RSC Celebrates New Leadership, JULIUS CAESAR and MATILDA in NY This Spring
With a new leadership team of Gregory Doran, Artistic Director, and Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director, at the helm, the Royal Shakespeare Company returns to New York this spring with two productions, Julius Caesar and Matilda the Musical. Both began their lives at the RSC's Stratford-upon-Avon home and reflect the Company's continuing commitment to Shakespeare and the work of contemporary playwrights and theatre artists, as it celebrates one hundred years of touring work from Shakespeare's birthplace to the US.
The RSC's new Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, directs his searing production of Shakespeare's great political thriller, Julius Caesar, set in contemporary Africa, at BAM's Harvey Theater, from April 10 - 28, presented by BAM, the RSC and The Ohio State University, following acclaimed runs in Stratford, London, on tour around the UK and to Moscow. The production will then travel to Columbus, Ohio, to play May 1-5 at the Southern Theatre, presented by The Ohio State University and the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA). The company includes Paterson Joseph as Brutus, Cyril Nri as Cassius, Ray Fearon as Mark Antony and Jeffery Kissoon as Caesar.
And on Broadway, the RSC and the Dodgers present Matilda the Musical, at the Shubert Theatre, directed by Matthew Warchus, with book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. Matilda the Musical is currently in previews and opens on April 11. The RSC first began work on the idea of a musical based on Roald Dahl's book, Matilda, in 2003, after initial approaches by the Dahl Estate. After years of R&D, Matilda the Musical premiered at the RSC's Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2010, then opened in London's West End in October 2011, winning a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards, alongside twenty other theatre awards in the UK.
The RSC was last in New York in the summer of 2011, with a repertoire of seven Shakespeare titles, played by a single company of actors, presented by Lincoln Center Festival and Park Avenue Armory, in association with The Ohio State University, on the specially-constructed thrust stage replica of the Company's Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Future plans include a collaboration with The Public Theater and Miami's GableStage on a production of Antony and Cleopatra, edited and directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney and set against the backdrop of Saint-Domingue on the eve of the Haitian Revolution against the French, which plays Miami and New York in early 2014; as well as a program with New York City's Department of Education to share the RSC's active teaching approaches to Shakespeare, including the distribution of a filmed version of the Company's Young People's Shakespeare production of King Lear to more than one million New York City school students in November 2013. The Royal Shakespeare Company in America is presented in collaboration with The Ohio State University, with whom the Company also continues its collaboration on a major education program for teachers.
The RSC's new Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, took up his post in September 2012, the culmination of a long career at the RSC, firstly as an actor and assistant director, then from 2006 as Chief Associate Director. He has directed many acclaimed productions and led seasons of work exploring seldom-performed classics. He won an Olivier for Outstanding Achievement of the Year in 2002 for his Jacobean season, the Whatsonstage Best Regional Production and Theatre Event of the Year in 2009 for his production of Hamlet, with David Tennant in the title role, and was given the Sam Wanamaker Award in 2012.
Catherine Mallyon also joined the RSC as Executive Director in September 2012 from Southbank Centre in London, the largest single-run arts centre in the world, where she was Deputy Chief Executive, leading all operational activity since 2005 and overseeing the reopening of the Royal Festival Hall in 2007 and the renewal of Hayward Gallery in 2010. She now leads the Company with Greg, including its productions of Matilda the Musical in London and New York.
Gregory Doran said: "In 1913, a company from the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon toured twenty-five cities in the US with a repertoire of nine plays. One hundred years later, it's fantastic we are able to bring Julius Caesar and Matilda the Musical to New York at the same time - two very different RSC productions, but both with their roots in our Stratford home.
"Shakespeare is always at the heart of our work and my production of Julius Caesar, set in contemporary Africa, explores ambition, power and the roots of corruption, themes as resonant now as they were in Elizabethan England. Our company includes some of the very best of British acting talent, many of whom began their career at the RSC, and we are excited about playing in the Harvey Theater at BAM and at the Southern Theater in Columbus, Ohio.
"Since the RSC was founded, we have commissioned new work from contemporary playwrights alongside Shakespeare. We have worked with the great names in British theatre for the last five decades and brought new writers and directors to the attention of audiences everywhere. We began to develop Matilda the Musical seven years before it premiered in Stratford in 2010. Dennis Kelly had written for us before and his partnership with Tim Minchin, directed by Matthew Warchus, also an RSC alumnus, has created something truly original from Roald Dahl's dark and funny tale.
"It is great to share what we've made in Stratford with American audiences and to collaborate with US theatre makers, from Joseph Melillo and his team at BAM to our producing partners on Matilda the Musical, The Dodgers, and our presenting partners, The Ohio State University. Later this year, we will continue our collaboration with the NYC Department for Education to work with teachers and students across the City, and will begin work with The Public Theater and GableStage, on a production of Antony and Cleopatra later this year."
Catherine Mallyon said: "We are delighted to continue to share our work with New York audiences and to celebrate a hundred years of touring to the US. All we do is drawn from our base in Shakespeare's home town, where we've made our work for so many decades. All our props, costumes and armoury for Julius Caesar have been crafted or built by our makers in Stratford-upon-Avon, who also helped to create Matilda the Musical.
