Doctor Faustus RSC at the Barbican Theatre

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Celebrating 400 years of the genius of Shakespeare, Maria Aberg’s Royal Shakespeare Company production of Doctor Faustus transfers to the Barbican Theatre.

Following its successful run at the RSC’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon, Maria Aberg’s punchy production updates Marlowe for our times with ritual, cabaret and carnival.

Bristling ‘with originality and vision’ (Stage), it sees Sandy Grierson and Oliver Ryan share the roles of the doctor and the demon. Who will play Faustus when you see it?

Doctor Faustus will run from 7 September 2016 until 1 October 2016 at the Barbican Theatre.


Two actors enter. Each lights a match and watches it burn. Whoever’s goes out first ‘loses’ and must play the fated doctor, while the other plays the demon Mephistophilis, in this notorious tale of vanity, greed and damnation.

Faustus is a solitary scholar who has exhausted the confines of human knowledge. Frustrated with the futility of religion, law and science, he is desperate for a deeper understanding of the universe – and the fame it will bring. Risking everything, he conjures Mephistophilis and asks him to strike a deal with Lucifer. Twenty-four years of absolute knowledge in exchange for his soul.


Sandy Grierson (The Tempest, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors 2012) and Oliver Ryan (As You Like It and Hamlet 2013) share the roles of Faustus and Mephistophilis.

The cast features Will Bliss, John Cummins, Gabriel Fleary, Gemma Goggin, Jade Croot, Ruth Everett, Theo Fraser Steele, Sandy Grierson, Natey Jones, Nicholas Lumley, Joshua McCord, Rosa Robson, Richard Leeming, Tom McCall, Bathsheba Piepe, Amy Rockson, Oliver Ryan, Timothy Speyer and Eleanor Wyld.


Directed by Maria Aberg, with design by Naomi Dawson, lighting by Lee Curran, music by Orlando Gough, sound by Claire Windsor, movement by Ayde Tashkiran and fight direction by Kate Waters.


★★★★ ‘Maria Aberg’s astute reinvention… soul-scouring theatre’ TIMES
★★★★ ‘Pacy, eerie and full of trickery’ DAILY TELEGRAPH
★★★★ ‘Vibrant, pacy production that bristles with originality and vision’ STAGE

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