Royal Shakespeare Company Returns To The Barbican In 2019-20

By: May. 08, 2019
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Later this year, the three Shakespeare productions from the Royal Shakespeare Company's (RSC) Summer 2019 Stratford season transfer to the Barbican from 26 October 2019. The Company features 27 actors, who each appear across two of the three productions:

As You Like It, directed by Kimberley Sykes: 26 October 2019 - 18 January 2020

The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Justin Audibert: 5 November 2019 - 18 January 2020

Measure for Measure, directed by Gregory Doran: 12 November 2019 - 16 January 2020


Following her roles in Dido, Queen of Carthage, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra in 2017, Lucy Phelps plays Rosalind in Kimberley Sykes' production of As You Like It which opens the season. She is joined by David Ajao as Orlando, whose previous productions for the RSC include The Merchant of Venice, Othello and Hecuba. There will be a Chilled Performance of As You Like It on Thursday 5 December, the first of its kind at the Barbican.

RSC Director of Design, Stephen Brimson Lewis designs the set for As You Like It with Bretta Gerecke designing both costumes and lighting in a first for the RSC. Music is composed by Tim Sutton, with sound by Jonathan Ruddick and movement by Ayse Tashkiran. Fights by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown. Puppetry Director and Co-Designer by Mervyn Millar.

For full cast and creative details:


Having last been at the RSC in 2017 to direct Snow in Midsummer in the Swan Theatre, Justin Audibert returns to direct a staging of The Taming of the Shrew, set in a world in which women hold the power. In a cast where women play roles written as men, and men play roles written as women, Claire Price plays Petruchia and Joseph Arkley plays Katherine.

The set for The Taming of the Shrew is designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis with costume design by Hannah Clark and lighting by Matt Peel. Music is composed by Ruth Chan, sound by Claire Windsor, and movement by Lucy Cullingford. Fights are by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown.

For full cast and creative details:


Last to join the repertoire will be Measure for Measure, directed by RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran. Sandy Grierson, who played the roles of Faustus and Mephistopheles in Maria Aberg's 2016 production of Dr Faustus, plays Angelo, and following his performance as Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, Antony Byrne returns to play The Duke. They are joined by Lucy Phelps in the role of Isabella.

The set and costumes for Measure for Measure are designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis, with lighting by Simon Spencer. Music is composed by Paul Englishby. Sound is by Steven Atkinson, movement by Lucy Cullingford and fights are by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown.

Find full cast and creative details:

The three productions will be going on tour to Salford in 2019, before visiting Canterbury, Plymouth, Nottingham, Newcastle upon Tyne and Blackpool in 2020.

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said about the season:

"This season we have worked particularly hard to assemble a company which reflects the nation in ways it has never done before. We have introduced a 50/50 gender balanced ensemble across the entire season for the very first time and brought together talent from all corners of the United Kingdom, reflecting both the ethnic, geographical and cultural diversity of Britain today and those artists that are underrepresented on our stages. We want to create a season of work which places contemporary audiences at its heart, which speaks directly to the present moment. I've always been struck by Shakespeare's use of the word 'now'. It's his favourite word. He starts plays with it ("Now is the winter of our discontent"), introduces choruses with it ('Now entertain conjecture of a time"). "Now, now, very now"! It takes you right into the moment. The stories he tells may have been written down hundreds of years ago but they're happening now, to all of us. I hope this season will express the Now, now, very now-ness of Shakespeare's plays."

Toni Racklin, Barbican Head of Theatre, added:

"We're delighted to welcome the RSC back to the Barbican, its London home. We're looking forward to presenting this exciting combination of plays for which the RSC has assembled a group of actors, representative of our nation and particularly relevant in a megacity like London. Rounding off the season our two organisations co-host 'Towards a Creative Curriculum' at the Barbican, an important all-day event for teachers designed to enhance arts education in schools. And for the first time the RSC brings a 'chilled performance' to our stage, which takes a welcoming approach to noise and movement in the auditorium, allowing even more audiences to experience Shakespeare."


Alongside the season, Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning and RSC Education will collaborate on a conference aimed at teachers from early years to Key Stage 3.

Towards a Creative Curriculum will focus on how arts and cultural learning support the new Ofsted framework. It will offer inspiring professional learning opportunities for teachers who want to develop and extend their knowledge and understanding of arts-based learning in the classroom. The conference will also provide a platform for sharing best practice from across the country as well as the latest research and evidence about the positive difference arts and cultural learning make to young people and school communities.

Towards a Creative Curriculum will support teachers to develop their knowledge about the ways in which arts and cultural learning can support children and young people to develop resilience and creativity and ultimately find their voice.

The conference will take place at the Barbican on Friday 10 January 2020.


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