September 5, 2014
The Royal Shakespeare Company are one of the world’s most respected producers of classic drama, including Shakespeare’s plays.
From their home in Stratford-upon-Avon, they produce a continuous cycle of theatre in their Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Swan Theatre.
The RSC also transfer productions into the West End.
See listings below for RSC productions in London including Matilda The Musical, and a selection of shows playing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford.
September 4, 2014
On this day in… 1930
The Cambridge Theatre opened in London
- Theatre opened: 4 September 1930
- Designed by: Wimperis, Simpson and Guthrie with interior by Serge Chermayeff
- First production: Charlot’s Masquerade by Ronald Jeans
- Number of seats: 1,230
July 21, 2014
Craige Els is to join the cast of the RSC’s production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical.
Craige Els has been cast as the new Miss Trunchbull in the RSC’s acclaimed production of Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre.
He will join the company from September, alongside James Clyde as Mr Wormwood, Haley Flaherty as Miss Honey and Kay Murphy as Mrs Wormwood, plus Matilda Shapland, Violet Tucker, Tasha Chapple and Lottie Sicilia sharing the role of Matilda.
Craige’s previous stage credits include Timon of Athens, Antigone and The Cherry Orchard at the National Theatre and Mamma Mia! (Novello), Oklahoma! (Chichester Festival Theatre), The New Yorkers (Sadler’s Wells), Never Forget (West End and Tour) and Spamalot (West End). TV credits include Ripper Street, The Bletchley Circle and Call The Midwife.
Matilda has been seen by one and a half million people since it transferred in to the West End in October 2011.
The show is written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, and directed by Matthew Warchus.
Watch a video of Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin interviewing Craige Els
April 1, 2014
Winner of 7 awards at the 2012 Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical, the RSC’s bold, enchanting and ingenious new production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda is directed by Matthew Warchus and written by Dennis Kelly and award-winning musician and comedian Tim Minchin.
Inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl, with book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda is the captivating musical masterpiece from the Royal Shakespeare Company that revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination and the inspiring story of a girl who dares to change her destiny.
Winner of 7 Olivier Awards including Best musical, Matilda The Musical has captured the imagination of young and old alike. The record-breaking production continues to play to packed houses at London’s Cambridge Theatre.
Matilda The Musical is written by playwright Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by comedian, musician and composer Tim Minchin, and direction by Matthew Warchus. The production is designed by Rob Howell, with choreography by Peter Darling, orchestrations, additional music and musical supervision by Christopher Nightingale, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound by Simon Baker and the special effects and illusions are by Paul Kieve.
Matilda The Musical opened at the Cambridge Theatre on 22 November 2011 (previews from 18 October 2011).
A fabulous cast includes Craige Els as Miss Trunchbull, James Clyde as Mr Wormwood, Haley Flaherty as Miss Honey and Kay Murphy as Mrs Wormwood, plus Matilda Shapland, Violet Tucker, Tasha Chapple and Lottie Sicilia sharing the role of Matilda.
Matilda follows the story of Matilda Wormwood, a bright little girl who loves to immerse herself in books. But Matilda is discarded and belittled by both her dimwitted parents — her father insists on calling her a boy and harps on about her “stupidity” for preferring reading to watching the telly – and her hostile headmistress, the wicked Miss Trunchbull. Matilda may be reclusive but she has an ever-growing imagination and very sharp mind, and with caring teacher Miss Honey Matilda dreams of a better life, daring to take a stand against unjust forces and to grasp her destiny in her own, tiny hands.
★★★★★ “AN EVENING OF UNADULTERATED BLISS.” The Guardian
★★★★★ “UTTERLY EXHILARATING. Matthew Warchus’s colourful riot of a production achieves an even dizzier balance between gleeful, grotesque, fun and heart-tugging poignancy, brilliantly drilled dynamism and warm, unforced charm.” The Independent
★★★★★ “THE QUEST FOR A GREAT NEW MUSICAL IS OVER.” Evening Standard
★★★★★ “Smart, quirky and sublimely good fun. A moving and subtle spectacle which will have kids in stitches and adults in tears. It is guaranteed to delight anyone who’s ever been a child.
