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Chester theatre company commemorates Shakespeare's death 400 years ago

Heirs of Banquo Productions from Chester staged an adaption of Shakespeare’s Richard III

Actors Meg Lamour and Luke Young playing the doomed couple in Heirs of Banquo's take on Richard III at the Chester Music Theatre on Saturday, September 3, 2016.

A Chester theatre company commemorated the 400th year of Shakespeare’s death by staging a modern take of one of the playwright’s productions.

Heirs of Banquo Productions staged an adaption of Shakespeare’s Richard III with Chester rock band, Soundwall, at the Chester Music Theatre on Saturday in celebration of the anniversary and his work.

Actor Jo Perry who played Queen Elizabeth with Jed Birch who played Richard of Gloucester in Heirs of Banquo's take on Richard III at the Chester Music Theatre.

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The Bard of Avon is believed to have died on his birthday, April 23, in his native Stratford-upon-Avon in 1616 and 400 years on, his most famous works including Othello, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet continue to sell out today.

Following a complete sell out of the play at Theatr Clwyd in Mold in July, Heirs of Banquo Productions teamed up with Soundwall to perform the show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last month before their Chester performance.

Actor Jed Birch who played Richard of Gloucester with John Henry who played the Duke of Clarence and actor Andy Potts who played the murderer in Heirs of Banquo's take on Richard III at the Chester Music Theatre.

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The Heirs of Banquo’s take on Richard III explores the abiding problem of tyranny rising in failed states including Syria, Mexico and Somalia and the amoral plot of Richard of Gloucester, played by actor Jed Birch.

Driven by hatred and a boundless lust for power, Richard stops at nothing to achieve superiority.

Director of Heirs of Banquo Productions, Catherine Harrison, said: “Richard III is one of Shakespeare’s more difficult plays.

Actor Hannah Baird who played the courtesan, with murderer Andy Potts in Heirs of Banquo's take on Richard III at the Chester Music Theatre.

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“Our hour-long version preserved the Shakespearean language, and provided a narrative gloss which meant the story was more accessible.”

CMT managing director Cally Thomas said: “Chester Music Theatre was delighted to host Soundwall and Richard III.

“Shakespeare is the most precious jewel in English literature, and staging a Shakespeare 400 event here meant his work continues to reach people today.”

Actors Ken Black and Andy Potts as conspirators in Heirs of Banquo's take on Richard III at the Chester Music Theatre.

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Actor Jed Birch said: “In Edinburgh, several audience members told me they had come to see a rock band, Soundwall, but found themselves watching and loving the Shakespeare as well.”

Next year, the Heirs of Banquo said they plan to stage Shakespeare’s masterpiece Macbeth, to highlight the parallels and similarities in the 15 years which separate them.

Soundwall's principal dancers, Hannah and Louis in Heirs of Banquo's take on Richard III at the Chester Music Theatre.

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