Sheffield University Drama Society
The Rise and Fall of the House of York


The Rise and Fall of the House of York

Wednesday 7th November to Saturday 10th November 2012 in the Sheffield University Drama Studio at 7.30pm.

As part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Open Stages project, Shakespeare's Henry VI Part 3 and Richard III combine in a single drama covering the epic sweep of the Wars of the Roses. A unique and accessible adaptation of two of Shakespeare's most exciting plays.

Here is a rehearsal for one of the fights. More are available on YouTube.

Plot Summary

Henry VI is proving to be an ineffectual ruler. Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, asserts that he has a better claim to the throne. York's claim is disputed by rival nobles and the War of the Roses begins.

York is killed at the Battle of Wakefield. His sons swear revenge and, aided by the Earl of Warwick, defeat Henry and Queen Margaret's army at the Battle of Towton. Henry is deposed and York's eldest son is crowned Edward IV.

Queen Margaret asks Lewis XI, King of France, to support her cause while Warwick seeks the King's sister as a bride for Edward. Meanwhile, Edward has married Lady Elizabeth Grey, causing Warwick to transfer his allegiance to Queen Margaret and the House of Lancaster. Edward's youngest brother, Richard Duke of Gloucester, begins to covet the throne for himself, and George Duke of Clarence joins forces with Warwick.

Henry VI is restored to the throne. Clarence rejoins the Yorkist camp and the two armies meet again. Warwick is killed and Queen Margaret is defeated at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Henry VI is murdered in the Tower of London by Richard Duke of Gloucester and Queen Margaret is banished. The rule of the House of York appears secure.

Richard Duke of Gloucester plots to claim the throne and arranges for Clarence to be murdered. Queen Margaret returns from exile and warns of the threat posed by Richard. When Edward IV dies suddenly, Richard becomes Lord Protector and guardian of Edward's sons, the princes Edward and Richard. To secure his position, Richard marries Lady Anne, Warwick's daughter, and arranges for the murder of the princes in the Tower. With all obstacles out of his way, Richard becomes King.

Richard III's closest supporter, Buckingham, turns against him and raises an army with the Earl of Richmond. Buckingham is captured but Richmond's army meets Richard III's forces at the Battle of Bosworth. Richard is killed and Richmond is crowned Henry VII.

The Rise and Fall of the House of York