I can’t wait to see it again.” Time Out
★★★★★ “An absolute cracker of a show, bursting with dynamism, fizzing with verve. Irresistible and ingenious.” Daily Express
★★★★★ “HILARIOUS, MOVING, GLORIOUS. Matthew Warchus’s thrilling, warm-hearted production, exuberantly designed by Rob Howell, with pin-sharp choreography by Peter Darling, combines comedy with a sense of wonder. This show indeed has something miraculous about it.” Daily Telegraph
★★★★★ “GIDDILY ENJOYABLE. Roars of approval shake the theatre.” Sunday Express
November 15, 2013
Award-winning musical Matilda The Musical, which has proved a hit in London and New York, is to be turned into a blockbuster new film.
But the movie isn’t set to hit the big screen until 2019 after a contractual arrangement with the Broadway production which blocks a screen adaptation for six years. Our sources tell us that the RSC and producers of the musical are working behind the scenes to try and get this time reduced.
Director of the show Matthew Warchus told Baz in this week’s Daily Mail that the screenplay for the movie will be written by the show’s book writer, acclaimed playwright and screenplay writer Dennis Kelly.
New songs by Tim Minchin may also be a possibility.
Warchus has promised a slightly different take to the story on film, with Matilda’s wild imagination leading to all sorts of possibilities in a movie version, but without losing the sense of mischief and anarchy of the riotous stage production.
Matilda The Musical continues to do great business in the West End and on Broadway.
August 1, 2013
CASTING UPDATE FROM SEPTEMBER 2013
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s world premiere production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical has captured the imagination of young and old alike and continues to play to packed houses at London’s Cambridge Theatre. Sweeping the board at the 2012 Laurence Olivier Awards, winning a record-breaking seven awards, the Broadway production has taken the US by storm winning four Tony Awards® and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theater for each of the four girls sharing the title role.
From 3 September 2013, James Clyde will join the adult company in London as Mr Wormwood, Lisa Davina Phillip as Mrs Phelps and Joshua Wyatt as Michael Wormwood. As previously announced, they will join Olivier Award nominated Canadian actor Alex Gaumond in the role of Miss Trunchbull and Kay Murphy as Mrs Wormwood.
Mike Denman, Juliet Gough, Antony Lawrence, Katie Lee, Antonio Magro, Gary Murphy, David Rudin, Hollie Taylor and Amy Thornton will join the current adult cast which includes Fabian Aloise, Joseph Davenport, Lara Denning, Hayley Flaherty, Madeleine Harland, Joshua Lay and Tommy Sherlock.
Matilda The Musical was commissioned by the RSC and played to sold-out audiences at the RSC’s The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon for twelve weeks from November 2010 to January 2011. It transferred to London’s West End on Tuesday 25 October 2011.
The New York production of Matilda The Musical, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Dodgers, began previews on 4 March 2013 with opening night on 11 April 2013 at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre.
June 10, 2013
The 2013 Tony Awards have been announced with musicals Kinky Boots, Matilda The Musical and Pippin winning multiple awards.
Last night, Sunday 9 June 2013, at a star-studded ceremony at Radio City Music Hall in New York, the 67th Tony Awards were announced.
Hosted once again by Neil Patrick Harris, the big winners of the night were all musicals as Kinky Boots swept the awards with 6 wins including Best Musical, best music for Cyndi Lauper’s music and lyrics and Billy Porter’s lead performance as Lola, closely followed by Matilda The Musical and Pippin with 4 wins each.
Based on the hit movie set in a Northampton shoe factory about a Drag Queen who rescues the firm from collapse, Kinky Boots has been a huge hit on Broadway, featuring music by pop icon Cyndi Lauper and a book by Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein. Kinky Boots pipped front-runner Matilda to the winning post in the awards. The RSC’s musical Matila, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin based on Roald Dahl’s classic kids book, won a huge haul of awards at the Olivier Awards last year for it’s London run at the Cambridge Theatre, and still managed to win 4 impressive awards at the Tonys including best performance by an actor in a featured musical role for Gabriel Ebert.
