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Richard the Third musical opens at Frome Festival

A NEW musicalon the life of King Richard the Third receives its premiere at the Frome Festival on 7th, 8th and 9th July. 

The script, written by Frome Festival creative director, Martin Dimery, delves into the mind of the most notorious of English kings, on the eve of the Battle of Bosworth Field, where he is about to meet his nemesis, Henry Tudor.  

Legend has it that Richard passed an uncomfortable final night in his battle tent, troubled by visions of his past. The ghosts draw him to reflect on his life in a series of scenes depicting his courtship to Anne Neville, his wife; the shock at the death of his brother King Edward the Fourth, and the political intrigue which leads Richard to claim the throne, dispossessing his young nephew, one of the ‘Princes in the Tower’. 

The music has been written by Martin Dimery and David Hynds. The presentation will take place outdoors on the atmospheric Ecos Amphitheatre, next door to Frome’s Merlin Theatre. In the event of extreme weather only, the performances will transfer inside.  

Martin Dimery, who is also directing the show, said, “This production is a true community event. The Frome Festival is collaborating with Kairos Theatre Company and the Merlin Theatre. We will be offering a workshop performance to students at Frome College. We were delighted to receive funding from Frome Town Council to assist with production costs and enable us to provide free tickets to students.” 

Martin Dimery will be stepping down from running the Frome Festival this year after 14 successful years.  

“I’ve really enjoyed directing the festival, but it has led to less time writing and performing, so I’m hoping to make the most of my retirement,” said Martin. 

Martin is the author of a number of commercially published and performed musical plays including his widely performed solo show ‘Shakespeare Rattle and Roll’.  

Shakespeare’s Richard is a major influence on ‘The Haunting of Richard the Third’ but, as Martin explains, “The more you research Richard, the more complex he seems. Shakespeare’s portrayal is wholly unsympathetic. We portray him as a victim of his times who suffers great personal loss.” 

The big question is, ‘Did he murder the princes in the Tower?’ 

“You’ll not get a spoiler alert from me!” said Martin. 

Tickets are available from the Merlin Theatre or the Cheese and Grain box office, where you can buy for all upcoming festival events. www.cheeseandgrain.co.uk

Pictures: Rehearsal photos from ‘The Haunting of Richard the Third’ – Richard (centre) is played by Steve Middle.

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