The familes of York & Lancaster: Richard III with Beyond the Horizon Theatre Company

England lies battered and scarred by years of conflict. The families of York and Lancaster have made their peace and are attempting to rebuild what remains of their country. But from the ashes of the recently-ended war, Richard of Gloucester rises to wreak more chaos…

Shakespeare’s Richard III depicts the rapid rise and fall of one of England’s most notorious rulers, through murder, betrayal, and insanity.

New company Beyond the Horizon Theatre present Richard III at the Swindon Arts Centre on Friday 24th March.  For our latest Inside Swindon Theatres Blog we spoke with Adam Lloyd-James from the company to find out about the company, what drew him to Richard III and more!

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Hi Adam, thank you for your time, Could you tell us about Beyond the Horizon Theatre Company?

Beyond The Horizon are a new company where our emphasis is on imaginative re-tellings of great stories. Our aim is to produce performances which blow audiences away – with acting of the highest standard and with adaptations that thrill and surprise. Richard III is our first show and has been brought together with actors, backstage, and technicians that have worked all over the world and in various media.

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Fasincating, it’s great to have a new company coming to the Swindon Arts Centre! What first drew you to Richard III?

Richard III has always been a subject of huge fascination for me. I first performed the play in 2012 and instantly fell in love with the character – specifically his appeal to an audience despite the absolute atrocities he commits. It is also a play that is very easy to adapt and modernise and has a lot of very, very strong characters that can be explored. It is one of Shakespeare’s longest plays so obviously cuts were necessary, but that has also given us a huge amount of options with regard to what direction we wanted to take the play in.

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Photo Credit: Beyond the Horizon Theatre Company

That sounds really interesting, What can audiences expect from your adaptation of Richard III?

Our Richard is brought into a modern-day dystopia, where war has descended into brawls and government into shambles. The play itself is set at the end of the hundred-year-war, with two royal families – the York’s and the Lancaster’s – locked in a battle for power. Expect chaos, power struggles, and back-stabbing. Think Mad Max meets a bad day at Glastonbury. Our version has been shortened to just under two hours and is much more concise than Shakespeare’s original full-blown version – it focuses on the relationships between the characters and Richard’s rapid rise to power and fall. It is suitable for both hardcore Shakespeare veterans and those who have never seen the Bard’s work in their lives – both have expressed to us how much they enjoyed it for different reasons. More than that though, audiences can expect to have a solid evenings entertainment! Critics have described our production as “ground-breaking”, “Stunning”, and “theatrical excellence” to name a few, so we must be doing something right!

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Photo Credit: Beyond the Horizon Theatre Company

Fantastic, it sounds wonderful! What is the enduring appeal of Richard III?

As mentioned before the character of Richard himself has an appeal. I suppose a modern-day equivalent would be Walter White from Breaking Bad – a character that does countless horrible things but with whom the audience identify with and support, leading themselves to question why they would be in favour of such a terrible human being. That’s an oversimplified way of putting it – but the point stands that both pieces of work make the audience question themselves in a way that few pieces of work can claim to do. The rapid pace of the play is also an appeal – the urgency in the piece is always high, there is always something happening, which is very alluring for an audience and for anyone producing the piece. And as mentioned before, the adaptability of the play is a huge positive.

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Photo Credit: Beyond the Horizon Theatre Company

What are the future plans for Beyond the Horizon?

More of the same! Hard-hitting, re-imagined performances of exceptional plays. We’re touring Richard III until the autumn and then begin rehearsals for our next project – I can’t reveal what this is yet but I can tell you it won’t be a Shakespeare piece – touring starting spring 2018. We’ll most certainly be returning to Shakespeare in the future (plans to tour Hamlet in 2019 are in the works) but for now we’ll be giving our audiences a change of pace…

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Richard III will be at the Swindon Arts Centre on Friday 24th March

For more information and to buy tickets please visit: http://bit.ly/RichardIIISAC

Follow Beyond the Horizon Theatre Company on Facebook & Twitter.

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