Something Else

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The Independent Culture
Barrie Rutter is not going to let anything as mundane as the weather get him down. 'Perhaps I should have gone for a date in May, but you can't refuse a gig at the Tower of London.' Ever since his company, Northern Broadsides, was chosen to mark Shakespeare's 430th birthday with Richard III, the first ever professional production in the Tower, Rutter has known that he might be in for a few logistical problems. Although the 500-seater auditorium is canopied, after such a wet April there is a distinct possibility that his opening 'winter of our discontent' speech will elicit titters from spectators. 'If it gets really silly then we'll stop, but otherwise Pacamacs will achieve a medieval demeanour.'

Northern Broadsides are used to playing in the wind and rain. Last year they took Richard III to a yacht repair shed, an underground railway viaduct and several cloth mills. Security arrangements aside, by comparison this will be a doddle. Situated opposite the East Gate, 'You look to your right and there's the White Tower, so when Queen Elizabeth says 'You stones look after my babies' and later when Richard tells Tyrrell to kill 'those bastards in the Tower', that's where they are. Hopefully there won't be a dry eye in the house.'

Richard III or no Richard III, the Tower community will stick to its timetable: ravens in bed by 7.30pm, key ceremony and last post by 9.45pm (about the time of the battle scene). So what if the piece is a PR exercise to publicize the partial transfer of the Royal Armouries to Leeds? As Richard falls on the cobbles from a pre-WWI warehouse trolley and cries 'A horse] A horse] My kingdom for a horse]' you'll know you're watching history in the making.

(Photograph omitted)