RSC ‘MISCHIEF FESTIVAL’ 31 May – 23 June 2018

Mischief Festival 2018

The Royal Shakespeare Company announced details for the Spring 2018 ‘Mischief Festival’ at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon starting in May 2018. This month-long festival features two new plays exploring global questions of truth, corruption and freedom; #WeAreArrested and Day of the Living. Led by Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman, the festival will include:

  • #WeAreArrested, the true story of journalist Can Dündar’s commitment to expose the truth in the face of huge personal risk.
  • Day of the Living, inspired by the events in Ayotzinapa, Mexico 2014 when 43 students were forcibly taken and disappeared.
  • Written and performed by Nell Leyshon, Three Letters, is one woman’s story of how her reinvention of herself after having had children is halted by illness.
  • Research & Development work-in-progress public reading of Redefining Juliet.
  • A series of events giving an insight into the influences and decisions that have created the festival productions.
  • Watch the RSC’s film about Can Dündar here

The book #WeAreArrested was written by journalist Can Dündar. It documents his enthralling account of receiving a critical piece of evidence confirming the illegal shipment of weapons to Syria by the Turkish government, his newspaper’s decision to publish that evidence, and his subsequent arrest and imprisonment. Following research and development at The Other Place in 2017, the book has been adapted by Pippa Hill and Sophie Ivatts to create this ground-breaking new play, #WeAreArrested, which will also be directed by Sophie Ivatts. This deeply moving play is a tribute to the bravery of journalists under threat around the globe, exploring the true story of a journalist’s commitment to expose the truth in the face of huge personal risks.

Can Dündar is one of the best-known figures in Turkish Media. Dündar is the recipient of many major awards including the Whistleblower Award, the Gustav-Heinemann-Burgerfeis Award, the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award for Freedom of Expression and was named European Journalist of the Year. Together with Erdem Gül, he was awarded in 2016 the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media by the Leipzig Media Foundation. Pippa Hill is the RSC’s Literary Manager and has worked across a huge range of plays and projects. Sophie Ivatts is a freelance director, writer and script-editor, who develops original drama for both stage and screen.She was the Associate Director for the RSC’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation and was the Clore Fellow for Theatre for 2016/17.

Created by Darren Clark, Amy Draper and Juliet Gilkes Romero, Day of the Living is in response to the 2014 ‘forced disappearance’ of 43 male students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico. This unsolved crime will be the source of this devised anarchic, musical tribute to life and the Mexican spirit with urgent, global issues at its heart.

Darren Clark is an award-winning writer of music and lyrics for the theatre. His credits include The Wicker Husband (Winner of Stiles & Drewe Award 2016), Scarecrows Wedding (UK Tour, Leicester Square Theatre) and These Trees Are Made of Blood(Southwark Playhouse/Arcola Theatre), a play he collaborated on with Amy Draper. Theatre director and creator Amy Draper’s other recent work includes Hansel and Gretel (Iris Theatre) and Princess Charming (Ovalhouse). In 2013 Amy was the Community Director for the CASA Latin American Theatre Festival. Juliet Gilkes Romero is an award-winning playwright and journalist. She has reported for the BBC from countries including Cuba, Ethiopia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Juliet is currently the RSC and Birmingham University Creative Fellow. Her recent plays include Upper Cut (Southwark Playhouse),Razing Cane (shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award) and radio play One Hot Summer (Radio 4).

Three Letters joins the festival for a limited run of two performances. Nell Leyshon performs her own story of how her reinvention of herself after having had children is halted by illness. It is a story of the body, medicine, statistics and the NHS; a story of motherhood and being a woman; a story of writing and performing told with soul-bearing honesty.

The R&D work-in-progress readings are a chance to see inside the creative engine room of The Other Place where the RSC explores new ideas and exciting theatrical opportunities. Our sharing for the festival R&D of Redefining Juliet will be on Friday 22 June. Being developed by Storme Toolis and Alice Knight, Redefining Juliet is a frank and feisty re-telling of the greatest love story of all time, casting six diverse Juliets: each owning the iconic Shakespearean heroine for themselves. Developed in collaboration with the RSC and the Barbican.

Festival Events

Creative Team Talk:
Day of the Living 
Saturday 2 June, 6pm
#WeAreArrested Monday 4 June, 6pm
A chance to hear members of the creative teams in conversation, revealing some of the influences and decisions that have created the productions. From rehearsal room processes and design choices, to characterisation and relationships this is a fascinating insight into the creative process.

Post Show Talk: #WeAreArrested and Day of the Living
Tuesday 12 June (BSL Interpreted) and Monday 18 June
An opportunity after the show to ask members of the acting company questions about the productions, the actor’s process and what it’s like to work for the RSC. Post Show Talks take place after the performance, and are free with a show ticket.


To book call 01789 403493 or online at

Festival Dates

#WeAreArrested and Day of the Living 
Playing as a double bill Thursday 31 May – Saturday 23 June, with press performances on Tuesday 5 June, 7pm. Tickets: £15

Three Letters
Wednesday 6 June and Friday 8 June, 1.30pm. Tickets £5

Redefining Juliet R&D reading
Friday 22 June, 2.30pm. Tickets £5

Full casting announced for The Cherry Orchard, a Bristol Old Vic and Royal Exchange Theatre co-production

The Cherry Orchard
The Cherry Orchard

The Cherry Orchard

Full casting for Michael Boyd’s much anticipated production of The Cherry Orchard is announced today as rehearsals begin for the Bristol Old Vic and Royal Exchange Theatre co-production. Rory Mullarkey’s brand-new translation will be directed by Boyd, celebrated former Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Having studied Russian and trained as a director in Moscow, extraordinarily, he will be directing Chekhov – the literary love of his life – for the first time.

