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Richard III Through a New Lens

Sixth Form

28 April 2023

On 20 April, the A-level English classes departed from New Street to Liverpool in anticipation. Upon our arrival we made the 15 minute walk towards the Maritime Museum.  The museum provided us with an insight to the British role in the slave trade and the evolution of prejudice up until the Black Lives Matter movement. An interesting addition to the contents of the exhibition was a genuine 1920’s Klu Klux Klan uniform, a shocking artefact which made us all wonder who donated it. The group stopped outside the museum, taking a break for lunch next to the River Mersey. By 12:50 we were ready to walk to the Everyman theatre for the 13:30 showing of Richard III, an A-level Shakespeare text. 

The production itself was an interesting reimagining of the classic Shakespeare play, substituting Richard’s ableist abuse for racial prejudice. Adjoa Andoh, known for her roles in Bridgerton and Dr Who, was simultaneously the director of this production and the actress playing Richard. She set the play to reflect her own upbringing in the 1960s, as one of the only people of colour in the Cotswolds. We noticed that the surrounding cast were all white, a way to highlight Richard’s ‘otherness.’ 

The beginning soliloquy set the overall tone of the play as a whole, the latter half of the monologue delivered as a sung chorus, performed by the rest of the cast as they danced around Adjoa. Adjoa’s entertaining interpretation of ‘Richard III’ enabled a critical insight from the A-level students. The production seemed to have many ideas, however at times they struggled to get across a clear message. Adjoa’s Richard was certainly more reflective of her own life over Shakespeare’s traditional depiction of the charismatic character. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to watch this renowned play live in theatre. 

Thank you to Mrs Park and Mrs Norman for shepherding us all the way to Liverpool!

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