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Students to visit site of Richard III’s death and learn Shakespearean stage fighting

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Students to visit site of Richard III’s death and learn Shakespearean stage fighting

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Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education and also in Communities

University of Leicester students will visit the site of Richard III’s death and learn the art of Shakespearean stage fighting on Thursday, March 14.

First-year students who have been studying Shakespeare’s Richard III as part of their English degree will perform the final duel between Richard and Henry VII at the site of the Battle of Bosworth - the final battle of the Wars of the Roses.

A group of 40 students will be given a workshop by East Midlands-based theatre companies 1623 and Lostboys on combining Shakespeare’s words with a choreographed combat routine.

They will also learn more about Shakespeare’s historical sources for his play – and will gain an exciting insight into the University’s Search for Richard III.

Students will travel to Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park, near Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, and will arm themselves with mock swords for the workshops between 10.45am and 2.30pm.

The day was organised by Dr Sarah Knight and Dr Mary Ann Lund, of the University’s School of English.

The pair recently produced an article for the Times Literary Supplement charting the evolution of descriptions of Richard III as a “hunchback” in light of the discovery of Richard III’s scoliosis by University of Leicester archaeologists. Given the archaeological dig and subsequent discoveries the Bosworth trip has proved very popular among students, and the opportunity to visit the battle site is clearly of great interest given what has been found in Leicester this year.

Organiser Dr Sarah Knight, a senior lecturer in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature in the University’s School of English, said: “Literature students often read plays straightforwardly as scripts rather than considering them as three-dimensional performances. We wanted to give students the chance to expand their understanding of Shakespeare in performance.

“The comments in the wake of last year’s workshops suggest that students find thinking about performance and staging really stimulating when this is juxtaposed with close reading of the texts. It has been particularly interesting to read Richard III with students this year in the light of the recent discoveries.

“The video we made last year demonstrates the student’s engagement and entertainment.”

Students will also have a chance to look around the Bosworth exhibition on the day.

  • The University announced on 4 February that the skeleton discovered in Leicester’s  Grey Friars car park in August 2012 was indeed that of King Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England. The University of Leicester led the Search for Richard III, working with Leicester City Council and in association with the Richard III Society.

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