Royal Shakespeare Company Announces 2014 Season
RSC ANNOUNCES SUMMER 2014 SEASON
The RSC's Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, and Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, announce the RSC's artistic programme for Summer 2014, their first full season of programming since taking over the Company.
- Henry IV Parts I & II - in Stratford-upon-Avon, Newcastle, on tour and in London at the Barbican
- The Two Gentlemen of Verona - first RST staging in 45 years
- New Shakespeare titles screened in cinemas 'Live From Stratford-upon-Avon' and streamed for free to schools
- 'Roaring Girls' season of Jacobethan plays in the Swan
- Shakespeare Nation - working with all 12 UK nations and regions to celebrate key jubilees
- Young Shakespeare Nation - new collaboration with the Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts
- 300,000 additional tickets on sale for Matilda The Musical
Season interviews with Gregory Doran, Erica Whyman and the 'Roaring Girls' directors available at: www.rsc.org.uk/summer14
Royal Shakespeare Theatre: 18 March - 6 September 2014
Gregory Doran follows his production of Richard II with Henry IV Parts I & II in his six year journey across the entire First Folio of 36 plays. RSC Associate Artist, Antony Sher, returns to the Company to play the infamous knight Falstaff. Antony Sher last performed as Prospero in the acclaimed co-production with Baxter Theatre Company of The Tempestin 2009 and is currently appearing in a new production of Hysteria at Hampstead Theatre. He will be joined by Alex Hassell, who returns to the company as Prince Hal, having performed at the RSC in 2011 in A Midsummer Night's Dream, The City Madam, and Gregory Doran's production of Cardenio. Jasper Britton will play Henry IV, following his last appearance at the RSC as the Marquis de Sade in Marat/Sade in 2011. Paola Dionisotti plays Mistress Quickly, following her performances as Pandulph in King John and Margaret in Richard III last year.
These two plays, with a cross-cast ensemble of actors, will transfer into the Barbican in London in December 2014, after runs in Stratford, Newcastle upon Tyne's Theatre Royal and a five week UK tour of Number One theatres. The RSC extends its relationship with the Barbican for a further two years following the transfer of Richard II this December. Alongside the plays, both organisations will collaborate on an extensive creative learning programme. The RSC Education and Events & Exhibitions departments will work in partnership with Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning to engage new and existing audiences with events, workshops and special projects in east London schools and communities.
Shakespeare's early exuberant romantic comedy about friendship and betrayal, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, will join the Royal Shakespeare Theatre repertoire from July 2014. Performed on the RST stage for the first time in 45 years, the production will be directed by Simon Godwin, making his RSC debut. Simon is an Associate Director at the Royal Court and at Bristol Old Vic. His production of Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude recently played to critical acclaim at The National Theatre.
All three productions will be broadcast 'Live from Stratford-upon-Avon' to cinemas around the world, through a continued partnership with Picturehouse Entertainment, and streamed free to schools, with the support of Ravensbourne College.
Swan Theatre: 5 April - 4 October 2014
The Swan Theatre returns to its original purpose as a home for the plays of Shakespeare's contemporaries with 'Roaring Girls', a season of three rarely performed Jacobethan plays. Led by Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, the season reveals some of the great parts written for and about women.
The repertoire opens in April with The Roaring Girl by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker, directed by Jo Davies. This delightfully subversive city comedy was written around 1607 about the fearless and feisty Moll Cutpurse who unmans all who cross her path. It is based on real life character Mary Frith and drawn from the slang 'roaring boy' for a carousing young man with exceptional fighting skills. It has only been performed once at the RSC; Barry Kyle directed Helen Mirren in the title role for a production which played in Stratford and London in 1983. Jo Davies began her career as an RSC Assistant Director and recently directed Opera North's acclaimed production of Carousel. She is currently working on Silly Kings for National Theatre Wales, which opens in Cardiff later this year.
