Edward II notes



Introduction

Character overviews

Storyguide

Jasper Conran's costumes

David Bintley interview: the return of Edward II

David Bintley interview: X-rated ballet

Press quotes

Historical context

Related merchandise

Image Gallery


Credits



Click on the names for individual biographies

Music John McCabe
Choreographer David Bintley
Design Peter J. Davidson
Costume Jasper Conran
Lighting Peter Mumford

Storyguide



Act I


Edward, Prince of Caernarvon, is crowned Edward II of England. His first act as king is to recall Piers Gaveston, his childhood friend, from exile. Gaveston had been banished by Edward's father, Edward I, because of his son's inordinate passion for him.

To the anger of the Barons, Gaveston flaunts the titles and riches newly bestowed on him by the king. Isabella, Edward's young queen, is made distraught by the openly sexual relationship of her husband and Gaveston. The Barons, led by Mortimer, Lancaster and Warwick, sign a petition for the exile of Gaveston; Mortimer persuades Isabella to add her name.

Edward declares the Barons traitors to the crown and civil war ensues. The Barons capture Gaveston and, against all rules of chivalry, execute him. Edward vows to avenge his murder.

Act II


Warwick and Lancaster are dead. Hugh Despenser has succeeded Gaveston in Edward's affections. Isabella and her lover, the exiled Mortimer, plot the overthrow of the king from the court of Charles IV of France, Isabella's brother.

Isabella has betrothed her son Edward to Phillipa of Hainault and with the dowry raises an invasion force which sweeps England. Edward and Despenser are forced into hiding and later betrayed; Despenser is executed and Edward forced to abdicate.

Mortimer has the deposed king imprisoned, and murdered in such a way that no marks of violence are visible on his skin and, under his and Isabella's control, the 14-year-old prince is crowned Edward III. It is three years before the young king can summon the courage to exile his mother and have Mortimer executed for treason against his father.

PRINT THIS PAGE
  Contact Us | Cookies and Privacy Policy | Credits
® Birmingham Royal Ballet | Company registration no. 3320538 | Registered charity no. 1061012
Birmingham Royal Ballet is funded by
Storyguide

Storyguide



Act I


Edward, Prince of Caernarvon, is crowned Edward II of England. His first act as king is to recall Piers Gaveston, his childhood friend, from exile. Gaveston had been banished by Edward's father, Edward I, because of his son's inordinate passion for him.

To the anger of the Barons, Gaveston flaunts the titles and riches newly bestowed on him by the king. Isabella, Edward's young queen, is made distraught by the openly sexual relationship of her husband and Gaveston. The Barons, led by Mortimer, Lancaster and Warwick, sign a petition for the exile of Gaveston; Mortimer persuades Isabella to add her name.

Edward declares the Barons traitors to the crown and civil war ensues. The Barons capture Gaveston and, against all rules of chivalry, execute him. Edward vows to avenge his murder.

Act II


Warwick and Lancaster are dead. Hugh Despenser has succeeded Gaveston in Edward's affections. Isabella and her lover, the exiled Mortimer, plot the overthrow of the king from the court of Charles IV of France, Isabella's brother.

Isabella has betrothed her son Edward to Phillipa of Hainault and with the dowry raises an invasion force which sweeps England. Edward and Despenser are forced into hiding and later betrayed; Despenser is executed and Edward forced to abdicate.

Mortimer has the deposed king imprisoned, and murdered in such a way that no marks of violence are visible on his skin and, under his and Isabella's control, the 14-year-old prince is crowned Edward III. It is three years before the young king can summon the courage to exile his mother and have Mortimer executed for treason against his father.