In the plays categories, the awards were spread across a wide number of shows including Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike scooping Best Play.
It was also a big night for women at the Tonys. Cyndi Lauper’s win for best music and lyrics for Kinky Boots was a first for a woman to win the award on her own. It was also only the second time in 67 years that women won in both Best Director categories -Pam MacKinnon for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Diane Paulus for Pippin.
One of the highlights of the night was when 88 year old Cicely Tyson won her first Tony Award for best actress in a play in The Trip to Bountiful. “It’s been 30 years since I stood onstage”, she said, “and I really didn’t think it would happen again in my lifetime”.
The evening was filled with numbers from some of Broadway’s biggest shows including the casts of big winners Kinky Boots, Matilda The Musical and Pippin, plus A Christmas Story The Musical, Annie, Bring It On: The Musical, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Motown The Musical.Long-running Broadway shows featured included Chicago, Jersey Boys, Newsies, Once, Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera.
The evening featured appearances by a wealth of stars including Tom Hanks, Jake Gyllenhaal, Scarlett Johansson, Sigourney Weaver, Anna Kendrick, Zachary Quinto, Sally Field, Audra McDonald, Cyndi Lauper, Jane Krakowski, Alan Cumming, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jon Cryer, Megan Hilty, Andrew Rannells, Matthew Morrison, Cuba Gooding Jr, Jesse Eisenberg, Laura Benanti, Steven Van Zandt, Martha Plimpton, Hal Prince, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Barrett Foa and Mike Tyson.
June 10, 2013
Awards announced: 9 June 2013
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang
BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
Matilda The Musical by Dennis Kelly
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE
Kinky Boots – Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper
BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Tracy Letts – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Cicely Tyson – The Trip to Bountiful
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Billy Porter – Kinky Boots
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Patina Miller – Pippin
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Courtney B. Vance – Lucky Guy
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Judith Light – The Assembled Parties
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Gabriel Ebert – Matilda The Musical
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Andrea Martin – Pippin
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
Pam MacKinnon – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
Diane Paulus – Pippin
Jerry Mitchell – Kinky Boots
Stephen Oremus – Kinky Boots
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY
John Lee Beatty – The Nance
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Rob Howell – Matilda The Musical
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY
Ann Roth – The Nance
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
William Ivey Long – Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer – Lucky Guy
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Hugh Vanstone – Matilda The Musical
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY
Leon Rothenberg – The Nance
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
John Shivers – Kinky Boots
SPECIAL TONY AWARD® FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE
Ming Cho Lee
REGIONAL THEATRE AWARD
Huntington Theatre Company
ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD
TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE
NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Career Transition For Dancers
The Lost Colony
The four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway – Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro
March 26, 2013
The nominations for the 2013 Olivier Awards were announced today at the May Fair Hotel in London.
Presented by Olivier Award winners Ruth Wilson and Elaine Paige live on BBC Radio 2’s Ken Bruce show, the announcement also featured a performance from last year’s big Olivier winner Matilda The Musical.
The shows dominating this year’s awards include the National Theatre’s The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, Hollywood musical Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre and recent Chichester and Adelphi Theatre production of Sweeney Todd.
The National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time leads the list with eight nominations, followed by new musical Top Hat with seven, and the West End transfer of Chichester Festival Theatre’s revival of Sweeney Todd with six. Other stand-out nominations include The Audience starring Helen Mirren and the recent Chichester and Old Vic revival of Kiss Me, Kate each receiving five nominations, and Constellations, The Bodyguard and Twelfth Night with four.
A wealth of star names have been given the nod for awards this year including Helen Mirren and Richard McCabe in The Audience, Heather Headley and Debbie Kurup in The Bodyguard, Leigh Zimmerman in A Chorus Line, Luke Treadaway in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, Rupert Everett in The Judas Kiss, James McAvoy in Macbeth and Kristen Scott Thomas in Old Times.
