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Monologue on Richard III at Lichfield Cathedral

On Richard III’s birthday (October 2), Dr Gareth Williams, curator of the British  Museum, is going to deliver a monologue on Richard at Lichfield Cathedral. Dr Williams also is a director of research at Tutbury Castle, which has connections to both George of Clarence and Richard.

Obviously I don’t know what kind of Richard will be presented here, good, bad or indifferent…but if you don’t like the content of the monologue, the cathedral is well-worth a visit in itself. It is one of England’s oldest religious foundations but it is also the cathedral that suffered the most during the Civil War, which required much rebuilding.

The history of Lichfield Cathedral, with its three spires–the three Ladies of the Vale:



Another famous Shakespearean Richard from the past….

Garrick as Richard III

David Garrick was an 18th century actor whose name is still synonymous with the Shakespearean roles he performed. Raised in Lichfield, he had intended to be a lawyer but was instead drawn into the theatre

AT THE age of 24, David Garrick made his stage debut in Ipswich and only a few months later took the title role in Richard III at a small theatre in the unfashionable East End of London. His performance was so electrifying that crowds flocked to see him and his success was assured. Within a few years he had moved to the Drury Lane theatre in central London where he became actor-manager until his retirement in 1776.

Garrick’s style of acting did not rely on simply declaiming the lines so they could be clearly heard at the back of the theatre, but in a much more naturalistic style using variations in tone of voice, expression and gesture.

His performance as Richard III was preserved in the painting by William Hogarth. The original is now at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, but it was widely reproduced as an engraving. This Victorian figure, pictured, is copied from the painting, and was made by an unknown Staffordshire factory. It shows Richard III, the night before the Battle of Bosworth, having woken from a nightmare in which he was haunted by the ghosts of those he had “murdered”.

From The Sentinel, 5th February 2016

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