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Stunning Globe Theatre Performance at St Albans Cathedral

Mon, 12 August 2013

On Sunday 11th August, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre performed Henry VI to a sell-out audience outside the West End of St Albans Cathedral.

The Cathedral provided a stunning backdrop and an enthralled audience watched the Globe’s acclaimed performances from early afternoon through till dark.

The three plays that make up Henry VI were staged outside at the West End as part of a series of open air performances at Wars of the Roses battlefields. This was an unprecedented theatrical event, exploring the links between English history, English literature and English landscape.

A leading character in the plays is Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, uncle of King Henry VI, Lord Protector during Henry’s minority and a close friend of the Abbot of St Albans, John Wheathampstead. Duke Humphrey requested to be buried in St Albans Abbey near the shrine of Saint Alban, his favourite saint, and his sudden death in mysterious circumstances in 1447 is recorded in the play. Other scenes in St Albans vividly describe the first battle of the Wars of the Roses which took place here in 1455. The dead were buried in the Lady Chapel of the Abbey and in St Peter’s churchyard.

A Globe spokesperson said, "Performing Henry VI in the shadows of St Albans Cathedral was a spectacular and moving experience. The relationship between history, literature and landscape ever-evident as the plays unfolded and referenced the Battle of St Albans and the people who fought there. We were delighted about the enthusiasm of the audience whose excitement and energy was tangible throughout the day."

Richard Watson, Sub Dean of St Albans Cathedral, said, “It has been an incredibly busy weekend, with sold out ‘battlefield performances’ of Henry VI outside the West End of the Cathedral, as well as hundreds of visitors coming to see Magna Carta. The performances by the The Globe were fantastic, but a very special moment was when I was able to show Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (played by Garry Cooper) his own tomb in the Cathedral. And of course as well as the weekend’s special events there was the usual routine of prayers, visitors, pilgrimages, and a wedding! It was a great example of how we can engage creatively with our past heritage, and at the same time be a living Christian community today.”

Tickets are still available for the final Battlefield Perfomance which takes place at Barnet on 24th August. Day tickets £45 Box Office 020 7401 9919 www.shakespearesglobe.com

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