WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S HISTORICAL TRAGEDIES (Based on the historical dramas of Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III) - ARRIAGA THEATRE’S NEW PRODUCTION

In Shakespeare there is violence, love, hate, corruption, reflection, anger, pity. What would we do without these tales? How could we explain ourselves?

11 to 27 february 2022

Erresuma/Kingdom/Reino (William Shakespeare’s Historical Tragedies) is a new production of the Arriaga Theatre. This exciting theatrical project is promoted by its artistic director Calixto Bieito, one of the most prestigious stage directors at an international level. Bieito directs the play and is also the author of this version. The production is also offered in Basque thanks to the translation and adaptation of the writer Bernardo Atxaga, winner of the National Literature Prize. A large cast of eleven actors and actresses will perform this act.


The history of 15th century England is marked by the so-called “War of the Two Roses”, which is how the Civil War between the House of Lancaster and the House of York is popularly known. The name comes from the fact that the two Houses’ respective symbols were a red rose and a white rose, both heirs to King Edward III and both aspirants to the throne.

Violence and poetry, by Calixto Bieito

Shakespeare’s historical dramas, from Richard II to Richard III, by way of Henry IV, V, VI and perhaps all that is rediscovered, form a series of more or less historically accurate events that cover an important period of civil wars in England. It is marvellous when someone explains a story to you. Someone interprets it and someone else will interpret it again, and so on to an endless chain of fantasies, desires, traumas, dreams… that will rewrite our collective imaginary, now deeply immersed in the digital era.

The tales of Shakespeare’s kings are awash in violence, hatred, corruption, reflection, maturity, unease, uncertainty, anger, pity… I often wonder what we would do without these stories. How could we explain ourselves? Using stories, old tales, science fiction narratives helps us.

I don’t find it at all easy, and in fact I don’t think I will ever succeed, but I do try to understand a world in which people, politics, culture and technology are completely intertwined. Shakespeare understood this very well. Meanwhile the circles of history twist and turn. Brutality and anguish have been the lot of mankind since the beginning of time. But also poetry. Why do they always go hand in hand?

“Wild tales are essential reading, the stimulus of a developing imagination, a resource amidst the tedium of everyday existence that inspires lasting pleasure and keeps alive the essential capacity for daydreaming”, Charles Lamb.

Calixto Bieito
Stage director / Artistic Director of Arriaga Theatre

Text by Bernardo Atxaga

From the hall in the dark corner, there was the harp that had been laid to rest, there were the translations of classical authors made by exiled intellectuals such as Zaitegi, Ibiñagabeitia or Larrakoetxea. Nobody retrieved the words of Virgil, Plato or Shakespeare that they had put into Basque. The general, adverse, hostile conditions were the first reason; then, the general gaze, which looked elsewhere; later, the force of time, which flew past and left their works out of circulation, like coins from another era. But, little by little, when dust, oblivion and silence seemed definitive, the harp began to sound. Zaitegi’s work stirred slightly; Ibiñagabeitia’s a little more so; Larrakoetxea’s awakens now, thanks to the resolve of the Arriaga Theatre and Calixto Bieito, thanks to the actors and actresses. After the required tuning, Richard II, Richard III, Falstaff and other dramatis personae will express themselves in the language he loved and defended. It is an achievement, almost a resurrection. If pride can be humble, I feel indeed humble pride in how things have transpired this time.

Show not recommended for children under 16 years.

The team

Version, Direction and Scenography: Calixto Bieito
Poetic adaptation of the Basque translation of Larrakoetxea: Bernardo Atxaga
Cast: José María Pou, Joseba Apaolaza, Lucía Astigarraga, Ylenia Baglietto, Ainhoa Etxebarria, Miren Gaztañaga, Iñaki Maruri, Koldo Olabarri, Lander Otaola, Eneko Sagardoy, Mitxel Santamarina
Assistant Directors: Maria Goiricelaya, Ane Pikaza
Costume Design: Ingo Krügler
Illumination design: Michael Bauer
Filmmaker: Adrià Bieito Camí

Arriaga Theatre’s new production

In collaboration with:
Teatro Español, of Madrid
Teatro Principal, of Vitoria-Gasteiz
Teatro Victoria Eugenia, of Donostia-San Sebastián
Muxikebarri, of Getxo


10 - 19:00 Cancelled
12 - 19:00 Basque
13 - 19:00

18 - 19:00 Spanish
19 - 19:00 Spanish
20 - 19:00 Spanish
24 - 19:00 Basque
25 - 19:00 Spanish
26 - 19:00 Spanish
27 - 19:00 Spanish


From 10 to 21€ /with discounts

Friends of Arriaga:
From 25% to 35% DISCOUNT.

Groups, young people, over-65s, unemployed, large families and people with 33%+ disability:

Theatre professionals:

Last minute discount (for above-mentioned groups, except Friends of Arriaga):

Last minute discount for Young Friends of Arriaga:

People with disabilities who use wheelchairs:
50% DISCOUNT (in proscenium balcony and one accompanying person)


105 min.