Billie Piper, Helen McCrory, Imelda Staunton, Hannah Waddingham, Michael Ball, Tom Chambers, Adam Garcia, Mark Rylance, Rafe Spall and Will Young have also been singled out for award nominations..
Voting for the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award is well underway, with 65,000 votes already recorded, and the shortlist now announced as Billy Elliot The Musical, Matilda The Musical, The Phantom Of The Opera and Wicked.
New writing is at the forefront of this year’s nominations, leading the way across many categories from The Effect, Constellations and This House to Cinderella (at St James’s Theatre) and Goodnight Mr Tom.
Dance nominations are split between The Royal Ballet and Sadler’s Wells, with notable opera nominations including three out of four nominations for English National Opera for Best New Opera Production, and The Stage Management Teams at ENO London Coliseum and the Royal Opera House nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Opera.
As previously announced, former Olivier Award winners Gillian Lynne CBE and Michael Frayn are to be honoured with Special Awards for their outstanding contributions to theatre.
The Olivier Awards will take place at the Royal Opera House on Sunday 28 April, hosted by Hugh Bonneville and Sheridan Smith. The ceremony will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 from 6.30pm and exclusive red carpet interviews with the stars as they arrive before the big night. A full television highlights package will also be broadcast on ITV later in the evening.
January 24, 2013
• David Tennant returns to the RSC in the title role of Gregory Doran’s production of Richard II
• World premiere of Wendy & Peter Pan by Ella Hickson, directed by Jonathan Munby, continues the RSC tradition of family shows
• World premiere adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, by Mike Poulton, commissioned by Playful Productions, and directed by Jeremy Herrin, play in repertoire in the Swan Theatre
• In Stitches – a celebration of RSC costume and the Company’s rich tradition of theatre craftsmanship runs throughout the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
• Erica Whyman outlines a new vision of radical mischief and new work ambitions for the RSC’s studio space, The Other Place
• Write Here Write Now with Matilda – national student writing challenge and online resources for UK schools launched by the RSC with Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly
• Five new partner theatres join the RSC’s Learning and Performance Network to transform first experiences of Shakespeare in local schools
RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, and Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, make their first announcement as leaders of the RSC, outlining plans for the Company’s Winter 2013 season and their ambitions for the Company. The Winter Season is the first drawn up by Gregory, following a summer of shows programmed by his predecessor, Michael Boyd.
Erica Whyman takes up her role as Deputy Artistic Director, following critical acclaim for her most recent productions at Soho Theatre and Northern Stage, and seven years as Artistic Director and Chief Executive at Northern Stage. She was recently awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list. The new role, created by Gregory, has special responsibility for leading the revitalisation of The Other Place in Stratford as an experimental studio and home for new work, as well as playing an active part in forging new artistic collaborations and directing productions.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
The Winter 2013 season includes the return of David Tennant (now also an RSC Board member) who will play the title role in Shakespeare’s Richard II, directed in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) by Gregory Doran. This is the first production in a new cycle of Shakespeare History plays that Gregory will direct over the coming seasons. The collaboration between David and Gregory follows on from the hugely successful production of Hamlet in 2008, which was also filmed for BBC television by Illuminations, and they will be joined by Oliver Ford Davies who also appeared in that production. Richard II will transfer to the Barbican Theatre in December after its run in Stratford.
Ella Hickson gives a fresh new perspective on a much loved JM Barrie children’s classic with her new adaptation of Wendy & Peter Pan. Jonathan Munby, who was last at the RSC working with Gregory Doran on The Canterbury Tales, will direct and Colin Richmond is the designer. This production continues the RSC’s tradition of family shows after last winter’s The Mouse and his Child, 2011’s The Heart of Robin Hood by David Farr and 2010’s Matilda The Musical, all of which played to great audience response and critical acclaim in the RST and the Courtyard Theatre.