Kirsty Bushell and Jude Owusu lead the ensemble in this vivid new production, which opens at Bristol Old Vic 1 March – 7 April, before transferring to Manchester’s Royal Exchange from 19 April – 19 May.

Chekhov’s final masterpiece is full of wild humour and piercing sadness in this fresh, funny and honest new translation. A portrait of changing times, it maps the bittersweet tensions between the desperate longing to hold onto what is familiar, and the restless lure of the new. Revolution hangs in the air, the poor and hungry are pushing at the doors, and a civilised and complacent culture is on the brink of collapse…

 Kirsty Bushell plays Ranyevskaya, a woman whose liberal world of privilege and pleasure is beginning to show cracks while she and her family live on in denial. Kirsty was recently seen on television in BBC’s Motherland, but it is on stage where she has earned her renowned reputation. Her career is one of dynamic variety, spanning roles from Olivia in the RSC’s Twelfth Night and Juliet for Shakespeare’s Globe

to Vittoria in The White Devil (RSC), the title role in Hedda Gabler, and the recent “pitch-perfect” Regan opposite Ian McKellan’s King Lear. Her career also spans new works such as the recent Boys will Be Boys (Headlong/Bush), Torn for the Royal Court and Disgraced (The Bush). She regularly works with some of the leading directors in the world, including Ivo Van Hove, Michael Grandage and Maria Aberg, appearing regularly with the RSC, National Theatre and Royal Court.

 Jude Owusu plays the successful businessman Lopakhin, who has loved Ranyevskaya since childhood and now hopes to be her salvation. Jude’s recent theatre work includes A Tale of Two Cities (Regent’s Park), Gregory Doran’s Julius Caesar, Tim Crouch’s I, Cinna (both RSC/West End) and The Comedy of Errors (National Theatre). His television work includes the acclaimed The Hollow Crown series for BBC.

 They are joined by Simon Coates in the role of Ranyevskaya’s well-intentioned but delusional brother Gayev. Simon has worked extensively with the National Theatre and the RSC, appearing throughout the world in many celebrated productions including: Robert Lepage’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tim Supple’s The Comedy of Errors, David Farr’s Coriolanus, Robert Icke’s 1984 and Declan Donnellan’s As You Like It, for which he received an Olivier award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and a New York Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor.

BAFTA-nominated Togo Igawa takes the role of Gayev’s elderly servant Firs. In 1986, he became the first Japanese actor to join The Royal Shakespeare Company. His work spans stage, film, anime, games and television. Stage work includes, Her Voice (Dublin Theatre Festival), Pacific Overtures (Donmar), and The Fair Maid of the West (RSC). His film work is extensive and includes Star Wars – The Last Jedi (2017), 47 Ronin (2013), The Last Samurai (2004), Topsy-Turvy (2000) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

Landowner Pischik is played by Julius D’Silva. His extensive theatre credits include Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom (West Yorkshire Playhouse & Toronto), Made In Dagenham (Adelphi Theatre), Anne Boleyn (Shakespeare’s Globe/ETT), Oliver! (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) and Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe). He has previously worked with Michael Boyd as part of the RSC’s Olivier Award-winningHistories Ensemble 2006–2008. His film credits include Notes on a Scandal and Endgame, and he can currently be seen in TV drama The Crown.

Éva Magyar takes the role of Charlotta. Born in Hungary, she originally took the UK theatre scene by storm with her performance as Yseult in the original Kneehigh/National Theatre production of Tristan and Yseult. Her recent roles include Berthe in Ivo Van Hove’s Hedda Gabler (National Theatre) and the title role of Marlene for Tristan Bates Theatre. Jack Monaghan plays the clerk Yepikhodov. He recently played Benjamin in The Graduate (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Albert in the West End run of War Horse, as well as performing at Shakespeare’s Globe in As You Like It, and at Hampstead Theatre in Deposit.

Bristol Old Vic welcomes back Emma Naomi in the role of the family’s maid, Dunyasha (previously The Crucible, Bristol Old Vic) andEnyi Okoronkwo as the eternal student Trofimov (previously Junkyard, Bristol Old Vic).

The cast also includes two recent Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduates and 2017 Peter O’Toole Prize winners, Verity Blyth as Ranyevskaya’s daughter Anya (13, Tobacco Factory Theatres) and Rosy McEwan as Varya (Julius Caesar, Bristol Old Vic).

They are joined by Hayden Mclean as Yasha (Fair to Middling, New Wimbledon Studio; Ages, Old Vic London), Joseph Hardy (Façade/Strange Joy, East London Music Group) and Harry Humberstone (Ablutions, FellSwoop Theatre).

Michael Boyd, lauded former Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, was a trainee director in Moscow at the start of his career, and only now directs his first Chekhov play for Bristol Old Vic and the Royal Exchange Theatre. With a unique ‘in the round’ design created by Tom Piper (co-designer of the poppy installation at the Tower of London in 2014; Romeo and Juliet, RSC; and A Midsummers Night’s Dream, RSC and UK tour), Bristol Old Vic’s theatre will be transformed into a full circle of seating, which mirrors the unique auditorium at the Exchange, allowing audiences to experience every part of this rich and rewarding masterpiece up-close and from every angle.

Rory Mullarkey is a prize-winning playwright and translator. He was the Pearson Writer in Residence at the Royal Exchange, Manchester where he became the youngest playwright ever staged at the Exchange’s main theatre aged just 25. His debut play Cannibals was hailed “one of the most provocative, original and disturbing debuts since Blasted”. In 2014, Rory won the Harold Pinter Playwriting Prize, the George Devine Award (jointly with Alice Birch) and the James Tait Black Prize for Drama. His most recent production was the National theatre’s Saint George and the Dragon and he is currently under commission to the Royal Exchange, The Royal Court, The Almeida and the Michael Grandage Company.


