The Future-Killing Queer and the Future-Negating Child: Camping It Up and Destabilizing Boundaries in Sam Mendes’s Richard III (1992)

  • Gemma Miller


In this chapter, I analyze the queer performance of childhood in Sam Mendes’s 1992 production of Richard III. I argue that, by casting adult actors in the roles of the children and by doubling them with Queen Elizabeth and Lady Anne, Mendes undermined romanticized images of childhood and broke with a long tradition of fetishizing childhood innocence in performance. The portrayal of Richard played an integral part in framing the representation of childhood in this production. Simon Russell Beale’s camp Richard provided the interpretive framework through which to read the gender and age-ambiguous children by demystifying the illusion of a fixed gendered and sexual self and foregrounding the performative nature of behavior. Like Richard, Mendes’s cross-cast children blurred multiple boundaries—of gender, genre, age, and sexuality—to present a performance that undermined conceptualizations of childhood as a discrete state within a narrative of straight temporal progression.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gemma Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College LondonLondonUK

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