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Medieval monarch takes centre stage

Professor Bryce Barker and USQ's King Richard III ahead of the Shakespeare in the Park Festival
While archaeologists dig up the possible remains of King Richard III in England, University of Southern Queensland actors and creatives are working to bring him to life onstage.

More than 500 years since Richard III was killed in battle, archaeologists believe they have finally found his skeleton buried beneath a council car park in Leicester.

Closer to home, a modern retelling of the Richard saga is taking shape right here in Toowoomba as rehearsals progress for the USQ Shakespeare in the Park Festival season of Richard III.

USQ Lecturer in Archaeology, Professor Bryce Barker said that ‘the discovery is looking very solid; the skeleton has scoliosis, was unequivocally killed in battle and was found in the right location.’

‘Fortunately, they also have a living direct descendant of the House of York to do a DNA match.’

Richard’s two-year reign (1483-1485) was the subject of one of William Shakespeare most celebrated plays - portraying him as evil and disfigured - and is largely responsible for the way the public came to remember the King.

‘This dig was initiated by the Richard III Society in Britain and the discovery is particularly important to them as they try to resurrect Richard as an historical figure.

‘They see Richard as a good king and that the bad press surrounding his life was actually Tudor propaganda heightened by Shakespeare’s play.’
Richard III will run from 12-27 October on the Shakespeare Festival’s spectacular open-air stage on the University’s Front Oval.

Audiences are encouraged to pack a hamper and bottle of wine (site licensed for BYO alcohol only), bring a blanket or chair and enjoy a picnic dinner as the sun sets before the show.

The 2012 Festival program also includes To Glee or Not to Glee (17 October) and Shakespeare on Screen (14 October).

For more information about the Festival visit www.usq.edu.au/shakespeare or call the USQ Artsworx Box Office on 07 4631 1111 to book your tickets.

The 2012 USQ Shakespeare in the Park Festival is proudly sponsored by The Chronicle, WIN Television, USQ Printing Services, USQ Student Guild, River 94.9FM, and Heritage Bank.

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