Archival Dramaturgy Hub, Property of the University of Waterloo, 2015




Henry the Sixth, Part One (also variously known as 1 Henry VI, Henry VI Part 11H6 and even, in arguably its earliest referenceHarey Vj), is amongst Shakespeare's earliest plays (though perhaps not written before its sequels), the first in a tetralogy chronologically followed by Henry the Sixth Part TwoHenry the Sixth Part Three, and Richard the Third. A volatile piece consumed with the Hundred Years' War, fought out between France and England over the right to claim the French crown, there is much evidence to suggest that Henry the Sixth, Part One was a popular success in performance, with contemporary accounts making reference to the gallantry of brave John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, as he fought to his death at the Battle of Castillon, an episode almost 150 years removed from Shakespeare's audiences, yet still able to elicit patriotic responses.  A play that examines the roots to the famous Wars of the Roses, which set the Houses of York and Lancaster against one another for control of the English monarchy, Henry the Sixth, Part One is an unjustly neglected work: rarely performed but filled with memorable characters like the brave Talbot, crafty Richard Plantagenet (Duke of York), and, of course, the famous Joan la Pucelle - Joan of Arc

As research-in-performance, the University of Waterloo's production of Henry the Sixth, Part One looks to casting innovations, technological elements (like the stage-bound deployment of pyrotechnics and the logistics of staging siege scenes), and a sophisticated approach to stage combat in examining this challenging, fulfilling play.

Directed by Dr. Jennifer Roberts-Smith

Production and text dramaturgy by Dr. Toby Malone

With student research assistance from Kelsey Sewell

Performance Dates


June 7 - Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse

Book Tickets Online

Festival of Early Drama, University of Toronto, St. George Campus


June 19 – 20 - University of Waterloo Theatre of the Arts

Book Tickets: Phone (519) 888-4908

University of Waterloo Department of Drama and Speech Communication Spring Season


June 24 - McMaster University School of the Arts

The Three Ladies of London in Context: The John Douglas Taylor ConferenceMcMaster University, Hamilton

Henry the Sixth as Historical Figure

Representations of Shakespeare's Henry the Sixth

uWaterloo's Henry the Sixth, Part One

Production Text Resources


Conference Content

Further Reading

Social Media