Henry the Sixth, Part One

Henry the Sixth part one posterWritten by William Shakespeare

Directed by Jennifer Roberts-Smith

Performances: June 7, 19-20, 24

Venues: Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse; Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages Building; McMaster University School of the Arts

Henry the Sixth, Part One (also variously known as 1 Henry VIHenry 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 looked to cast 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.

Production and text dramaturgy by Toby Malone

With student research assistance from Kelsey Sewell

Check out the Dramaturgy Hub for the production.



Winchester and others - Sam Beuerle 

Bedford/Mortimer/ Gunner of Orleans/Lucy and others - Rebecca Birrell 

Gloucester and others - Jessica Blondin 

York and others - Mollie Garrert 

Talbot and others - Erik Van Dijk 


Burgundy / Woodville / Gargave and others - Alexandra Carruthers 

Dauphin / Keeper / Bassett and others – Carly Derderian 

 Reigner / Vernon and others - Carleigh MacDonald 

 Warwick / Warder / Glansdale and others - Daniel Ruginets

 Suffolk / Salisbury and others - Cameron Smith

Bastard / Mayor of London and others  - Adam Winchester 


Henry VI / Gunner’s Boy and others - Celena Alcock 

Somerset and others - Chantaine Green-Leach 

Countess of Auvergne /  Young John Talbot / Margaret and others - Emma Mann 

Joan of Arc and others - Alan Shonfield

Creative Team

Director – Jennifer Roberts-Smith

Dramaturg – Toby Malone

Assistant Dramaturg – Kelsey Sewell

Scenographer – Paul J. Stoesser

Costume Designer – Sharon Secord

Fight Director – Daniel Levinson

Acting Coach – Paul Hopkins

Assistants to Fight Directors - Caitlyn Derderian, Derrick Rabethge

Production Team

Production Manager – Janelle Rainville

Technical Director – Gill Lesperance

Stage Manager – Zac Gungl

Carpentry and Sound Coordinator – Cameron Jolliffe

Props and Paint Coordinator – Chelsea Vanoverbeke

Wardrobe Coordinator – Alice Wang

Lighting Coordinator – Alyssa Almeida

Special Thanks

Paul J. Stoesser

Daniel Levinson

Peter Freund

Mark Haasnoot

Amaka Ejitzu

Daniel Ruginets

Bianca Hossain

Kevin Quarmby

Lisa Matsumoto

Bill Chesney

Christopher Sutherland

Sandy Thi

Karolina Szymczyk

Caitlyn Derderian

Derrick Rabethge

Taras Cymbalisty

PLS- Poculi Ludique Societas

Peter Cockett

McMaster School of the Arts

Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Toronto