Richard II plays from 10 Oct – 16 Nov 2013 and Wendy & Peter Pan plays from 10 Dec 2013 – 2 Mar 2014 in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Richard II transfers to the Barbican Theatre to play from 9 Dec 2013 – 25 Jan 2014.
A much-anticipated double bill of Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, receives a world premiere in the Swan Theatre. The books are adapted for the first time for the stage in two parts by Mike Poulton, commissioned by Playful Productions, and directed by Jeremy Herrin. These two plays paint the compelling portrait of the political rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the Tudor Court and will play in repertoire from December.
Wolf Hall won the Man Booker in 2009, and Bring up the Bodies won in 2012, making Mantel the first woman ever to have received the award twice. She achieved another first recently, when Bring up the Bodies also won the Costa Novel Award, the first time the same novel has won both this and the Man Booker.
Jeremy Herrin is an Associate Director at the Royal Court, where he is currently directing Polly Stenham’s new play No Quarter. His National Theatre production of James Graham’s political play This House is set to transfer to the Olivier Theatre in February this year after a sell-out run in the Cottesloe last year.
Wolf Hall plays from 11 Dec 2013 – 29 Mar 2014 and Bring up the Bodies plays from 19 Dec 2013 – 29 Mar 2014.
Touring and Newcastle
The Winter’s Tale, directed by Lucy Bailey, tours the UK after its run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, from 13 Mar – 20 Apr 2013, playing in Milton Keynes, York, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Hull and Stoke-on-Trent.
The RSC’s Summer Season of Royal Shakespeare Theatre shows; Hamlet (directed by David Farr), As You Like It (directed by Maria Aberg) and All’s Well That Ends Well (directed by Nancy Meckler), will transfer to Newcastle Theatre Royal and play from 18 Oct – 19 Nov. Further details will be announced by the Theatre Royal in early February when priority booking opens.
Gregory Doran’s production of Julius Caesar tours to the US, playing at BAM in New York from 10 – 28 April, and then the Southern Theatre, Columbus, Ohio from 1 – 5 May 2013, presented in collaboration with The Ohio State University.
Matilda The Musical, directed by Matthew Warchus, with book by playwright Dennis Kelly, music and lyrics by Australian comedian, musician and composer Tim Minchin, produced in America by the RSC and The Dodgers, will open on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre, previewing from 4 March, with opening night on 11 April 2013.
Events and Exhibitions
In Stitches – A Celebration of RSC Costume
From spring 2013 through to spring 2014, the RSC celebrates its extraordinary costume collection with In Stitches – an exhibition displayed throughout its Stratford theatres. The free exhibition will reveal highlights from the Company’s extensive collection along with new artistic responses, interactive displays and opportunities for visitors to try on RSC theatre costumes with a special dressing up box. It will draw on the Company’s rich heritage of craftsmanship and demonstrate the specialist skills and imagination of artists, designers and makers in creating costume for work on stage.
As well as installations, displays and events throughout the building during the year, the PACCAR Room will feature Into the Wild, an RSC Costume Collection exhibition which explores how costume designers and makers have responded to themes of nature in Shakespeare’s work, interpreting them in diverse and imaginative ways. It will be an exclusive chance to see rarely displayed costumes, including many worn by some of the RSC’s best known actors including Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Sir Ian McKellen, Juliet Stevenson, Dame Judi Dench and David Tennant.
And from 4 May, the Ferguson Room will house Costume Craft – an interactive display for all the family that follows the journey of how a costume is made and maintained by the RSC’s Costume Department, from first fitting to final performance. Visitors will be able to learn about some of the processes used by costume makers as well as try on a finished article in the dressing up area.
Alongside this celebration of costume, Arts Council England has just announced that the RSC has been successful in the first stage of a bid to the large-scale capital funding programme towards the redevelopment of their Grade II listed Costume Workshop in Stratford. Detailed plans can now be drawn up for a stage two application for a potential grant for £2.147m to retain listed elements of the site and transform cramped and poorly accessible spaces into naturally lit and open plan studios. The transformation will allow the RSC to develop new training opportunities and open up more of its work behind the scenes to the public.
