The Wars of the Roses (adaptation)
The Wars of the Roses was a 1963 theatrical adaptation of William Shakespeare's first historical tetralogy (1 Henry VI, 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI and Richard III), which deals with the conflict between the House of Lancaster and the House of York over the throne of England, a conflict known as the Wars of the Roses. The plays were adapted by John Barton, and directed by Barton himself and Peter Hall at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The production starred David Warner as Henry VI, Peggy Ashcroft as Margaret of Anjou, Donald Sinden as the Duke of York, Paul Hardwick as the Duke of Gloucester, Janet Suzman as Joan la Pucelle, Brewster Mason as the Earl of Warwick, Roy Dotrice as Edward IV, Susan Engel as Queen Elizabeth and Ian Holm as Richard III.The plays were heavily politicised, with Barton and Hall allowing numerous contemporaneous events of the early 1960s to inform their adaptation. The production was a huge critical and commercial success, and is generally regarded as revitalizing the reputation of the Henry VI plays in the modern theatre. Many critics feel The Wars of the Roses set a standard for future productions of the tetralogy which has yet to be surpassed. In 1965, the BBC adapted the plays for television. The broadcast was so successful that they were shown again, in a differently edited form, in 1966. In 1970, BBC Books published the play scripts along with extensive behind-the-scenes information written by Barton and Hall, and other members of the Royal Shakespeare Company who worked on the production.