The Sacred King: Shakespeare's Richard II at Pontefract Castle

Having been crowned at the age of 10, crushed the Peasant’s Revolt, feuded with his powerful uncles, been humiliated by his council and deposed by his own cousin, the former King Richard II finds himself imprisoned at Pontefract Castle. Having fallen from the heights of glorious majesty to the bottom of society, he comes to terms with his own humanity in this final speech of Shakespeare’s beautiful play.

This project is a filmed version of what is often called the ‘prison speech’ in William Shakespeare’s history tragedy Richard II, taken from the beginning of Act 5, Scene 5. The scene of the king’s final speech is set at Pontefract Castle and has never before been filmed at the historic site. It provides a more intimate insight into the king’s thoughts than a stage performance would allow. The Sacred King fuses history, site-specific theatre and early music into a unique artistic project.

  • Yvonne Morley
    RSC, Shakespeare's Globe, Royal National Theatre
  • William Shakespeare
  • Mark Burghagen
  • Mark Burghagen
    Key Cast
    "Richard II"
    The Passing Bells (BBC), Opera North, English National Ballet, York Mystery Plays
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 58 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 14, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    2,500 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • York International Shakespeare Festival 2019
    United Kingdom
    May 19, 2019
    York Premiere
Distribution Information
  • Mark Burghagen
    Country: United Kingdom
Director Biography - Yvonne Morley

Yvonne has been established as a versatile voice teacher and vocal coach for over thirty years in the UK and abroad (Canada, America, Europe and the Middle East). She works with actors, singers and dancers and has been involved in actor training for a number of drama schools including Elmhurst Ballet School, Drama Studio London and being Head of Voice for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts where she oversaw a large department delivering training to actors on all courses, providing rehearsal support to over 25 graduate productions working with writers including Mark Ravenhill and David Edgar and a range of others.
In July 2007 Yvonne decided to return to freelance work. Since becoming an Associate with the Royal National Theatre's Voice department as well as with the Royal Shakespeare Company, she has undertaken company voice work for various productions.

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Director Statement

“Good acting is holding a mirror up to nature, reflecting what real life looks and sounds like. And this [project] was an opportunity in a real prison cell to touch on that in much more detail and connect with it more than one could on a nicely lit stage.”