Matilda The Musical and education work
Write Here Write Now with Matilda
Inspired by the themes of Matilda The Musical, the RSC’s Education Department has created a specially-designed online resource which gives schools unique insights into the creative process of staging this award-winning musical. Write Here Write Now with Matilda is an interactive website that will inspire children to become creative writers, imaginative playwrights and avid readers. Through filmed interviews with the show’s creators, Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin, together with comprehensive teacher notes for use in the classroom, this innovative website will help make storytelling vivid, accessible and enjoyable for children and their teachers.
To celebrate the launch of Write Here Write Now with Matilda, the RSC is setting a National Writing Challenge, inviting students aged between eight and thirteen to create an original script or song to be performed live in a special performance by the West End cast at London’s Cambridge Theatre in June 2013. Entries will go through a full script selection process by the RSC’s Literary and Education Departments and six songs or scenes will be fully rehearsed by members of the Matilda company before being performed on stage in front of the students and their classmates, all of whom will stay on to see Matilda The Musical that evening.
Additionally, and building on the highly successful active teaching approaches to Shakespeare developed by the RSC, Write Here Write Now with Matilda will also offer Teacher Professional Development days, providing practical approaches to creative writing using Matilda The Musical as a springboard.
New theatre partners for the RSC’s Learning and Performance Network
Alongside the Matilda The Musical programme, the Company continues to expand its highly-regarded national schools partnership, the Learning and Performance Network, by announcing five new regional theatre partners: the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford; the Grand Theatre, Blackpool; Curve Theatre, Leicester; the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury; the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme. This brings the total number of partner theatres working with the RSC on its education programme to ten, allowing the Company to extend its active teaching approaches into more schools and promote seeing Shakespeare live across the country through specially created touring productions for young audiences.
RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, said:
“Together with Catherine Mallyon, our new Executive Director, I want us to produce the best possible live experience of Shakespeare for audiences of all ages and backgrounds and provide the most stimulating environment possible for creative artists to practise their craft. I have always thought of the RSC as a Shakespeare “gymnasium”.
“This winter season acts as a prologue to a wider plan, stretching forward over the next five years. I hope we will work through the entire canon, producing all his plays in our new Royal Shakespeare Theatre, but without repeating the titles in that time. The Swan will be dedicated largely to looking at the stable of writers who worked alongside Shakespeare; to the plays which inspired him and which he inspired; and to writing which matches his scale and ambition, providing a deeper context to the genius of our house playwright.
“2014 is Shakespeare’s 450th birthday and 2016 marks the quatercentenary of his death in 1616. We will celebrate Shakespeare’s life, from birth to grave, over an arc of three years, culminating in a major nationwide event in 2016.
“The prologue season demonstrates some of the key ingredients in our plan. I will begin with my own exploration of Shakespeare’s History plays with Richard II, and am delighted that David Tennant and Oliver Ford Davies will be returning to the company for this production. Following its run in Stratford, we will also be presenting Richard II to London audiences at the Barbican this winter, following our very successful collaboration during the World Shakespeare Festival. As we continue our journey to find a home for our work in London, it’s great to work with the Barbican again and it’s a fantastic space in which to present this particular production.
“In the Swan Theatre, we open with new adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, by Mike Poulton. Hilary Mantel has been working alongside us to find a genuine theatrical language for these plays, even promising to include material she left out of the books in order to do so. The gripping tale of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power under Henry VIII, and the King’s infatuation with Anne Boleyn, has captivated readers in their thousands, and I am thrilled to bring them to our stages. Both plays will be directed by Royal Court Associate Director, Jeremy Herrin, making his RSC directing debut.
“Producing work for all ages is essential as we develop the theatregoing audiences of the future and this year we are presenting a brand new adaptation of one of the great works of children’s literature, Peter Pan. Ella Hickson’s Wendy & Peter Pan brings a fresh perspective to this well known tale which I have no doubt will captivate young and old alike. Jonathan Munby returns to the Company to direct.