A Bristol Old Vic and Royal Exchange Theatre co-production


Writer Anton Chekhov

Translation Rory Mullarkey

Director Michael Boyd

Designer Tom Piper NATIONAL PRESS NIGHT: Thursday 8 March, 7pm (Bristol Old Vic)

1 Mar – 7 Apr 2018



£35.50-£7.50 / 0117 987 7877 @BristolOldVic #CherryOrchard

19 Apr – 19 May 2018 ROYAL EXCHANGE THEATRE THE THEATRE, St Ann’s Square, Manchester M2 7DH 7.30pm2.30pm (MATS) Standard tickets from £17.00 / 0161 833 9833 @rxtheatre #CherryOrchard

RSC casting update for Gregory Doran’s Production of King Lear with Antony Sher

Royal Shakespeare Company

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon: 23 May – 9 June 2018

Following its acclaimed performances during the 2016 repertoire in both Stratford-upon-Avon and at the Barbican in London, RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran revives his production of King Lear, with RSC Honorary Associate Artist Antony Sher returning in the title role.

Antony Sher reprises his performance in one of the greatest parts written by Shakespeare in this production which will enjoy a limited run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) after touring to New York to play at the Harvey Theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in April.

Along with many other members of the original cast, David Troughton and Antony Byrne return to play Gloucester and Kent respectively. Davidwho recently became an RSC Honorary Associate Artist, will also play Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor in the RST next season.  Antony, an RSC Associate Artist, is currently playing Antony in Antony and Cleopatra at the Barbican.

Mimi Ndiweni joins the company as Cordelia.  Mimi’s previous RSC credits include Wendy and Peter PanThe Taming of the Shrew and Revolt. She said. Revolt Again.

The cast also includes: Romayne Andrews (Regan’s Servant), James Clyde (Cornwall), James Cooney (Regan’s Servant), Patrick Elue (Burgundy), Kevin N Golding (Curan), Tracy-Anne Green (Regan’s Servant), Nia Gwynne (Goneril), Oliver Johnstone (Edgar), Whitney Kehinde (Regan’s Messenger), Byron Mondahl (Oswald), Esther Niles (Regan’s Messenger), John Omole (Lear’s Gentleman), Clarence Smith (Albany), Buom Tihngang(Edmund), Graham Turner (Fool), Ewart James Walters (Old Man) and Kelly Williams (Regan).

The creative team for King Lear remains the same as in the original production, with set and costumes designed by Niki Turner; lighting by Tim Mitchell, movement by Michael Ashcroft. Sound is by Jonathan Ruddick and music is composed by Ilona Sekacz. The fights are by Bret Yount.
Mad King/Fat Knight – Paintings and Drawings by Antony Sher
PACCAR Room, Level 2, Royal Shakespeare Theatre
from 19 May 2018. Free entry.

From 19 May the RSC will, for the first time, host an exhibition of the works of art created by Antony Sher.  Performing with the RSC for over 35 years, Antony has taken inspiration from the rehearsal room and on-stage performances, creating a captivating account of his experiences through compelling artwork.

With large scale oil paintings, drawings and doodles, the display of over 40 works of art will offer a fascinating peek into the theatrical process, giving an insight into Antony’s preparation for two of his most memorable roles, Sir John Falstaff (Henry IV) and King Lear.

Artworks from the exhibition will be sold, and part of the profits will go to the Stitch In Time campaign to restore and redevelop the RSC’s Costume Workshop. Antony Sher is a generous member of the Costume Workshop Council. For more information on how to support this campaign please visit

In Conversation with Antony Sher
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
7 June, 5.30pm

On Thursday 7 June 2018 at 5.30pm there will be an In Conversation event with Antony Sher in the RST to celebrate the publication of his new book Year of the Mad King: The Lear Diaries (published by Nick Hern Books).

Following on from Sher’s previous book Year of the Fat KnightThe Falstaff Diaries – which followed his development of his role as Falstaff in Henry IV Parts I and II (part of the RSC’s King and Country season directed by Doran) – this book is based on Antony’s experience performing King Lear in Doran’s original 2016 production. Year of the Mad King provides a first-hand insight into the research, rehearsal and development of his Lear. The event will be followed by a book signing.

Full Casting announced for RSC National Tour of Hamlet

Paapa Essiedu
Paapa Essiedu

Paapa Essiedu

Tour opens in Salford, before visiting Plymouth, Hull, Newcastle Upon Tyne and Northampton, January – March 2018. Production then runs at Hackney Empire between 6 And 31 March 2018.

National Press Night: Tuesday 30 January 2018 at The Lowry, Salford

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will tour its acclaimed production of Hamlet, originally seen in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016, to Salford, Plymouth, Hull, Newcastle upon Tyne and Northampton between January and March 2018, before transferring to London’s Hackney Empire between 6 and 31 March 2018.

“A landmark production” Financial Times
“Simply a terrific Hamlet, a blazing new star standing at the heart of an intelligent and engrossing production” TheSunday Times

Directed by Simon Godwin, the production will see RSC Associate Artist Paapa Essiedu reprise his award-winning performance in the title role as one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic heroes.

Joining Paapa in the cast are Romayne Andrews (Rosencrantz), Lorna Brown (Gertrude), James Cooney(Horatio), Patrick Elue (Fortinbras), Kevin N Golding (Player King), Tracy-Anne Green (Player), Maureen Hibbert(Player Queen), Whitney Kehinde (Cornelia), Byron Mondahl (Professor of Wittenberg), Joseph Mydell (Polonius),Mimi Ndiweni (Ophelia), Esther Niles (Osric), John Omole (Voltemand), Clarence Smith (Claudius), Buom Tihngang (Laertes), Ewart James Walters (Ghost) and Eleanor Wyld (Guildenstern).

