History takes Centre Stage at Royal Armouries, Leeds - Thursday, 6 September 2012

Royal Armouries is joining forces with Yorkshire-based Angus & Ross Theatre Company to stage the world premiere of Kings of Cloth of Gold on September 29 and 30.

Funded by Arts Council England and written by Tony Lidington, the play forms part of the Royal Armouries’ Inspired by …. project and is billed as a witty new historical comedy, telling the story of the Field of Cloth of Gold.

The theatre company has worked closely with Royal Armouries to ensure the play’s historical accuracy – including fight instruction training and gaining inspiration for costumes, props and set design.

Karen Watts, Senior Curator of Armour, who provided support with scriptwriting, said, “I am delighted to be working so closely with the playwright, Tony Lidington and set designer, Ruth Paton to create a deliciously witty and historically accurate script for this new family show. The production is inspired by our displays in the Tournament Gallery, where we have the actual armour worn by Henry VIII at the Field of Cloth of Gold!”

“Here at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, we have the original armours and weapons from the 16th century, and the actors have managed to bring them to life. We are instantly transported back to a tournament field in France filled with tents of gold. The actors have been learning combat techniques from our own Senior Interpreter, Andy Deane and it is as though the armours of the kings have escaped from their glass cases and are walking, talking and fighting!”

The play focuses on King Henry VIII of England (Dominic Goodwin) as he meets Francis I of France (Emanuel Brierley) at the most magnificent tournament ever held – the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. The tournament attracted the name as many pavilions were crafted from costly gold cloth, making it the byword for extravagance.

The two kings compete to outdo each other in displays of wealth, wit, feasting and sporting prowess. Each king is proud, intelligent, and the epitome of chivalry. But who will eventually win this battle of vanity?

The play starts its 50-date national tour with an official opening during the weekend of September 29/30, at the Bury Theatre, within the Royal Armouries in Leeds. The production is also rehearsing at Helmsley Arts Centre where preview shows will be staged on September 26 and 27.

Director Em Whitfield Brooks said, “We are delighted to be working with the Royal Armouries, who are giving us so much advice and expertise in the telling of this important story. Inspired by the Tournament Room at the Leeds museum, our designer Ruth Paton is working closely with staff to ensure we honour the historical accuracy. It’s very exciting to work so closely with the real experts in bringing this moment in history to life.”

For more details of times and to buy tickets please visit www.royalarmouries.org

Adults: £10
Concessions/U16s/Students/OAPs: £7
Family ticket: (2 + 2) £30

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