Southwark Playhouse Elders Company and Shakespeare's Globe present
by William Shakespeare
Southwark Playhouse Elders Company presents a one-hour version of Shakespeare’s great (and topical) history play HENRY V.
This is the one with “O for a Muse of Fire,” “Once more into the breach dear friends, once more”, and “Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George,” and other very famous lines. It centres around the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Henry himself was King from 1413 to 1422, and was only 36 when he died.
But the play is not all patriotism and testosterone – there is comedy, pathos, and even romance as the young Henry fulfils his destiny and becomes a real pre-Renaissance prince.
This play dates from 1599, a year before Hamlet, whose prince goes through a fairly similar journey, only to die too young. In 1599 the audience didn’t know when the long reign of Queen Elizabeth would come to an end (we know it was to be in 1603), so one of the great preoccupations of the time was the question, “what happens after……”
The Epilogue to the play shows how easy it is for things to fall apart after the reign of “this star of England.”
Alongside this performance, the company are staging Act IV scenes 1 – 3 at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse on Thursday 11 July at 2.30 and 6.30 as part of OUR THEATRE, a project dear to the heart of Shakespeare’s Globe’s founder, Sam Wanamaker.
It brings together casts from three south London schools, St Thomas the Apostle College, Harris Girls’ Academy Dulwich, and Tuke School, with the Globe’s own Southwark Youth Theatre and ourselves in a community celebration of Shakespeare.
John McRae (Southwark Playhouse)
Kate Webster (Shakespeare’s Globe)
Assistant fight director
Shakespeare’s Globe Education
Canterbury/M. le Fer
Governor of Harfleur/Orleans