Personal tools

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


You are here: Home / Offices / Press Office / Press Releases / 2016 / March / College rewrites Shakespeare's Richard III to include the modern day discovery of the King's remains - a tribute on the one year anniversary of the Last Plantagenet's reinterment

College rewrites Shakespeare's Richard III to include the modern day discovery of the King's remains - a tribute on the one year anniversary of the Last Plantagenet's reinterment

Posted by pt91 at Mar 11, 2016 02:24 PM |
Students at London's Eltham College have added scene depicting the University of Leicester's Greyfriar's dig

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 11 March 2016

  • Performance takes place tonight (Friday 11 March) at Eltham College
  • The young performers said they wanted to make Richard III “as slimy and evil as possible”
  • Scenes included a replica of King Richard's new coffin and a mock of the Leicester car park where his bones were unearthed in 2012

Photographs of the sets and actors are available to download from:

A contemporary take on Shakespeare's Richard III which includes scenes depicting University of Leicester archaeologists is to be performed today (Friday 11 March).

Youngsters from Eltham College, in Mottingham, south east London, will stage the classic Bard's tale and include sequences from the University's remarkable Greyfriars project.

A cast of 22 students aged between 14 and 18-years-old will don medieval dress as well as modern day costumes, transforming them into archaeologists, to deliver their take on the classic 17th century play.

The purpose built set includes a replica of the coffin used to rebury the Plantagenet monarch, the council car park where the bones were unearthed in the summer of 2012, and the University's Fielding Johnson Building where the king's identity was confirmed during a gripping press conference in February 2013.

The college's director in residence Jack Miller, who adapted the play, said: “The premise is that an archaeologist working on the dig is reading Shakespeare’s Richard III.

“The play is subsequently acted out in her mind, with actors wearing period costume to create a contrast between the present day setting and the fictional play she is imagining.

“We do not feature any specific members of the University team.

“Instead, I have created two fictional archaeologists named simply Archaeologist 1 and Archaeologist 2.

“To a certain extent, these characters are amalgamations of various people.

“I drew inspiration from watching documentaries such as Channel 4’s The King in the Car Park and by visiting the ‘Richard III Visitor Centre’ on the site of the dig in Leicester.

“However, I wanted to retain a degree of artistic license and, therefore, the two characters are ultimately fictional."

It comes as the University prepares to mark the one year anniversary of the reinterment which took place at Leicester Cathedral on Thursday 26 March.

The college's new version includes seven modern day scenes, titled Prologue, Discovery, Removal, Analysis, Confirmation, Reburial and Epilogue.

They cover every aspect of the Greyfriar's project from the moment Richard's skeleton is first uncovered to the global press conference, where the skeleton's regal identity was announced to the world.

Jack said: “For this scene, I was able to borrow the official University of Leicester banners used at the real press conference.

“Reburial represents the service of interment at Leicester Cathedral.

“For this scene, our drama technician Phil Russell has created a replica of Richard’s coffin complete with a laser-etched plaque.

“The Prologue and Epilogue serve as the outer shell of the production, when Archaeologist 1 starts, and finishes, reading the play.

“These two scenes also allow our archaeologists to discuss the play, its legacy and Richard’s true nature in order to provoke our audiences to form their own opinions.”

Jack, who visited Leicester for inspiration in 2015, added the new contemporary twist to a revised version of the script – which had to be cut down by half in order to accommodate the new scenes.

The students are staging their alternative Shakespearean play twice at the college's Antony Barnard Hall – once on Thursday night (10 March) and again tonight (11 March).

Performer Izzie Tyner, 16, who played Archaeologist 1, said: “I have learned a lot more about the events of the discovery of Richard III.

“For instance, I didn't realise that the remains were discovered so soon after the dig began.

“It was also very exciting to be able to act out the press conference scene with the University of Leicester banners that were used during the real press conference.

“I found it interesting to contrast the Shakespeare play with the modern day scenes because it makes you think about the wider issues, such as how Richard is judged and whether or not the play is just Tudor propaganda.”

Her fellow performer, Morgan Beale, 18, who had the star role of King Richard III, added: "Playing Richard has been an incredible experience for me.

“We decided from the outset that we wanted to make him as slimy and evil as possible.

“It's a fictional character, not the real Richard, so I had lots of fun creating this monstrous villain.”


Notes to editors:

For more information, contact Jack Miller on

Share this page: