintiness of ear
To check time broke in a disorder'd string;
But for the concord of my state and time
Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
— Richard II, Act V, Sc 5

Richard Morris's original score combined instrumental and vocal music of the time with contemporary sounds in ways which support and illuminate Shakespeare's exploration of power, conspiracy and human frailty.

Richard looks into a mirror


Richard II, King of EnglandMatthew Bellwood
Queen, Richard's wifeKathryn Oliver
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, Richard's uncleRichard Carwardine
Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, Gaunt's sonJoe Kao
Duke of York, Richard's uncleRichard Mitchley
Duchess of YorkGeorgina Ferry
Duke of Aumerle, York's sonOscar Stafford
Duchess of Gloucester, widow of Duke of GloucesterLinda Kirk
Earl of NorthumberlandIan Wood
Thomas Mowbray, Duke of NorfolkJohn Holtorp
Duke of SurreyPhil Gerken
BushyEd Long
BagotJoel Pearcey
GreenTony Shepherd
Bishop of CarlisleGeoffrey Summers
Abbot of WestminsterLinda Kirk
Welsh CaptainRichard Carwardine
Lord RossHenry Morris
Lord WilloughbySimon Beattie
Lord FitzwaterWill Long
HeraldsAnn Christys, Ann Shepherd
GardenerRichard Carwardine
Prince Hal, Bolingbroke's sonGabriel Pearcey
Lady in Waiting, to the QueenJane Morris
Servant, to the Duke of YorkHermione Miltiadou
Groom, of Richard's stableFelix Power
Philippa, Bolingbroke's daughterCosima Pearcey


DirectorAmy Levene
Assistant DirectorsWill Long, Henry Morris
ComposerRichard Morris
Lighting Designer & Technical DirectorDavid Long
CostumesStephanie Ross
Musical AssociateHenry Ward
SoundDominic Hargreaves
Technical AssistantsPeter Oliver, Bernard Smith, Jerry Ross
Wardrobe AssistantsAnn Shepherd, Penny Miltiadou, Jilly Price
PropsPenny Miltiadou
Publicity DesignDaniel Clatworthy
Front of HouseJane Hall, Sue Jones, Janet Paynter
SetRobert Fitzmartin & Henry VIII


FluteEric Sheldon
RecorderAnn Christys
OboeSimon Denison
ClarinetsKaty Lawrence, Carwyn Thomas
BassoonAnne Startup
TrumpetsBen Richards, Dan Webster
PercussionAnn Christys, Oliver Llewellyn-Smith, Dan Webster
KeyboardJean Smith
SingersAnn Christys, John Holtorp, Ed Long, Jane Morris, Ann Shepherd, Tony Shepherd, Judy Williamson, Emily Williamson