RSC Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, said: “We are passionate about taking the productions we make in our home in Stratford-upon-Avon to theatres across the UK.  In 2018 we are glad that many people across the country will have the opportunity to see our work at their local theatre. As well as Hamlet, our acclaimed production of Matilda The Musical will also embark on its first UK and Ireland tour, and our First Encounters with Shakespeare production of Julius Caesar will visit schools and theatres between January -March.”

Paapa Essiedu won Best Performance in a Play at the UK Theatre Awards in 2016 for his role as Hamlet.  Paapa’s other RSC credits include Edmund in King Lear, Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The Mouse and his Child.  Additional theatre credits include King Lear (National Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Tobacco Factory).  He played Demetrius in Russell T Davies’ adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for BBC1 (2016), and appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s 2017 film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. Paapa will shortly be seen on TV in The Miniaturist and Mike Bartlett’s Press (both BBC 1) and Jack Thorne’s Kiri (Channel 4).

See Paapa talking about the role:

Simon Godwin’s work as a director includes The Two Gentlemen of Verona (RSC), Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe),Twelfth Night, Man and Superman, The Beaux’ Stratagem and Strange Interlude (National Theatre). He is Associate Director at the National Theatre, and was Associate Director at Northampton Royal & Derngate between 2001-04.

Simon Godwin said: “I’m delighted that Hamlet will be touring in 2018.  Paapa Essiedu is British with Ghanaian heritage. When Paapa and I talked about the production, I realised how radical it might be to see Denmark through the lens of a completely different culture, a culture that Paapa himself had experienced.  I began to imagine a Denmark re-conceived as a modern state influenced by the ritual, traditions and beauty of west Africa.  So, our setting is full of the colour, emotional intensity and passion associated with that part of the world.

“As Hamlet, Paapa is intelligent, youthful and charismatic, with a contemporary wit.  But Paapa’s portrayal is also mercurial with an element of danger.

“Part ghost story, part family tragedy, part dark comedy, Hamlet is an urgent and gripping thriller.  I can’t wait to see how audiences respond to it around the country.”

Watch a clip from the production in 2016:–tWffBTyqM

Hamlet is directed by Simon Godwin and designed by Paul Wills with lighting by Paul Anderson. Music for the production is composed by Jamiroquai percussionist Sola Akingbola. Sound is by Christopher Shutt. Movement byMbulelo Ndabeni. Fights by Kev McCurdy.


Hamlet performance dates

National press night: Tuesday 30 January 2018 at The Lowry, Salford

The Lowry, Salford
26 January – 3 February 2018
Box Office: 0843 208 6000
Theatre Royal Plymouth
6 – 10 February 2018
Box Office: 01752 267222
Hull New Theatre
13-17 February 2018
Box office: 01482 300306
Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne
20 – 24 February 2018
Box Office: 0191 230 5151

Royal & Derngate, Northampton
27 February – 3 March 2018
Box Office: 01604 624811
Hackney Empire
6 – 31 March 2018
Box Office: 020 8985 2424

Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick announced as the RSC’s Romeo and Juliet


Today the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced who will play the roles of Romeo and Juliet in the forthcoming production at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick.

Directed by Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman and designed by Tom PiperRomeo and Juliet begins previews on the 21 April 2018 and it will be broadcast live to cinemas on the 18 July 2018. A nationwide UK tour is planned for 2019.

Bally Gill made his RSC debut as part of The Other Place Mischief Festival in 2016, this year he appeared in Vice Versa, Salome andCoriolanus. He will now play the iconic role of Romeo, taking on his first Shakespeare leading role. His other credits include The Island Nation(Arcola Theatre), A Local Boy (The Arts Theatre), Dinner with Saddam (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Bureau of Lost Things (Theatre 503) and NW (BBC/Mammoth Screen).

Karen Fishwick will make her RSC debut playing Juliet. She most recently appeared in Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (National Theatre of Scotland/Live Theatre). Her other credits include Glasgow Girls (NTS/Citizens), Hansel and Gretel (Citizens Theatre), The Caucasian Chalk Circle, A Christmas Carol (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh), Badults (BBC Three), James Kirk’s Comedy Blaps, The Illuminati (The Comedy Unit) and Tides and Telegrams (for The Winter Tradition).

Further casting for Romeo and Juliet will be announced soon.

For further information, please contact: [email protected] 01789 412622

For Midlands press enquiries and press tickets, please contact: [email protected], 01789 412660

To book tickets call 01789 403493 or online at


BP £5 tickets and BP Shakespeare Pass for 16-25s
The BP £5 tickets and BP Shakespeare Pass for 16 – 25 year olds gives access to £5 tickets for all RSC productions whether we are performing in Stratford-upon-Avon, London or on tour. The pass enables 16-25 year olds to see five shows in Stratford-upon-Avon for £20 – the cheapest way to enjoy shows at the RSC. Tickets can be booked in advance on the phone, online or in person with some available for sale on the day of the performance. The scheme is supported by Project Partner, BP.

RSC to tour Julius Caesar to Schools and Theatres in Spring 2018


For over a decade the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has been giving young people a fantastic introduction in to the work of Shakespeare through its ground-breaking First Encounters touring shows.  In 2018 the RSC will take a new abridged production of Julius Caesar out on the road into the heart of communities, performing in both schools and local theatres.

Directed and edited by Marieke Audsley, and aimed at 7-13 year olds, the production will open in January 2018 in Midlands schools and the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, before embarking on a seven week national tour of schools and regional theatres.  Other locations include London, Cornwall, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Bradford, County Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne, Hull, Canterbury, Birmingham and Northampton.  Details at the end of the release.

The young audiences will be actively involved in the show before it reaches their school or local theatre, effectively going into rehearsals at the same time as the professional cast.  At each venue the students will play the Citizens of Rome.  They will be invited to prepare the opening celebrations for Caesar’s return from war, maybe writing a song or creating a dance which they will teach the professional actors at the start of each show.  The actors and audience will then perform the opening scene as a united company.  Ahead of each visit schools will be given an activity pack, and will get regular updates from the rehearsal room, allowing the students to be fully engaged in the production.

