Richard II: Meet the directors

Every single person associated in this company is a woman of colour. Lovely! All the actors, stage management, the directors, the designers… We are all women of colour. The first time this has even been done on a major UK stage. So, we’re doing Richard II at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. When is our production happening in terms of the politics of the nation? So we will be performing on the night that the UK leave the European Union. So we will literally be performing when Brexit is happening, which is another reason why we’re doing this version of this story – isn’t it, Adjoa? It’s a state of the nation play about England. Yes! So it’s very interesting because it’s a play that asks ‘what does it mean to be English?’ and ‘what is the state of the country?’ And in the play, the state of the country was that it was divided, really divided politically, and mmm that’s a bit like now. And what’s interesting about our all women of colour production is we’ve said… ‘Mmm the flag of England, who does it belong to in the nation?’ And our suggestion might be that it belongs to the whole nation. Everybody that built it, and so for once we thought we’d tell the story of England with the people who are generally considered to be at the bottom of the building heap, which is people of colour and women, so we went – women of colour! So that’s what we’re doing! [Laughs] That’s what we’re doing! And what sort of audience would we like to come to this production? We would like everybody to come. It’s so important that we get people from across the country to come and see our version of this show. But particularly people that haven’t been to the Globe before, particularly people that haven’t been in this space before. And people who might be intimidated by the idea of a Shakespeare play. Exactly! So I find Shakespeare scary as a director, and that’s why I’m doing it with you and learning so much from you, and it’s so important that if Shakespeare is something that you’re like ‘Mmm – no…’ you come and see our version of it, because it is literally for everybody. So how does it feel to be actually playing Richard and co-directing the show? Well it’s tricky, isn’t it? So I thought to myself, that sounds like a crazy thing to do, you can’t do both! So I thought rather than direct and play Richard and go mad, I thought why don’t you direct and play Richard but co-direct with the person who you think is one of the best directors in the country. That’s nice, thank you. Get off! [Laughs] [Lively violin music plays ] I think we make a good team… This is a ‘team’! No, don’t do that… OK

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