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King Charles III

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Closed January 31, 2016

"Mike Bartlett's flat-out brilliant portrait of a monarchy in crisis...directed with fiery wit and rushing momentum by Rupert Goold."

Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Why See King Charles III?

Long Live The King?

Somewhere in the not-too-distant future, Charles, who has spent more than a lifetime patiently waiting for power as the Prince of Wales, finally ascends the throne. But all is not as the new monarch expected it to be, in this controversially brave new play from Mike Bartlett. How to rule this new tumultuous country? Inspired by the histories of Shakespeare, Olivier Award-winning King Charles III has bowled over the Brits, and now transfers to the great white way in search of equal success.

What's the story?

As Prince Charles (Tim Pigott-Smith) finally becomes Charles III following the death of the Queen, he is faced with a multitude of problems. One of his first official duties includes signing a new act restricting the freedom of the press, which he refuses, causing political uproar and the threat of a new civil war. The problems don't stop as his daughter in-law Kate schemes with the Labour Prime Minister to have him abdicate in favour of William, days after his coronation.

Another challenge comes when Prince Harry wishes to rescind his royal titles and become a commoner, in order to marry a republican-leaning art student. Will the beleaguered Charles capitulate to those who hold the real power, or try to exercise the long-forgotten powers of the monarch to ensure his own survival, with the threat of war, usurpation and public hatred hanging over his newly crowned head?

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Additional Information


Previews from: 10 October 2015

Opening night: 1 November 2015


Suitable for ages 12+

Run time

Two hours and 45 minutes, including one interval

Cast and Creative


Tim Pigott-Smith as Charles
Oliver Chris as William
Richard Goulding as Harry
Adam James as Mr. Evans
Margot Leicester as Camilla
Miles Richardson as James Reiss
Tom Robertson as Couttsey and other roles
Sally Scott as Sarah and other roles
Tafline Steen as Jess
Lydia Wilson as Kate


Written by Mike Barlett
Directed by Rupert Goold
Set & Costume Designs by Tom Scutt
Music composed by Jocelyn Pook
Lighting by Jon Clark
Sound by Paul Arditti


The English Production has won:

2015 Olivier Awards

Best New Play

2014 Critics' Circle Awards

Best New Play

The 2015 South Bank Sky Arts Award

For Theatre

What we thought

ENTHRALLING Clever excellent

A superbly written piece of theatre casting commentary on the future of the monarchs

In Mike Bartlett's truly excellent future history play we are reminded that for the Royal family, the fair tales we grew up with, of wicked step mothers and men who become kings, can sometimes be true.

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Nicola Quinn

Nicola Quinn

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