Short Film Launch: The Sacred King

6th February 2019

Having been crowned at the age of 10, crushed the Peasant’s Revolt, feuded with his powerful uncles, been humiliated by his council and deposed by his own cousin, the former King Richard II finds himself imprisoned at Pontefract Castle. Having fallen from the heights of glorious majesty to the bottom of society, he comes to terms with his own humanity in this final speech of Shakespeare’s beautiful play.

Experience Shakespeare’s moving prison speech at the original historic site at Pontefract Castle and gain a more intimate insight into the king’s thoughts than a stage performance would allow.

This project is a filmed version of the often called ‘prison speech’ within William Shakespeare’s history tragedy Richard II, taken from the beginning of Act 5, Scene 5. The scene of the king’s final speech is set at Pontefract Castle II and has never before been filmed at the historic site. Bronzehead Theatre, under the direction of Tom Straszewski, performed the entire play at the castle in summer 2015, with Mark Burghagen as Richard II.

The short film is intended as a stand-alone piece, aiming to make a wider audience aware of the fairly unknown connection between Shakespeare, Richard II and Pontefract Castle.

The Sacred King has been directed by Yvonne Morley (RSC, The Globe Theatre, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre), filmed by Ben Porter (, performed by Mark Burghagen (BBC, Opera North, York Mystery Plays) with music by Shakespeare contemporary John Dowland, performed by two internationally renowned musicians, the tenor John Potter and lutenist Jacob Heringman.

Launch date: 14th February 2019 (the supposed date of Richard II’s death) Screening: TBC

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