Richard III – new musical at Frome Festival

RICHARD III, the notorious “hunchback” king, the infamous murderer of the Princes in the Tower of London, who died on Bosworth Field and was disinterred in a Leicester city centre car park, lives to sing another day, thanks to Martin Dimery, the inventive and multi-talented creative director of Frome Festival.

The Haunting of Richard the Third receives its premiere at the festival on 7th, 8th and 9th July, in the open air Ecos amphitheatre outside the town’s Merlin Theatre.

Martin Dimery’s script delves into the mind of this 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 IV, 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.

Martin, who is also directing the show, says: “This production is a true community event. 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 steps down this year after running Frome Festival for 14 successful events: “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.” He is the author of a number of commercially published and performed musical plays including his 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!” says Martin.

In the event of extreme weather only, the performances will transfer inside. Tickets for the show are available from the Merlin Theatre or the Cheese and Grain box office, where you can buy for all upcoming festival events.

Pictured: Rehearsing The Haunting of Richard the Third.