Marieke Audsley said: “School is often the place where we first encounter Shakespeare.  The RSC’s Education department is committed to making that experience as vivid, accessible and enjoyable as possible, and I am delighted to be working with them by directing this production.

“Giving first time audiences the chance to work on the play before seeing it live can make a huge difference.  The RSC’s First Encounters’ productions take this a stage further by getting audiences actively involved: young people across the country are currently getting ready to rehearse scenes from the play in preparation for their roles as the citizens of Rome, and weighing up the pros and cons of Julius Caesar as a leader.  They will also make props for the production, including a ‘phalera’, a big wooden disc representing their school or region, which will be added to the set.

“That feels a brilliant way to learn about the play and about the relevance of theatre in our lives.”

Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC Director of Education, said: “Shakespeare’s plays always shine a brilliant light on the world we live in today. Touring a production of Julius Caesar made for young people and first-time audiences feels particularly exciting because the play asks big questions about democracy, about the power of language, and about the rights and wrongs of any group of people taking power into their own hands by force. Listen to a group of ten year olds discussing the rights and wrongs of the assassination of Julius Caesar and you find out a lot more than just the story of the play. In the hands of young people, Shakespeare acquires a new resonance and generates a thirst for learning that can last for life.”

This is Marieke Audsley’s RSC directing debut. She trained as a director at Birkbeck College after reading English at the University of Cambridge. Her previous RSC credits, as Assistant Director, include Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar and A Mad World My Masters.  Other directing credits include Feed the BeastLove and Money and The Same Deep Water As Me (GSA), The Voice of the Turtle (GoPeople Theatre), Sleight & Hand (Summerhall), Civil Rogues (Pleasance Edinburgh and Islington), While the Sun Shines (Lion and Unicorn) and The Rover (Drama Studio, Sheffield).  Further credits as an assistant/associate director include The Entertainer, The Painkiller (Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s season at the Garrick), Show Boat (New London), Othello (Crucible) and Lungs (Crucible Studio).

The cast includes Kristin Atherton (Cassius) and Tom Lorcan (Brutus), both currently appearing in the RSC’s season of Rome plays at the Barbican in London.  Further casting to be annoiunced.

Other members of the creative team include: Lisa Connell (Fights), Max Dorey (designer), Natasha Harrison (Movement) and Yvonne Morley (Voice/Text).


STRATFORD-UPON-AVON/WARWICKSHIRE                    30 Jan-3 Feb 2018

Sydenham Primary School, Leamington Spa
Tuesday 30 January, 1.30pm (schools’ performance)

Newburgh Primary School,Warwick
Wednesday 31 January, 1.30pm (schools’ performance) and 6.30pm (community performance; tickets not available publicly)

The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Friday 2 February, 10am and 2pm (public performances)
Saturday 3 February, 10am (public performance)

Box Office: 01789 403493,

LONDON                                                                                5 Feb 2018

Northbury Primary School, Barking, Essex
Monday 5 February, 10am (schools’ performance), 1.30pm (schools’ and press performance)

CORNWALL                                                                          7-9 Feb 2018

Treviglas College
Wednesday 7 February, 1pm (schools’ performance) and 7pm (public performance)
Thursday 8 February1pm (schools’ performance) and 7pm (public performance)
Tickets available from Hall for Cornwall Box Office, 01872 262466,

Launceston College
Friday 9 February, 1pm (schools’ performance) and 7pm (public performance)
Tickets available from Launceston College, 01566 772468

STAFFORDSHIRE                                                                 14-17 Feb 2018

New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme
Wednesday 14 February, 2.15pm and 7.30pm (public performances)
Box Office: 01782 717962,

Springhead Primary School, Stoke-on-Trent
Thursday 15 February, 2pm (schools’ performance) and 7pm (public performance)
Friday 16 February, 10am and 2pm, (schools’ performances)
Tickets available from New Vice Theatre Box Office, 01782 717962,

Keele University Chapel
Saturday 17 February, 11am and 2.15pm (public performances)
Tickets available from New Vice Theatre Box Office, 01782 717962,

BINGLEY AND BRADFORD                                                 20-24 February 2018

Samuel Lister Academy, Bingley
Tuesday 20 February, 11am (schools’ performance) and 6.30pm (public performance)
Ticket details TBC

The Studio (Bradford Theatres)
Wednesday 21 February, 2pm (public performance)
Thursday 22 February, 10.30am and 2pm (public performances)
Friday 23 February, 10.30am (public performance)
Saturday 24 February, 1.30pm and 5pm (public performances)

Box Office: 01274 432000,


COUNTY DURHAM/ NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE                27 February-2 March 2018

Hunwick Primary School, County Durham
Tuesday 27 February,1pm (schools’ performance) and 6.30pm (public performance)
Ticket details TBC

Crook Primary School, County Durham
Wednesday 28 February, 1.15pm (schools’ performance) and 6pm (public performance)
Ticket details TBC

Sacred Heart High School, Newcastle upon Tyne
Thursday 1 March, 1.30pm (schools’ performance) and 6pm (public performance)
Friday 2 March, 1.15pm (schools’ performance) and 6pm (public performance)
Tickets available from Sacred Heart School, 01912 747373

HULL                                                                                      6-10 March 2018

St Mary’s College
Tuesday 6 March, 1.45pm (schools’ performance) and 7pm (public performance)
Wednesday 7 March, 1.45pm (schools’ performance) and 7pm (public performance)
Ticket details TBC

Hull Truck Theatre
Thursday 8 March, 7pm (pubic performance)
Friday 9 March, 10.30am and 7pm (public performances)
Saturday 10 March, 2pm (public performance)

Box Office: 01482 323638,

KENT                                                              13-17 March 2018

