Cardinal Richelieu was a French clergyman, nobleman, and statesman. He sought to consolidate royal power and crush domestic factions and was also famous for his patronage of the arts.
In 1585, when Armand-Jean du Plessis (later Cardinal de Richelieu) was born, France existed only as a geographical area: neither language nor law provided any unity. Loyalties were feudal, religious and/or regional. Richelieu dictated both the military strategies which provided France with new defensible borders, and inaugurated the unifying reforms which moulded the state’s own national cultural identity. In the process Richelieu discovered the power of cultural propaganda, and sought control of the country’s literary and artistic activities and institutions. Working closely with the royal architect Lemercier, the Cardinal planned buildings of enormous extravagance, including the church at the Sorbonne where he was proviseur, and the magnificent Chateau and ‘walled town’ on the family estate at Richelieu.The Palais-Cardinal in Paris (later the Palais Royale) included a theatre, and he collected paintings and sculptures by many of the outstanding artists of the time, now on view in Paris, Orleans and Tours. He also founded the Academie Francaise.
Mr. Brian Freeland
Brian’s theatre career started in 1959, direct from National Service, and has taken him to forty-three different countries including three residencies in the Middle East; eight tours of the Indian sub-continent and two circumnavigations of the globe. He has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Scottish Opera, Sadler’s Wells and London Festival Ballet Companies, Nottingham Playhouse, Manchester Library Theatre and Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop Company.