Part comedy, part history, part tragedy, Shakespeare’s first masterpiece chronicles the irresistible rise of the Duke of Gloucester and his insatiable desire for power.
With longtime company member Kurt Rhoads at the helm, Shakespeare’s “crookback prodigy” will be the kind of villain you love to hate. Watch as Richard schemes and seduces his way to the throne, letting nothing but his own ambition get in his way.
Explore the Story
As RICHARD III opens, Richard is Duke of Gloucester and his brother, Edward IV, is king. Richard is eager to clear his way to the crown. He manipulates Edward into imprisoning their brother, Clarence, and then has Clarence murdered in the Tower. Meanwhile, Richard succeeds in marrying Lady Anne, even though he killed her father-in-law, Henry VI, and her husband.
When the ailing King Edward dies, Prince Edward, the older of his two young sons, is next in line for the throne. Richard houses the Prince and his younger brother in the Tower. Richard then stages events that yield him the crown.
After Richard’s coronation, he has the boys secretly killed. He also disposes of Anne, his wife, in order to court his niece, Elizabeth of York. Rebellious nobles rally to Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond. When their armies meet, Richard is defeated and killed. Richmond becomes Henry VII. His marriage to Elizabeth of York ends the Wars of the Roses and starts the Tudor dynasty.
Summary Courtesy of Folger Shakespeare Library.
And thus I clothe my naked villany, With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ; And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.Richard III Act 1, Scene III