History Plays

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown

So the history goes in Shakespeare’s three dramas encompassing the life and times of key players in the tumultuous English monarchy from 1398 to 1420: Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V. This dramatic feat marks a historic return for the Guthrie, as these plays were performed in rotating repertory on our stage more than 30 years ago.

Join us for this epic, three-play event and immerse yourself in Shakespeare’s examination of power, those who seek it and those who are destroyed by the brittle glory they crave.

"These plays live richly in the Guthrie’s history and memory. This is a once-in-a-generation endeavor, and I’m so glad we’re revisiting these stories."

Joseph Haj, Artistic Director

Richard II

A king becomes a man 

March 23 - May 24

Get Tickets about Richard II

Henry IV

A man becomes a king

March 30 - May 25

Get Tickets about Henry IV

Henry V

A king becomes a hero

April 6 - May 25

Get Tickets about Henry V

Three ways to participate

See all three plays in one marathon day

  • Join us Saturday, April 13 (Opening Day) or Saturday, May 18

See all three plays on separate days

See one or two plays 

  • Choose your favorite monarchs and purchase single tickets.

Free community events

Shakespeare and Game of Thrones

Thursday, March 7, 6–7:30 p.m.
Virtual (Zoom)

The infamous feuds between English families in Shakespeare’s canon have shaped a variety of modern dramatic fiction like the hit franchise Game of Thrones, which was inspired by the popular book series. In this informal and accessible lecture, Harvard educator and scholar Jeff Wilson illuminates the similar ways we can process Shakespeare alongside contemporary epics. Learn about the connections between these two gruesome and complex worlds, including how author George R.R. Martin drew upon Shakespeare’s literary strategies, tropes and historical fictions in his work. 

Get Tickets

How To Hear Shakespeare

Sunday, March 10, 4–5:30 p.m.
Dowling Studio
Availability is limited

The lively and interactive setting where Shakespeare’s audiences originally viewed his work differs starkly from how we often encounter his language today — in classrooms or quiet theaters. In this interactive workshop, local performance artist and theater educator Olivia Osol will explain how audiences would have experienced the Bard in his time, with helpful tips for navigating the words and sounds of Shakespeare’s plays in our modern context. Guthrie Resident Dramaturg Carla Steen and History Plays Associate Director Lavina Jadhwani will join Osol to discuss how to make the most of experiencing the Guthrie’s History Plays. 

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Shakespeare’s English Kings

Tuesday, March 12, 6–9 p.m.
Dowling Studio
Availability is limited

Need a crash course in the world of the History Plays? Rodney Cottier, Artistic Associate for the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art, joins us for a super-lecture on the History Plays and the English kings. Delve into the family trees of the legendary English monarchs featured onstage, discover the state of England and France at this point in history and explore the complexities of being king in this era. This accessible and comprehensive lecture is perfect for seasoned academics and curious newcomers just discovering Shakespeare’s History Plays. 

Get Tickets

Immersive events

Marathon days

Join us on a marathon day to view all three History Plays from start to finish. Witness the entire generational struggle for glory, power and redemption in one immersive experience on April 13 or May 18. Performances are scheduled at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Get Tickets 

A Shakespeare Symposium

April 1921

Join us for an immersive weekend of Shakespeare inspired by the History Plays (Richard IIHenry IV and Henry V). Artists, educators, theater fans and anyone interested in Shakespeare are invited to explore how the leadership and power dynamics portrayed onstage play out in our world today. Presented in partnership with the Department of English at the University of Minnesota, the weekend will include performances of all three History Plays, plus breakout sessions, networking and special events. 

Get Tickets

 

Videos

An Epic Return To Repertory

Enjoy a first look into Shakespeare's History Plays and hear from Artistic Director Joseph Haj on the significance of this epic production and the chance to revisit rotating repertory. 

 

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