The second play in the season is Arden of Faversham, written in 1592 and published anonymously, but attributed variously to Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare. This wonderfully dark and dirty story of domestic portrayal is based on a true story of a successful businessman who was murdered by his wife Alice and her lover. The part of Alice Arden is the largest role for a woman in all Elizabethan drama. The play has only been performed twice by the RSC, in 1982, directed by Terry Hands at The Other Place, and in 1970, directed by Buzz Goodbody in a landmark production at the Roundhouse as part of the Theatregoround Festival. Polly Findlay makes her RSC directorial debut with this production, having recently directed the Olivier-award winningDerren Brown: Svengali and Antigone for The National Theatre. She is directing War Horsefor the National in Berlin and will direct a new play by Tim Price at The National Theatre Shed later this year.
The final play in the season is The White Devil. Maria Aberg, who has recently directed As You Like It and King John for the RSC, will take a gloriously bold approach to this bloodthirsty tale of murder and revenge by John Webster. One of the great works of Jacobean theatre, the play made its stage debut in 1612 and was described as a 'compellingly dangerous and fascinating play'. It has only had one previous production at the RSC, in 1996 directed by Gale Edwards.
The 'Roaring Girls' season will also include a limited run of our award-winning production ofThe Rape of Lucrece featuring internationally-acclaimed performer and singer Camille O'Sullivan. The provocative and politically-charged epic poem has been adapted for the stage by Elizabeth Freestone, Feargal Murray and Camille O'Sullivan and is directed by Elizabeth Freestone. It was originally performed as part of the reopening of the RSC's Stratford theatres and has since been a hit at the Edinburgh and Sydney Festivals. The production's international tour continues to Dublin, Derry/Londonderry and the Netherlands during the autumn 2013.
Shakespeare Nation - 'Dream 16'
The RSC will lead a nationwide celebration of Shakespeare over the next three years, building from the 450th anniversary of his birth on 23 April 2014 to the 400th anniversary of his death on 23 April 2016.
From next spring, the RSC's work will be seen in Stratford-upon-Avon, in London, in Newcastle upon Tyne, on tour nationally and internationally. The celebrations culminate in 2016 with 'Dream 16', a nationwide tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The production, which opens in Stratford-upon-Avon, will be co-produced with partner theatres and amateur companies in all twelve nations and regions of the UK. In every location, Bottom and the rude mechanicals will be played by a local amateur group and Titania's fairy train by local schoolchildren.
'Dream 16' builds on the RSC's already strong and extensive relationships with theatres around the UK, established through a 35 year regional touring programme, its successful Open Stages celebration of amateur theatre, and its Learning and Performance Network of more than 400 schools and ten partner theatres.
'Dream 16' will be an opportunity for the Company to open up its artistic process and will include streamed rehearsals and interactive workshops as a means to share the excitement of making theatre.
Young Shakespeare Nation
As part of Shakespeare Nation, the RSC, in partnership with HRH The Prince of Wales' charity The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts, launches Young Shakespeare Nation. This new initiative invites schools, students and teachers across the UK to join the RSC on an ambitious journey through Shakespeare's plays, giving a new generation of students the chance to discover and experience the breadth of his work. Both organisations are committed to reaching students and schools who would otherwise not have easy access to these kinds of cultural experiences.
Every school is invited to take part and teachers can choose from a range of options to explore the plays: participating in Live Theatre experiences, free broadcasts of productions into classrooms, or teacher professional development and workshops for students. Teachers will be supported with a range of tools, resources and opportunities, which will be made available as each of the plays is performed in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
First Encounter: The Taming of the Shrew
One of the opportunities for young people to see the RSC's work live is through the First Encounter production of The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Michael Fentiman, who has directed Titus Andronicus this summer. The production is aimed at 8-13 year olds and tells the story of two people's rollercoaster journey towards becoming the perfect match. It uses a distilled version of the original text, and includes both an introduction to the performance and a chance to hear from the actors, to create a great first experience of seeing Shakespeare live.
