In response to the coronavirus pandemic, WNYC and The Public Theater have partnered to bring you Free Shakespeare in the Park as a serialized podcast.

From open-air to on the air.


William Shakespeare’s RICHARD II has been reimagined and produced
as a radio broadcast in four episodes.

Listen as the last of the divinely anointed monarchs descends and loses all. When King Richard banishes his cousin Henry Bolingbroke and deprives him of his inheritance, he unwittingly creates an enemy who will ultimately force him from the throne. One of Shakespeare’s only dramas written entirely in verse, this epic—yet intimate—play presents the rise of the house of Lancaster through a riveting tale of lost sovereignty, political intrigue, and psychological complexity. Each episode runs approximately one hour.

Director Saheem Ali says, “A fractured society. A man wrongfully murdered. The palpable threat of violence and revenge against a broken system. Revolution and regime change. This was Shakespeare’s backdrop for Richard II. I’m exceptionally proud of this production, recorded for public radio with a predominantly BIPOC ensemble, led by the extraordinary André Holland,” said director Saheem Ali. “It’s my hope that listening to Shakespeare’s words, broadcast in the midst of a pandemic and an uprising, will have a powerful resonance in our world.”

In support of the fight against racism and inequality and in recognition of the unspeakable violence against Black communities, The Public Theater and the artists of RICHARD II dedicate this production to the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Learn more. Visit The Public Theatre online.