Edward II notes
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Music John McCabe
Choreographer David Bintley
Design Peter J. Davidson
Costume Jasper Conran
Lighting Peter Mumford
Edward II | Isabella | Gaveston | Mortimer
Edward II took the throne in 1307. He was as tall and physically impressive as his father, Edward I, a notable military leader who trained him in statecraft and warfare from an early age. As he grew up, he developed keen interests in entertainment and athletics, and was the first monarch to establish colleges in both Oxford and Cambridge. Ultimately, however, he lacked any of the dignity, drive and ambition of his father, and was challenged by the English Barons who were keen to seize control of the country for themselves. His propensity to surround himselves with friends from outside the court and reject his nobility also caused friction among others in power, alongside the flaunting of various homosexual relationships.
Speaking at the time of one of the first UK tours of the ballet, creator David Bintley said: 'Although Edward's sexuality is one of the prime themes of the ballet it is certainly not just a ballet about a homosexual king. He was actually a very weak king full stop - He wasn't very good at fighting his wars; he wasn't very good at running the place; he wasn't good at keeping the barons down.'
Although Edward's sexuality caused outrage among the court, it was something which he could have managed, had he been a better ruler to begin with. Unfortunately, he was not, and events snowballed until they consumed whole nations. 'One of the most interesting things about Edward's story' says David, 'is the idea that the sexual peccadillos of such a small group of people could influence the lives of entire continents.'
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