Henry V at Leeds Playhouse

5th January 2023



A production by Leeds Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe and Headlong with Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Holly Race Roughan


Following a critically acclaimed premiere at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse last year, our co-production of Henry V by William Shakespeare will arrive at Leeds Playhouse from 9 to 25 February, as the first stop on it’s UK Tour.


Director Holly Race Roughan (Artistic Director, Headlong) has created a powerful co-production exploring Henry V’s single-minded pursuit of power, and what it means to be ‘English’, offering a different perspective on England’s hero. This is a ‘Fast, slick, startlingly focused and fresh’ (The Telegraph) must-see co-production by Leeds Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe and Headlong with Royal & Derngate, Northampton.


Director Holly Race Roughan says: “Shakespeare’s plays are packed with so many universal ideas that they remain intriguingly relevant to contemporary society hundreds of years on. However, occasionally, one of his plays speaks to the present moment so directly that it takes your breath away. Staging Henry V with the backdrop of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Brexit, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine feels like one of these moments. This play that teems with the anxiety of royal succession, nationalism, war and imperialism, rips through the centuries and offers us a chance to reflect on our present moment in a powerfully heightened way. We were keen when we embarked on this production to not make a history play, but to treat the play as if it were a new piece of writing that is in conversation with our immediate experience. Our hope is that through this stripped back production, and lean edit, there is space for the audience to bring their imagination and question with us our present situation.”


Henry, the young and newly crowned king, is impatient to assert control over the people of England. Having received a humiliating gift from overseas, his bruised ego leads him to double down on a military invasion abroad in a bid to expand his green and pleasant land. But at what devastating cost?


For more on dates and to book tickets visit Leeds Playhouse website: Henry V – Leeds Playhouse