The Marlowe Theatre Studio, Canterbury
Tuesday 13 March, 10am and 1.30pm (public performances)
Wednesday 14 March, 1.30pm (public performance)

Box Office: 01227 787787,

King Ethelbert School, Birchington-on-Sea
Thursday 15 March, 1.30pm (schools’ performance) and 7pm (public performance)
Ticket details TBC

Canterbury High School
Friday 16 March, 11.30am (schools’ performance)

The Marlowe Theatre Studio, Canterbury
Saturday 17 March, 2pm and 7pm (public performances)
Box Office: 01227 787787,



20-24 March 2018

Nelson Mandela Primary School, Birmingham
Tuesday 20 March, 1.30pm (schools’ performance) and 7pm (public performance)

Ticket details TBC

Lings Primary School, Northampton
Wednesday 21 March, 1.30pm (schools’ performance)

The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon 
Thursday 22 March, 2pm and 7pm (public performances)
Friday 23 March, 10.30am and 2pm (public performances)
Saturday 24 March, 2.30pm (public performance)

Box Office: 01789 403493,


Royal Shakespeare Company launches photography competition for 16 – 25 year olds



In a commitment to support the next generation of theatre photographers, today the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) launches the RSC Key* Photography Competition, for 16 – 25 year olds. The winners will be commissioned to take the rehearsal photos for the RSC’s four Shakespeare productions in the Spring 2018 season including: Macbeth directed by Polly Findlay; Romeo and Juliet directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman; the touring production of Hamlet directed by Simon Godwin; and The Merry Wives of Windsor directed by Fiona Laird.

Young people who want to enter the competition can post the photo they wish to be judged on Instagram, tagging @TheRSCKey in the photo and using the hashtag #RSCPhotoComp, before the competition closes at 11.59pm on Sunday 3 December. Entries will then be shortlisted and the four winners will be selected by six judges and announced on Monday 18 December.

The judges include three of the country’s leading theatre photographers: Manuel HarlanHelen Maybanks and Topher McGrillis. They are joined by the RSC’s Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman, RSC Director of Communications Liz Thompson and RSC Image Manager Michelle Morton.

The four winners will be commissioned as professional rehearsal photographers, contracted and paid for by the RSC as well as being guided and mentored by one of the photography judges. Their photos will be used within the programme for each production, they will also receive tickets to see the production they have photographed.

Michelle Morton, RSC Image Manager said, “The aim of our competition is not only to provide an incredible opportunity for young people to experience the work of the Royal Shakespeare Company, but could also be a real step towards a professional career in theatre photography. We hope that as a result, we will see new talent in the world of theatre photography which can only have a positive impact on helping to support the work of theatre companies.”

*The RSC Key is a free membership scheme for 16 – 25 year olds offering BP £5 tickets for RSC shows plus exclusive events and insights. For more information:

More information on the competition can be fund here:

Full terms and conditions for the competition can be found here:

For further information contact: Amy Belson [email protected] / 01789 412622 or Dean Asker [email protected]/ 01789 412660.


The Judges

Manuel Harlan has photographed a huge range of RSC productions including the current productions of Twelfth Night and A Christmas Carol. He’s also photographed the RSC’s West End production of Matilda The Musical and for the UK’s leading theatres including the National Theatre, Old Vic, Hampstead Theatre and the Royal Court.

Helen Maybanks most recently photographed the RSC’s Rome Season currently showing at the Barbican in London. She also photographed the RSC debut of HRH Prince The Prince of Wales at Shakespeare Live! At the RSC, shown on the BBC to mark 400 years since the death of Shakespeare. Her other work includes commissions for Dreamworks, Michael McCabe Productions, Playful Productions, the National Youth Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith.

Topher McGrillis has worked on some of the RSC’s most photographically challenging productions including the UK tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where he photographed all 682 company members, and the RSC’s co-production with Intel and in association with the Imaginarium Studios of The Tempest, featuring for the first time a character as an avatar live on stage. In addition to his photography, he is an award winning self-shooting director working extensively in broadcast and film.

Michelle Morton is the RSC’s Image Manager. She is responsible for developing and managing the digital image archive of the RSC. She licenses images and AV content for commercial and editorial use as well as advising on copyright.

Liz Thompson is the RSC’s Director of Communications. Her department is responsible for commissioning photography for all RSC productions, ensuring the images truly represent the essence of every production.

Erica Whyman is the Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC. In the Spring 2018 Season she will direct Romeo and Juliet in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which will tour nationally in 2019.


Shakespeare Spring 2018 Productions

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Directed by Polly Findlay

Royal Shakespeare Theatre: 13 March – 22 September 2018
Press night: Tuesday 20 March, 7pm
Broadcast Live from Stratford-upon-Avon to cinemas: 11 April 2018

Shakespeare’s dark tragedy of power and revenge is directed by Polly Findlay whose last RSC production was The Alchemist in 2016.Christopher Eccleston makes his RSC debut in the title role of the bloody king in this contemporary psychological thriller. He is joined byNiamh Cusack as Lady Macbeth.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Directed by Erica Whyman

Royal Shakespeare Theatre: 21 April – 22 September 2018
Press night: Tuesday 1 May, 7pm
Broadcast Live from Stratford-upon-Avon to cinemas: 18 June 2018

Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, and set in a world very like our own, this Romeo and Juliet is about a generation of young people born into violence and ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents. Young people from RSC Associate Schools around the country will share the role of the Chorus with the professional cast.

