Audience Spotlight: Completing a tour through Shakespeare’s Histories

ASC Audience Member Robert Hoyle completed his journey through all of Shakespeare’s Histories with The Fall of King Henry (Henry VI, Part 3) in late September.  He has been attending the American Shakespeare Center since our opening in 2001.


Greg Brostrom as King Lewis XI and Shunté Lofton as Lady Bona in The Fall of King Henry (Henry VI, Part 3).  American Shakespeare Center.  Photo by Lindsey Walters.

Congratulations on completing your personal quest to see all of Shakespeare’s Histories.  What draws you to them?

The history plays teach us about the Middle Ages and early Renaissance political life of Britain.  They are a blend of intrigue and excitement.  Shakespeare’s Histories introduce us to unforgettable characters and real life royalty.  Thankfully, they also are both tragic and comic in spots.

Do you have a favorite of the Histories?

Though I enjoy all of the history plays, I especially love Henry V and Richard III.

Now that you’ve completed your tour of the Histories, are you setting your sights on the full canon?

Actually, I have seen all but two of Shakespeare’s plays; many of them I have seen multiple times.  My two remaining plays are Coriolanus and Titus Andronicus.  I had reserved seats for last year’s production of Coriolanus, but, sadly, a spring snowstorm prevented my coming to the American Shakespeare Center.  I live about 4-5 hours away near Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  I do hope to see these two remaining plays at the American Shakespeare Center.

You’ve been attending plays at the Blackfriars Playhouse every year since we opened in 2001.  What keeps you coming back?

I come once or twice a year, seeing two plays during each visit.  I keep coming because the productions are exceptional.  The actors are absolutely amazing.  I have seen them so many times that I have come to think of some of them as a second family.   Their professionalism is unquestionable, some of the best acting I have ever seen.  I am also impressed by their musical talents.  I enjoy the musical interludes.  

Do you have an all-time ASC favorite production?

Choosing one all-time favorite play is impossible.  I have never been disappointed and always leave more than satisfied.  Sometimes I bring friends who are astounded.  I am a retired English teacher (35 years), and I have occasionally brought students with me.  They love the experience.  For one last note, I have also read all of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.  I am now working to complete his major poems.