Car park’s cutting-edge evidence used to restage the death of Richard III - as it really happened

The first major production of the play since the discovery of the king’s remains will use the new archaeological evidence on the stage

The “Crookback King” has been despatched on stages around the world for more than 400 years to Richmond’s merciless cry: “The day is ours, the bloody dog is dead.”

Now, for the first time since Shakespeare penned his masterpiece of Tudor propaganda, theatre audiences can witness the true – and no less brutal – circumstances of Richard III’s demise on Bosworth Field.

The first major production of the play since the identification of the Plantagenet’s remains in a Leicester car park this year will draw on the fresh archaeological evidence to create the most historically authentic denouement to Richard’s blood-soaked saga ever staged.

Loveday Ingram, who is directing the co-production between Nottingham Playhouse and York Theatre Royal, said Richard’s skeleton had revealed a number of vital clues.

“We now know exactly how he was killed,” she said. “What we are trying to do is reflect it as accurately as we can and re-enact it in a stylised way. We know he received a number of blows – two of which were fatal. One sliced through the top of his skull. The other was a stab wound which penetrated through the top of his skull,” Ms Ingram added.

The injuries also reveal the likely weapons used. It is believed that a halberd, an iron axe blade, removed the top of Richard’s head whilst a dagger punctured his brain – revealing that Richard was not wearing a helmet when he was slain. The angle of his injuries also suggests his assailants were mounted whilst he was on foot, demonstrating for once that Shakespeare was choosing to be historically authentic when he had the monarch shouting: “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”

Also reflected in the fight scene will be battlefield evidence which proves that artillery was deployed at Bosworth. “We have cannon and explosions because that is what would have happened,” said Ms Ingram, who is directing her husband Ian Bartholomew in the title role.

The DNA confirmation that the Leicester bones were those of Britain’s most controversial king has offered both historians and Shakespeare scholars a wealth of insight.

Professor Lin Foxhall, of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester which made the extraordinary find, said the re-evaluation of Richard had only just begun.

“For a long time people said he was a monster but now we are discovering from our find that he was a lot more complicated than that. We know he had a spinal deformity but he was not a hunchback. He was an active individual who was right there in the thick of things. He was keen on hunting and falconry but he was also physically quite slight. He might have looked a little bit girly and delicate in his features,” she said.

The bones have revealed that Richard suffered from adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which would have struck him from the onset of puberty causing him progressively more severe pain until his violent death aged 32. The condition could also have profoundly shaped his  personality, giving him a desire to prove himself in the deeply masculine and physical world of medieval power politics.

It has also been revealed he did not have a withered arm or a limp, trademarks of some of the hammiest – and greatest – stage depictions.

“If I was portraying Richard it would be a much more sympathetic Richard than Laurence Olivier’s. We can now see a much more complex character than the evil villain that Shakespeare produced,” said Professor Foxhall.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada