Presented in English
The roof void of the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, Wales, as part of WOW Caerdydd 2016 (Women of the World Festival, Cardiff
February 1-20, 2016
A promenade performance of Henry VI performed by an all-female ensemble in the roof void of the Wales Millennium Centre, including impressive aerial circus skills. The production highlighted issues of power, trust, conflict and inequality in society and our responsibilities to future generations. It followed the success of Omizade Productions' 2015 all-female Richard III.
Omidaze Productions. A co-production with Wales Millennium Centre.
Executive Producer, Director & Script Editor: Yvonne Murphy
Producers: Catherine Paskell (Audience Engagement) & Sian Thomas (Production)
Set & Costume Design: Gabriella Slade
Lighting Design: El Higgins
Sound Design: Tic Ashfield
Circus Choreographer & Movement Director: Paul Evans
Voice & Text Coach: Jacqui Crago
Production Manager: Ange John
Company Stage Manager: Louise Rouse
Assistant Stage Manager: Carys McLiver
Audience Engagement Associate & Workshop Facilitator: Beth House
Workshop Facilitator & Documentary Voice Over: Dick Johns
On behalf of Wales Millennium Centre: Louise Miles-Crust, Martin Hunt, Jo Davies, Andrew Patterson, Sarah Gilbert & all the staff of WMC.
Ensemble: Suzanne Packer, Sioned Jones, Louise Collins, Hannah O'Leary, Alice White, Polly Kilpatrick, Lizzie Winkler and Shala Nyx
The Stage review (4 stars):
"Technically, Henry VI is astonishing, not least in the discomforting harmony between Tic Ashfield’s Lynchian score and Elanor Higgins’ nightmarish lighting. Gabriella Slade’s stripped-back set gives the production a timeless quality, enhancing the play’s overt nods to contemporary conflict."
"the all-female cast of eight give incredibly strong performances"
"In terms of innovation, the production really soars and Murphy deserves plaudits for attempting to present Shakespeare in such a bold and refreshing fashion. It’s a remarkable achievement, evidence of a director whose skill matches the daring of her vision." https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/2016/henry-vi-review-at-wales-millennium-centre-cardiff-ambitious-and-daring/
British Theatre Guide review:
"The evening begins with us being led by WMC staff up various staircases and (excitingly) through doors marked “No Unauthorised Access”, to the performance area, which resembles a hellish factory floor. The bleak industrial set is dressed by Gabriella Slade, as are the performers—in beautifully stylised fatigues, with either red or white armbands; and the ambience is enhanced by Tic Ashfield’s spine-chilling sound design.
It is made clear from the beginning that, rather than an attempt at a naturalistic production, this is about eight performers spinning a cautionary tale, with bloodshed symbolised by red confetti, dead bodies by piles of discarded clothing, and noticeably ramshackle crowns.
The headline “novelty” element is the fact that Henry VI is played by aerialist Hannah O’Leary, who delivers much of her dialogue from several metres in the air, dangling on ropes and curtains, sometimes imperious, sometimes playfully teasing her assembled aides (and the audience) by pretending to fall. Her physical elevation suggests not only the King’s noble birth but also the character’s moral superiority, since he is seen to be above the bickering, dishonesty and acquisitive war-mongering of all who surround him." http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/reviews/henry-vi-wales-millenniu-12523
BBC Shakespeare Lives feature: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3Tf1h4rlM2qlQsnSSfm11sm/equality-access-power
Arts Council of Wales feature:
Behind the Scenes:
Photos: Yvonne Murphy