By William Shakespeare
Adapted By Tom Wright and Benedict Andrews
With the early death of Henry V, his baby son becomes King Henry VI. Henry V’s brother the Duke of Gloucester, is appointed Protector, but he cannot prevent the Kingdom being disrupted by the rivalry of two factions of the royal family; the followers of the Duke of York and the supporters of the infant King. The two sides meet in a garden, where they declare their loyalties by plucking roses; red for Lancaster, white for York. All-out civil war erupts. The house of York prevails and Edward IV becomes King.
Richard reveals his ambition; he aspires to be King and will remove all impediments. He spreads rumours which lead to the arrest of his brother Clarence, and he woos Anne, the widow of the young Prince of Wales murdered in the previous Act. Queen Margaret returns in defiance of her expulsion and prophesises of the coming darkness. As a Lancastrian, she is ignored. Edward IV dies, leaving his little sons as his heirs. Richard becomes their Protector. He keeps them out of sight, and aided by his cousin Buckingham he assumes the throne. Anyone who speaks up against him is murdered. Buckingham spreads rumours that the two Princes are illegitimate, and Richard III is proclaimed King.