Leicester Cathedral Defends Hosting Shakespeare’s Richard III Play Amid Criticism
Leicester Cathedral still stands by its choice to host a theatrical production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, despite hundreds protesting the decision.
More than 700 people have signed a petition on Change.org claiming the cathedral would be offensive to host the play.
The petition states: “Ricardians (those who believe Richard was wrongly accused of usurping the crown by murdering his way to it, but that he was actually one of our most just and enlightened kings) are clearly aware that Shakespeare’s play was fiction and probably written as a satire on the corruption of power, but members of the general public often believe that Shakespeare was accurate, so each time the play is produced it only adds to the unfair reputation that Richard has been given.
“That is bad enough, but for Leicester Cathedral to actually put on this play in the very place where his earthly remains are interred is tantamount to sacrilege.
“The Cathedral undertook to treat the last English king to die in battle with ‘dignity and honour’, so how can these performances (of the very play which does the most to reinforce the unjust reputation he suffers from) be reconciled with this promise?
“We the undersigned find it offensive and inappropriate that Leicester Cathedral are allowing Shakespeare’s biased version of Richard to be performed in the place where his mortal remains are supposedly at rest.”
Protesters urged the cathedral to cancel the performances, and refuse all future performances of the play.
In response to the backlash, Leicester Cathedral said it aims to expand its cultural work and the upcoming production will one of a few performances it has hosted in recent years.
The church also hosted Shakespeare’s Richard III in 2014.
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