Tom Mothersdale to star as Richard III in Headlong co-production at Bristol Old Vic

15 Oct 2018

A Headlong, Alexandra Palace and Bristol Old Vic co-production

with Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Oxford Playhouse
Richard III
By William Shakespeare
Directed by John Haidar
Designed by Chiara Stephenson
Lighting by Elliot Griggs and Sound & Composition by George Dennis
Friday 1 March to Saturday 9 March at Bristol Old Vic
(and returning Tuesday 2 April to Saturday 13 April) 

Wednesday 13 March to Sunday 31st March at Alexandra Palace Theatre
What do I fear? Myself?

John Haidar directs Tom Mothersdale as Shakespeare’s most notorious and complex villain, Richard III.  This inventive new staging is a co-production between Headlong, Alexandra Palace and Bristol Old Vic, with Royal & Derngate Northampton and Oxford Playhouse.

After decades of civil war, the nation hangs in the balance. Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to change the course of history.  Richard was not born to be a king, but he’s set his sights on the crown. So begins his campaign of deceit, manipulation and violence – and he’s killing it.  

Yet, behind his ambition lies a murderous desire to be loved.

The innovative staging is matched by an innovative co-producing model which sees Richard III open at the recently redeveloped Bristol Old Vic before transferring to London’s newly restored Alexandra Palace, which has been closed to the public for 80 years. Following the completion of its three-year East Wing Restoration Project, Richard III will be Alexandra Palace’s first ever co-production. It will then return to Bristol for a further two full playing weeks before travelling to Home in Manchester, Oxford Playhouse and Royal & Derngate Northampton.
Full casting will be announced shortly.

John Haidar is an Associate Artist at Headlong.  His theatre credits include Disco Pigs (Trafalgar Studios and Irish Repertory Theatre, New York); Mercury Fur, Saved (Guildhall); Last of the Boys (Southwark Playhouse); The Little Match Girl (Birmingham REP/UK Tour); The New Electric Ballroom (RADA); The Beauty Queen of Leenane, A Skull in Connemara, The Lonesome West (CAM FM); Macbeth (Cambridge American Stage Tour); The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Glass Menagerie (Corpus Playroom); Romeo and Juliet, The Alchemist (ADC Theatre).

As associate or assistant director, his credits include: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Harold Pinter Theatre); Common, The Plough and the Stars(National Theatre); I See You (Royal Court); Photograph 51 (Noël Coward Theatre); The Changeling, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare’s Globe).

Jeremy Herrin, Artistic Director of Headlong, said, ‘Headlong is delighted to present Shakespeare’s enduringly vivid and pertinent enquiry into power. The production promises to be an investigation of the mind of a tyrant; and with Tom Mothersdale in the title role, and directed by the talented John Haidar, it promises to be a deeply engaging event. 

It’s so wonderful to be returning to Bristol Old Vic to continue our joyous association, and to work for the first time with the admirable Royal and Derngate, Northampton; and before happily returning to Headlong’s roots at Oxford Playhouse, it will be an honour to be the first show at the gloriously refurbished Alexandra Palace. 

Headlong has always backed the boldest of a new generation of directors and I’m delighted to be able to do so with such a stellar cast and creative team, with one of the best political plays, in the most appropriately atmospheric spaces in the country. 

Tom Morris, Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, said, ‘We’re thrilled to be building on our partnership with Associate Company Headlong and all our collaborators, through this premiere of a modern psycho-drama of a power-crazed outsider, entirely carried by the timeless language of Shakespeare. John Haidar is a young director with a talent for visionary storytelling. His interpretation of the most notorious King in British history, together with Tom Mothersdale as Richard, Duke of York, is already hotly anticipated and we can’t wait to welcome them to Bristol.”

Louise Stewart, Chief Executive of Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust, said: “It is hugely exciting to be welcoming back Shakespeare to Alexandra Palace Theatre. To do so with such established and renowned peers, Headlong and Bristol Old Vic, is a real statement of intent for the venue. This is a bold partnership and I have no doubt that this beautifully preserved, reawakened space will provide the perfect backdrop for Headlong’s distinctive style.”

James Dacre, Artistic Director, Royal & Derngate said "We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Headlong and Alexandra Palace for the first time and to be reuniting with our regular partners Bristol Old Vic and Oxford Playhouse to enable John Haidar - a brilliant young Midlands director with great flair for epic storytelling - to make his main-stage debut with a play so pertinent to the history of our region.” 

Laura Elliot, Programme Director, Oxford Playhouse said ‘We are delighted to be associate producers on what we know will be an exhilarating new version of Richard III with a stunning cast and creative team. Headlong have over a 40 year history with Oxford Playhouse, with their roots as Oxford Stage Company and we are thrilled to be partnering with them again as part of our theatre’s 80th birthday celebrations.  

Bristol Old Vic is the longest continuously running theatre in the UK, and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2016. The historic playhouse aims to inspire audiences with its own original productions, both at home and on tour, whilst nurturing the next generation of artists, whether that be through their 350-strong Young Company, their many outreach and education projects or their trailblazing artist development programme, Bristol Ferment.

They use their funding to support experiment and innovation, to allow access to their programme for people who would not otherwise encounter it, or be able to afford it, and to keep their extraordinary heritage alive and animated.

On 24 Sep 2018, Bristol Old Vic completed its 2-year multi-million pound redevelopment project, which transformed its front of house space into a warm and welcoming public building for all of Bristol to enjoy, created a new studio theatre and opened up its unique theatrical heritage to the public for the first time.

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