The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare 
Directed by Fiona Laird

Royal Shakespeare Theatre: 4 August – 20 September 2018
Press night: Tuesday 14 August, 7pm
Broadcast Live from Stratford-upon-Avon to cinemas: 12 September 2018

Down on his luck in the suburbs, John Falstaff plans to hustle his way to a comfortable retirement by seducing the wives of two wealthy men. Unknown to him, it’s the women of Windsor who really pull the strings, orchestrating Falstaff’s comeuppance amidst a theatrical smorgasbord of petty rivalries, jealousies and over-inflated egos. Fiona Laird makes her directing debut for the RSC and David Troughton takes on the role of Falstaff.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Directed by Simon Godwin

National Tour: 26 January to 31 March 2018

Simon Godwin’s acclaimed production embarks on a UK tour, with Paapa Essiedu returning to play the title role. More tour details here:

RSC announces 2018 summer season

Hamlet Tour 2018
Hamlet Tour 2018

Hamlet Tour 2018

YOUNG PEOPLE – 2018 will see the Company engage with even more young people across the UK with the launch of Next Generation ACT, twenty 12-16 year olds who will make up the RSC’s first ever talent-based young acting company, plus live-streamed rehearsals, events and access ‘behind the scenes’, as part of the RSC’s ongoing programme, ‘Shakespeare for the Nation’.

SUMMER 2018 SHOWS – three of Shakespeare’s most popular titles – MacbethRomeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor; alongside Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, a revival of a 17th century play by little-known Mary Pix, The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, and Miss Littlewooda new musical by Sam Kenyon based on the life of theatre revolutionary, Joan Littlewood. Gregory Doran’s 2016 production of King Lear will join the Royal Shakespeare Theatre repertoire for a limited season after an international tour.

STITCH IN TIME – Today, the fundraising campaign is launched to raise money for the restoration and redevelopment of the RSC’s Costume Workshop in Stratford-upon-Avon, giving access to the public and new opportunities for apprenticeships.

RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, today announced the Summer 2018 season in Stratford-upon-Avon, and launched the fundraising campaign Stitch In Time for the restoration and redevelopment of the company’s historic Costume Workshop.

He said: “Up to 3 million young people will study Shakespeare at school next year.  We want them all to have a great first experience of his work, which is why we are continuing our commitment to ‘Shakespeare for the Nation’ by programming powerful and contemporary productions to excite a new generation of theatre-goers, launching our first ever young company and opening up our work behind the scenes.

“We announce today Next Generation ACT, our new young company with 20 gifted young people who might ordinarily find it hard to break into a career in theatre.  They have the opportunity to work with us from the point they join until they are 18 years old as a member of the RSC Next Generation ACT company. We are touring right across the UK next year with three productions – HamletMatilda The Musical and our new First Encounters with Shakespeare production of Julius Caesar, which will go directly into the heart of communities.  We are launching a refreshed RSC Key for 16-25 year olds, reminding them they can see any performance for £5; live-streaming exclusive new events; and introducing a series of ‘behind the scenes’ online open days, giving everyone the opportunity to share in the creative energy and vast skills base in all areas of our work.

“Our summer season on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage includes three much loved Shakespeare titles – Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

“Polly Findlay will direct Christopher Eccleston in his RSC debut as Macbeth, with Niamh Cusack returning to the company to play Lady Macbeth in what will be a thrillingly dark, modern production.

“Erica Whyman builds on the incredible achievements of her 2016 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation which united 84 amateur performers, 580 children and a professional cast, with her production of Romeo and Juliet.  This violent and devastating tragedy will look in the eye a generation of young people let down by their parents. Young people from our Associate Schools will play the Chorus in Stratford, alongside the professional cast.  The production will then tour in 2019, with more young people joining across the country.

“Following a short revival of my production of King Lear with Antony Sher in the title role, we conclude the Royal Shakespeare Theatre season with a change of tone. Fiona Laird will direct the heart-warming comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, with David Troughton as Falstaff, in a contemporary setting – with more than a hint of reality TV – as we continue to take audiences on our journey through Shakespeare’s canon.

“In the Swan Theatre, we are programming three excitingly diverse plays, with a strong focus on leading roles for women.  We open with John Webster’s 1612 The Duchess of Malfi, directed by Maria Aberg, followed by The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich (or The Beau Defeated) written by Mary Pix, Aphra Behn’s 17th century contemporary, and directed by Jo Davies. We conclude the season with a brand new musical, about that inspirational revolutionary theatre maker, Joan Littlewood.  Sam Kenyon has written the book, music and lyrics for Miss Littlewood. Erica Whyman will direct the production, developed in collaboration with Theatre Royal Stratford East.

“There is something for everyone here, for the young and the young at heart.”

RSC Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, said; 

“We are launching our Stitch In Time campaign today, to raise £3m to help us restore and redevelop our Costume Workshop, so we can continue to create stunning costumes for audiences around the world to enjoy.

“Costumes are essential for us to create theatre at its best. They help actors transform into their character and are integral to their performance on stage.  We have the largest in-house costume-making department of any British theatre, but located in a building no longer fit for purpose.  The project will provide the best facilities for costume-making, create new opportunities for apprenticeships, allow visitors to experience the workshop online and through tours, and help us provide much-needed care for our heritage Grade II listed buildings.

“We are grateful for the support of Arts Council England, which has contributed £2.1m through the Arts Lottery Fund, and are delighted to announce that we have also successfully secured initial support for a £950,000 National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  This is the first time that both National Lottery bodies have supported an RSC project. There are many ways for people to support the campaign at and we kick off with a fabulous Costume Jumble Sale in Stratford-upon-Avon on 23 September.”  (For further details see Stitch In Time release).

RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, said:

“Next summer gives us a fantastic opportunity to continue our commitment to Shakespeare for the Nation, redefining how young people meet Shakespeare’s plays and what they have to tell us about them.

“We were bowled over by the impact our tour of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation had on those who took part and those who came to watch as we traversed the UK. The potency of participation has become ever clearer to us through the 500,000 young people we now reach through partnerships with our Associate Schools and regional theatres and since we launched our Open Stages project in 2010, collaborating with local amateur groups to exchange skills and share an excitement about Shakespeare’s plays.