“Over the coming months, I look forward to sharing more of our plans, not least the redevelopment of The Other Place, which will – along with the development of new work – be led by Erica Whyman, who has joined the Company in the new post of Deputy Artistic Director.”
RSC Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, said:
“My focus over the next few years will be in working alongside Greg to make sure our audiences have the best possible experience wherever they are. We have a fantastic Stratford home and will be celebrating all that is made in Stratford, whilst acknowledging our role as a national organisation, based in the Midlands, with an incredible reach across the country and overseas, with our productions, education and public participation work.
“This spring, Lucy Bailey’s The Winter’s Tale will tour to six UK cities and in the autumn we’ll take all our Royal Shakespeare Theatre shows to Newcastle Theatre Royal. We’re also well underway with preparations to open not just one, but two productions in New York in April. Matilda The Musical transfers to Broadway, and Julius Caesar plays at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, before touring to Columbus, Ohio, presented in collaboration with The Ohio State University.
“We’re especially pleased to be announcing In Stitches, our celebration of costume, just as we learn we’ve been awarded Stage 1 approval of our £2.147m bid to Arts Council England’s capital investment programme for refurbishment of our historic Costume Workshop in Stratford.
“We have a wonderful team of craftspeople, designers and theatre-makers in Stratford and we make almost all our own costumes, props and sets. The quality of the work is extraordinary, but our Costume Workshop is an old building, desperately in need of a revamp. We’ll now be able to submit detailed plans to retain the grade II listed parts of the Workshop, whilst transforming the current warren of tiny rooms into naturally lit and open plan studios. The newly transformed space will be much more environmentally efficient and, along with new machinery and equipment, will allow us to open up more opportunities for training and to welcome the public into the costume workshop for tours and special exhibitions.”
“We also continue our commitment to young people and schools, with new partnerships with regional theatres and a fantastic challenge to schools and students, based on Matilda The Musical.”
Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, said:
“The Other Place has always seemed to me to embody a philosophy as much a physical space and I want to continue its rich culture of innovation and celebration as we create a new place for artists to experiment, encounter each other and encounter Shakespeare. I am looking forward exploring the TOP ethos and the extraordinary legacy of Buzz Goodbody, as we grow our relationships with theatre-makers, local, national and international, creating work with a sense of radical mischief and festivity, building on all that’s gone before and celebrating the theatre that we can make now.
“We’ve secured planning permission to retain the Courtyard structure and to remodel the interior to create a small scale studio theatre, two new rehearsal rooms and to allow us to move our costume store into the former auditorium, opening it up to the public for the first time. We’ll work on raising the capital to undertake the work and developing an operating model which will allow us to run it sustainably, but in the meantime, audiences can expect to see TOP work beginning to emerge in various forms from 2014, which is after all, the 40th anniversary of the founding of The Other Place.”
Director of Events and Exhibitions, Geraldine Collinge, said:
“We’re delighted to be celebrating the very best of our history of costume, revealing treasures from our Museum Collection for the first time in the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre. We will also be revealing the skill and craft which goes on behind the scenes and developing an exhibition to enable people to experience it for themselves.”
Director of Education, Jacqui O’Hanlon, said:
“Through our education work we connect young people and their teachers to the artists and artistic practices at the heart of the RSC. Our Write Here Write Now with Matilda education programme is infused with the inspiration of Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin, challenging children aged 8 – 13 to create new scripts and songs. And our new partnerships with five regional theatres will mean that, together, we can reach over 30,000 children and young people this year, bringing Shakespeare vividly to life for local schools and their communities.”
Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre, at the Barbican, said:
“I am thrilled to welcome the RSC to the Barbican for Gregory Doran’s inaugural season with this highly anticipated production of Richard II with David Tennant. The play, which perfectly complements our year-round programme, will receive a seven-week run in the Barbican Theatre over Christmas and is part of our ongoing commitment to present world-class theatre on our stages and beyond. We look forward to working closely with our colleagues at the RSC to bring Richard II to London.”
Press release issued by: RSC press office