Theatre group stages Henry V at Northampton’s Holy Sepulchre Church to mark Agincourt anniversary

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A theatre group in Northampton is marking the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt with a performance of William Shakespeare’s Henry V at Northampton’s Holy Sepulchre Church.

The performances by Cyphers, a company described as a “theatre group to watch” by the London Evening Standard, run until Saturday October 31.

A spokesperson for the group said 2015 had been a year of anniversaries.

“As the World War One centenary commemorations continue, we’ve already had the bi-centenary of the Battle of Waterloo and the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta.

“The latest historic event reaching a significant birthday is the Battle of Agincourt, which sees its 600th Anniversary on October 25.

“The Holy Sepulchre is no stranger to Shakespeare productions, as earlier this year it played host to a sell-out production of King John, co-produced by Shakespeare’s Globe and the Royal & Derngate Theatres.

Picture: Cyphers Theatre

Picture: Cyphers Theatre

“Cyphers hope to emulate the success of this production as in just 90 minutes, their sixperson ensemble cast play out the events of 1415 amongst the Holy Sepulchre’s eight towering Norman pillars, around which King Henry himself may once have walked,” the spokesperson added.

Henry V tells the story of a climactic moment in the Hundred Years War and the formation of an English national hero. With his father dead and a weak king in France, Henry lays claim to the French throne and leads his army to one of the most unlikely victories in history at the Battle of Agincourt.

The spokesperson said: “Exactly 600 years after the events the play depicts, this production is an opportunity to question the nature of conflict, the responsibility for war and the formation of national identities.”

Cyphers was founded in 2013 by artistic director Marcus J. Bazley (who has adapted and directed this production and has worked previously with the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Barbican) and executive director Victoria Hamblen. They were joined in early 2015 by Northampton High School alumna Tessally Elford, who fulfils the role of director of operations and producer of Henry V alongside her career in social media advertising.

Picture: Cyphers Theatre

Picture: Cyphers Theatre

The company first performed Henry V in October 2014, where it acted as a mission statement for the style of theatre the company aimed to produce. In just a year, the company has produced two further productions - an original adaptation of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (which will be appearing on Wandsworth Radio as a serialised radio drama in early 2016) and a pair of Chekhov short plays.

The spokesperson added: “Incorporating story-telling techniques with a back-to-basics approach, the production team state that Cyphers’ mission is to empower audiences to use their imaginations so that every member has an experience that is, on some level, unique and personal to them.

“They aim to create a warm, inclusive and intimate environment where two groups of people (actors and audience) come together to experience a story,” he said.

This is a fast-paced and intimate adaptation of Shakespeare’s great history play. Performed by an ensemble cast of six actors in just 90 minutes, this production welcomes the audience into the world of the play, creating a show described as “a must watch” from “a strong and close-knit ensemble” by The Good Review and A Younger Theatre respectively.

Tickets and further information are available now at www.cyphers.org.uk