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Richard Harrington and Mali Harries in Hinterland/Y Gwyll © Omidaze Theatre/Kirsten McTernan

Part of the procession for Yvonne Murphy’s Richard III. © Omidaze Theatre/Kirsten McTernan

This last Winter something powerful stirred in the cavernous hollow roof above the Wales Millennium Centre. Known evocatively as ‘The Void’, the attic site is a dystopian mass of industrial iron tubing, convoluted air-conditioning cylinders and large, dusty steel box-vents. These grey metallic surroundings, only accessible by a multitude of stairways, recently witnessed a fight for authority when the theatre director, Yvonne Murphy, chose them as the setting for her innovative production of Shakespeare’s Richard III. For a play that is traditionally perceived to be a vehicle for one, male star actor, Yvonne employed a cast of only eight women. Dressed in clothing that had been turned inside out, the actresses created King Richard’s infernal nether world within The Void’s monochrome space, set with maintenance ladders, pieces of scaffolding, platforms and plastic sheeting that reminded one reviewer of the abattoirs of American massacre movies. Audiences were encouraged to accompany the performers in a promenade production that closely implicated its observers in the action. The aim – implicit in the reversal of the costumes – to turn traditional Shakespeare performance inside-out.

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