Scene from Henry VI

Scene from Henry VI

The Birmingham Rep opened Part 2 in Spring 1951, Part 3 in Spring 1952, and Part 1 in Summer 1953. The complete trilogy then ran for five weeks with an immediate London season at the Old Vic - a great triumph in the Rep's 40th anniversary year. A young cast included Edgar Wreford 'with dependable authority and presence', Paul Daneman 'who would let fly at anything', Jack May 'whose speaking voice could have a most poignant timbre', and Rosalind Boxall, 'scorching the stage as Margaret of Anjou' (J C Trewin).

Director Douglas Seale introduced a convention that when not speaking, actors should stay absolutely still, a discipline which writer T C Kemp felt provided 'undistracted concentration on the lines'.
The productions were simple and powerful and the playing fitted them. At the end of Part 3, the action swept on into the first soliloquy of 'Richard III', the final play in the tetralogy, before bells and cheering offstage blurred the words, the lights dimmed and darkness brought down the curtain.