The Taming of the Shrew will open in February 2014 in The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, before embarking on a six week UK tour of schools and regional theatres, then travelling to the US to play at The Ohio State University. UK locations include the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury; St George's Hall, Bradford; The Grand Theatre, Blackpool; Curve, Leicester; and the New Vic in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Matilda The Musical
Matilda The Musical continues to play successfully at the Cambridge Theatre, having won 47 awards worldwide. Over 1 million people have seen the show in the UK since its opening in Stratford-upon-Avon. A further 300,000 tickets go on sale today, through to December 2014.
The RSC continues to offer its hugely successful £5 ticket scheme to 16-25 year olds and the Cambridge Theatre opens its doors each day to a queue of young people waiting to buy day seats. Over 8,000 tickets for Matilda have been sold under this scheme to date.
On Broadway, Matilda The Musical, produced by the RSC and the Dodgers, continues its successful run at the Shubert Theater. More than 260,000 people have seen the show in the US and it has broken box office records at the Shubert for its grosses.
Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said: 'The next three years span two significant anniversaries for Shakespeare; the 450th anniversary of his birth in 2014 and 400th anniversary of his death in 2016. These landmark dates have helped to frame our programming over this jubilee period.
'Under the banner Shakespeare Nation, we will lead a truly nationwide celebration of our greatest playwright, starting next summer and culminating in 2016 with a national tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with Bottom and the rude mechanicals played by amateur groups in every location. We will build on our decades long relationships with theatres all over the country and will continue our collaborations with amateur companies across the UK. I am also delighted that we are working with our President HRH Prince Charles' charity, The Prince's Foundation for Children & The Arts, for the first time as we launch Young Shakespeare Nation, our education initiative to inspire a new Shakespeare generation.
'Central to this aspiration is our intention to stage each of Shakespeare's plays just once in the next six years to 2019, making every play an event. This means a whole generation of students and theatregoers can journey with us through Shakespeare's Complete Works - on stage in Stratford-upon-Avon, on tour, in London, online or live on screen.
'Next summer, I will continue my own exploration of Shakespeare's History Plays withHenry IV Parts I & II and I am so pleased to be directing Antony Sher as Falstaff, Alex Hassell as Hal, Jasper Britton as King Henry and Paola Dionisotti as Mistress Quickly. These productions will be joined in repertoire by one of Shakespeare's earliest plays, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, performed on our main stage for the first time in 45 years and directed by Simon Godwin, making his RSC debut. It's great that we are able to continue our 'Live from Stratford-upon-Avon' broadcasts and audiences across the world will be able to watch all three productions live in cinemas.
'I am delighted to be announcing today, with the Barbican, a three year collaboration to bring our work to London audiences. We have thoroughly enjoyed working together as we plan the transfer of my production of Richard II to the Barbican this autumn and we will continue to expand our collaborative partnership next year with Henry IV Parts I & II over the winter of 2014/15, followed by a further programme in 2015/16. The Barbican is internationally renowned for its artistic programming and I am especially pleased that, alongside the plays, we will be working together with the Barbican on a creative learning programme of events and education projects.
'In Stratford, we return the Swan Theatre to its roots as a space to present the work of Shakespeare's contemporaries. Erica Whyman, my Deputy Artistic Director, will lead the 'Roaring Girls' season, reviving a series of fantastic Jacobethan plays with wonderful roles for women at their centre.
'As we approach the jubilee years of 2014 and 2016, I want to give people the strongest possible reasons to visit us in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's home town, and restate our commitment to Shakespeare at the core of our work, putting his plays in conversation with each other and with the work of other classical writers and today's playwrights.'
Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director, said: 'We have had a very successful summer and booking for our winter season is extremely strong, so we are feeling very positive as we go forward into the first full year of programming with Greg as Artistic Director. Our Stratford theatres have proved a real draw for more than a million visitors each year and we look forward to building deeper relationships with our audiences everywhere as we stage all of Shakespeare's plays over the next six years.