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Royal Shakespeare Company Announces 2012/13 Season


Following the World Shakespeare Festival, the RSC's winter season opens in October with a family show - a new adaptation of Russell Hoban's classic children's story The Mouse and His Child. Acclaimed as one of the classics of 20th century children's literature, The Mouse and His Child is a moving story about two clockwork mice thrown on a scrap heap who then have tobegin a dangerous quest for a place to belong. It is adapted for the stage by Tamsin Oglesby and will be directed by Told By An Idiot's Co-Artistic Director, Paul Hunter, who directed the RSC's recent Young People's Shakespeare production of The Comedy of Errors.

This continues the RSC's long tradition of creating and staging new adaptations of much-loved childhood tales – including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, The Heart of Robin Hood, and Matilda The Musical, the RSC's award-winning adaptation of Roald Dahl's book (currently playing in the West End).

The Mouse and His Child will play in repertoire with the light-hearted Shakespeare comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor, further details of which to be announced.

Swan Theatre – 'A World Elsewhere' 

Meanwhile, the Swan Theatre premieres a trilogy of newly-adapted international plays, in repertoire from November, under the banner 'A World Elsewhere' (a quote from Shakespeare'sCoriolanus, sharply reminding Rome's citizens that there are other countries and cultures apart from their own). Curated by Chief Associate Director Gregory Doran and Associate Director, Roxana Silbert, the ambition of the season is to explore what was going on in the rest of the world in Shakespeare's lifetime.

Gregory Doran will open the season with a startling discovery. Sometimes referred to as the ChineseHamlet, and tracing its origins to the 4th century BC, The Orphan of Zhao is a powerful tale of self-sacrifice and revenge. It became the first Chinese play to be translated in the West, in an adaptation by Voltaire.  This production, based in part on a version by Ji Junxiang, published in 1615, is adapted by James Fenton.

Next to Russia, and an adaptation by Adrian Mitchell of Alexander Pushkin's play, Boris Godunov. Pushkin is thought by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the father of Russian Literature. He wrote Boris Godunov in 1825, inspired by Shakespeare's Macbeth. Its subject is the ruthless Boris Godunov, Tsar from 1598 to 1605, who was rumoured to have murdered the Tsarevich Dmitry in order to seize power. Michael Boyd will direct what will be the culmination of a thread of Russian work he has initiated in the past few years (The Grain Store/The Drunks)and his final production as Artistic Director of the RSC before he steps down at the end of 2012. This will be the first time this adaptation has been staged.  It was Adrian Mitchell's final project, completed before his death in 2008.

Then to Italy, for Bertolt Brecht's Galileo, which will play in repertoire in a new translation by Mark Ravenhill, who has recently been appointed the Company's latest Writer in Residence. Arguably, Brecht's greatest play, Galileo explores the confrontation of religious fundamentalism and scientific evidence, through the trial of the great scientist and philosopher Galileo in 1616. Roxana Silbert will direct what will be her final production as RSC Associate Director before she takes up her new position as Artistic Director of Birmingham Rep.

And finally, in London, under the umbrella of 'A World Elsewhere', a spectacular Japanese epic, especially commissioned for 'A World Elsewhere'. Anjin: The English Samurai tells the story of William Adams, the first Englishman in Japan, who was shipwrecked off the coast in 1600. He arrived at a pivotal moment in Japanese history, and became close to the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The play is a major Anglo-Japanese cultural event, co-authored by Mike Poulton and Sho Kawai and with a cast of British and Japanese actors. This production, directed by Gregory Doran, builds on a long relationship between the RSC, Thelma Holt and the Japanese media company Horipro. The production is spoken in both Japanese and English with surtitles and transfers direct from Tokyo to Sadler's Wells, for just ten performances in January 2013.

A full range of supporting events and exhibitions will be announced in due course.

RSC touring and education partnership 2012 - 2015

From April 2012, the RSC begins a new touring and education partnership with five regional theatres:Hull Truck Theatre Company, Newcastle Theatre Royal, York Theatre Royal, Hall for Cornwall andNuffield Theatre, Southampton. 

The partnership will grow the success of the RSC's Learning and Performance Network (LPN), which currently has nearly 400 schools in areas of social and economic disadvantage, teaching Shakespeare in active ways which inspire young people.  The partner theatres will use the successful 'hub school and cluster' model, developed by the RSC for the LPN, to run three-year programmes with schools in Hull, Middlesbrough, York, Cornwall and Southampton, offering training, development and performance opportunities for artists, students and teachers, supported by RSC practitioners. 

It will also allow the RSC to take its work right into the heart of communities, into both schools and local theatres. Building on the success of recent Young People's Shakespeare tours of Hamlet and The Comedy of Errors, a new RSC YPS production of King Lear will tour all five locations this autumn (dates to be announced). Adapted and directed by Tim Crouch, this latest 70-minute production will be an explosive introduction to Shakespeare for students who are least likely to access this work. As previously announced, this production will also play in New York in a collaboration with Park Avenue Armory. The RSC has been creating these edited versions of Shakespeare's plays for young audiences aged 8 and upwards since 2008, as a way of transforming student experiences of Shakespeare.

Headline activities for the programme include:


-        Professional development of teachers and theatre staff through the RSC's post-graduate qualification (PG Cert) in teaching Shakespeare and school-based training provided by RSC practitioners. 

-        Young People's Shakespeare King Lear residency at partner theatre and hub school


-        All the hub and cluster schools work with the RSC and their local partner theatre on a collaborative artist-led project.


-        Each group of schools runs a local Shakespeare performance festival, hosted by the partner theatre, to share and celebrate what they've learnt.  Lead teachers will work with the RSC and the partner theatre to develop work which will come to Stratford as part of the RSC's national Learning and Performance Network celebrations

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