"We hope people enjoy our work in New York this spring and will consider joining the 20,000 US citizens who see productions at our Stratford-upon-Avon theatres each year. We reopened the transformEd Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres in 2010, bringing the audience as close as possible to the action on stage, and are hugely proud of our new theatre buildings, which offer so much for you to do, with events, exhibitions, and behind the scenes tours, alongside visits to Shakespeare's birthplace, his schoolroom, and the church where he is buried."
Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director: Gregory took over as the RSC's Artistic Director on 14 September 2012. He directed Julius Caesar for the World Shakespeare Festival and directed The Orphan of Zhao in the Swan in Stratford upon Avon as part of the Worlds Elsewhere Season. In October 2013 he will reunite with David Tennant, directing Richard II in the RST. The production will then transfer to the Barbican Theatre in December 2013.
His most recent RSC productions include: Written on the Heart, Cardenio, Morte d'Arthur, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Love's Labour's Lost. Other productions for the Company in the UK and internationally include: Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, All's Well That Ends Well, The Taming of the Shrew (and The Tamer Tamed), Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter's Tale, Othello, Merry Wives The Musical, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, King John, Timon of Athens, All Is True (Henry VIII), Venus and Adonis (in collaboration with The Little Angel Theatre), Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, Oroonoko by Biyi Bandele (after Aphra Behn), The Odyssey adapted by Derek Walcott, Jubilee by Peter Barnes, and The Canterbury Tales in an adaptation by Mike Poulton.
In 2002, Greg led a season of five seldom-performed Jacobean and Elizabethan plays and directed The Island Princess by John Fletcher. Greg and the Company enjoyed a sell out season at The Swan Theatre and a run at the Gielgud Theatre in London's West End, and received an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement of the Year. In 2005 he led the Gunpowder season in the Swan, directing Ben Jonson's Sejanus in this season of neglected Jacobean works.
His production of Hamlet, with David Tennant in the title role, won The Whatsonstage Best Regional Production and Theatre Event of the Year in 2009.
Elsewhere, his productions include: Anjin: The Shogun and The English Samurai by Mike Poulton and Shochiro Kawaii (Tokyo 2009 and 2012, Sadlers Wells 2013), The Merchant of Venice (Tokyo 2007), York Millennium Mystery Plays (York Minster), Black Comedy and The Real Inspector Hound (Donmar Warehouse Productions - Comedy Theatre), The Giant by Antony Sher (Hampstead Theatre), Mahler's Conversion by Ronald Harwood (Aldwych Theatre), Titus Andronicus (Market Theatre Johannesburg and RNT Studio - TMA Award for Best Production), Twelfth Night, Ulysses (in Dermot Bolger's adaptation, Philadelphia), A Midsummer Night's Dream (NY State University), The Joker of Seville (Walcott/McDermott musical, Boston/Trinidad), Edward Bond's September (Canterbury Cathedral), Someone to Watch Over Me (Theatr Clwyd), Two Dogs and Freedom (Sadlers Wells and Channel 4). As Artistic Director of Century Theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest, Bedroom Farce, An Inspector Calls, Private Lives. As Associate Director of Nottingham Playhouse: Long Day's Journey Into Night, Waiting For Godot, The Norman Conquests, Hester, The Rose and The Ring.
His filmed version of Hamlet (BBC2/Illuminations) was broadcast in the UK on Boxing Day 2009 and in the US on PBS. His other film work includes: Macbeth (Channel 4 / Illuminations) and A Midsummer Night's Dreaming (BBC4 documentary based on research for his own production); and he directed extracts from various Shakespeare plays for Michael Wood's BBC series, 'In Search of Shakespeare'. Illuminations also filmed his World Shakespeare Festival production of Julius Caesar, which was broadcast on BBC4 as part of the BBC's Shakespeare season for the Cultural Olympiad in June 2012.
With the British Library, Greg compiled two highly successful CDs of extracts from live recordings of great performances from Stratford since the late fifties: Essential Shakespeare LIVE!, and Essential Shakespeare ENCORE!
His writing credits include Woza Shakespeare! co-authored with Antony Sher about their production of Titus Andronicus in South Africa in 1995, The Shakespeare Almanac in 2009, and Shakespeare's Lost Play: In search of Cardenio in 2011.
Greg began his career with the RSC as an actor in the 1987-88 season, becoming an Assistant Director in 1989. He was made an Associate Director in 1996, and became Chief Associate Director in 2006. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute. In 2011 was awarded Honorary Doctorates by the University of Nottingham and the University of Bristol. He is also the 2012-13 incumbent of the Humanitas Visiting Professor in Drama at Oxford University.
In June 2012 he received the Sam Wanamaker Award from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, an annual award that recognizes and celebrates work which has increased the understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare.
Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director: Catherine Mallyon took up her post as Executive Director of the RSC in September 2012. She was previously Deputy Chief Executive of Southbank Centre, the largest single-run arts centre in the world. She led all Southbank Centre operational activity since 2005. Her major projects in that time include reopening Royal Festival Hall after refurbishment in 2007 and the renewal of Hayward Gallery in 2010.
In her previous career in arts management, Catherine was Head of Arts and Theatres at Reading Borough Council. There she managed all theatre and arts operations, programmed drama and classical music for the Hexagon and Concert Hall, and co-produced the WOMAD festival.
Prior to that, she was General Manager at Oxford Playhouse, including the Burton Taylor Studio Theatre. She is now a Board Trustee of The Playhouse. Catherine trained in general arts administration on Arts Council England's bursary program, after five years in the City as a trader and analyst. She plays violin and viola regularly with the Oxford Sinfonia.