Bridgerton star to play Richard III at Liverpool Playhouse in 2023
Bridgerton’s Adjoa Andoh will take on the role of the ‘hunchback’ king in Shakespeare’s Richard III which comes to the Liverpool Playhouse stage this April.
Andoh, who previously staged Richard II at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe, will direct the new production as well as playing the last Yorkist monarch who is painted by the playwright as an arch villain.
This original staging strips the text back to question: is Richard as wicked as Shakespeare portrays him, or is his villainy born out of exclusion?
It will shift its lens to race and be based on Andoh’s own experiences of growing up in the Cotswolds, asking what it means to be born into a society where you do not belong, and the human soul’s capacity to withstand a hostile environment.
Andoh, whose mother is from Liverpool, said: “Richard is a character I have loved since childhood. Growing up in a tiny Cotswold village in the 1960s and 70s, I immediately felt a connection to someone singled out because of their appearance.
“On first reading Shakespeare's play as a child, I was outraged at the way Richard was portrayed, but now appreciate one of the questions Shakespeare posits - what happens to a person and their sense of self, if throughout their life bad intentions are ascribed to them based solely on their appearance?
"I call this body pathologising. It happens to many people in many circumstances across the world to this day, and in this production, I want to explore the story, and that question through the lens of race.
“I'm delighted the show is a co-production with Liverpool Playhouse, as my mother is a Liverpudlian, and finally I get to perform in her beloved city; our childhoods united on stage."
Richard III is at the Liverpool Playhouse from April 6-22 2023.
Photo of Adjoa Andoh by Suki Dhanda