“I want to build on that hugely positive experience, as we stage Romeo and Juliet, opening up a dialogue with young people in schools in ways we have never before been able to do.

“We will be asking young people whom they see as the Montagues and Capulets in their own communities. We will invite them to make their own prologues and share them with us, feeding their influences into the production.  And we will open up our rehearsals, streaming live into the classroom, to give young people unprecedented access to how we work, exploring the text and making artistic choices.  Four young people a night from our Associate Schools in the Midlands, London and each of our touring locations will have the chance to play the Chorus alongside our professional cast, celebrating the diverse talent of the UK and highlighting the revolutionary heart of this most timeless love story.

“Later in the summer, I will direct Sam Kenyon’s new musical Miss Littlewood.  As many of us seek new ways to engage our communities in our theatres, to ensure the political and social relevance of the arts, and to rage against attempts to take culture out of our schools and our lives, it seems timely to look back at Joan Littlewood, a woman who – if not entirely forgotten – is still not fully recognised for her unerring ability to make theatre which connected with its audience.”

Season at a glance


Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Directed by Polly Findlay

13 March – 22 September 2018.  Press night: Tuesday 20 March, 7pm

Broadcast Live from Stratford-upon-Avon to UK cinemas 11 April 2018, with international and Encore screenings dates to follow

Shakespeare’s dark tragedy of power and revenge is directed by Polly Findlay whose last RSC production was The Alchemist in 2016. Christopher Eccleston makes his RSC debut in the title role of the bloody king in this contemporary psychological thriller. His recent work includes the television series Safe Houseand The A Word, and Antigone at the National Theatre in 2012. He is joined by Niamh Cusack as Lady Macbeth. Niamh was last at the RSC in 1996 as Rosalind in As You Like It directed by Steven Pimlott. Niamh’s recent theatre work includes The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at the National Theatre/West End, and The Winter’s Tale at Shakespeare’s Globe.


Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Directed by Erica Whyman

21 April – 22 September 2018.  Press night: Tuesday 1 May, 7pm

Broadcast Live from Stratford-upon-Avon to UK cinemas 18 June, with international and Encore screenings dates to follow

Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, and set in a world very like our own, this Romeo and Juliet is about a generation of young people born into violence and ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents. The most famous story of love at first sight explodes with intense passion and an irresistible desire for change, but leads all too quickly to heart-breaking consequences.  Young people from RSC Associate Schools around the country will share the role of the Chorus with the professional cast.  The production is designed by Tom Piper and will tour in 2019.  Tour venues to be announced next year.


The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare

Directed by Fiona Laird

4 August – 20 September 2018. Press night: Tuesday 4 August, 7pm

Broadcast Live from Stratford-upon-Avon to UK cinemas 12 September, with international and Encore screenings dates to follow

Down on his luck in the suburbs, John Falstaff plans to hustle his way to a comfortable retirement by seducing the wives of two wealthy men. Unknown to him, it’s the women of Windsor who really pull the strings, orchestrating Falstaff’s comeuppance amidst a theatrical smorgasbord of petty rivalries, jealousies and over-inflated egos. For a fat Englishman, a Welshman and a Frenchman, the only way is Windsor… Fiona Laird makes her directing debut for the RSC and David Troughton takes on the role of Falstaff after his acclaimed Titus Andronicus this summer as part of our ROME MMXVII season.


King Lear by William Shakespeare

Directed by Gregory Doran

23 May – 9 June 2018

Antony Sher reprises his “unbearably moving” (Guardian) performance in the title role of this acclaimed production which was first seen in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and at the Barbican in 2016.  It returns to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre after an international tour.



The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster

Directed by Maria Aberg

1 March – 4 August 2018. Press night: Thursday 8 March, 7pm

Written in 1612, this macabre tragedy by Webster is loosely based on events that occurred between about 1508 and 1513. In an attempt to prevent the fiercely independent Duchess from marrying the man she loves, her brutally corrupt brothers go on a disturbing quest to destroy her. Remarkable for its inventive and grotesque violence, yet full of dark humour, this violent revenge tragedy asks how anyone can survive in a world where masculinity has become toxic.


The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich (or The Beau Defeated) by Mary Pix

Directed by Jo Davies

22 March – 16 June 2018. Press night: Tuesday 3 April, 7pm

Mrs Rich, a wealthy widow, aspires to rub shoulders with the great and good and perhaps even gain a title. Unfortunately, she’s not the only one after Sir John Roverhead!

Unlike her 17thC contemporary female playwright, Aphra Behn, Mary Pix has been almost lost to history. But like Behn’s The Rover, which enjoyed sell-out success in the Swan in early 2016, Pix’s comedy of manners combines mischief-making and mind-bending plot twists with a sharp satirical and distinctly female wit. Her colourful cast of characters dupe and dissemble as the intrigue builds: will Mrs Rich ever squeeze her way into high society?

Jo Davies returns to the RSC to direct, after her production of The Roaring Girl in the Swan Theatre kicked off our Roaring Girls season of plays in 2014.
Miss Littlewood, book, music and lyrics by Sam Kenyon

Directed by Erica Whyman

22 June – 4 August. Press night: Tuesday 3 July, 7pm

Joan Littlewood was the anarchic revolutionary of 20th century theatre. Born into poverty, she raged her way to have lasting influence on British culture. Anti-establishment, communist, visionary, rude and glorious, Joan fired the imagination of a generation. Her unique Theatre Workshop was responsible for a raft of successes including Oh, What A Lovely War!, A Taste of Honey and The Hostage, and breathed new life into the then-derelict Theatre Royal Stratford East . This new musical of Joan’s life story, told with her own uncompromising candour, reveals a mighty love story at its heart.

RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, directs this new musical with book, music and lyrics by Sam Kenyon, who recently composed music for the RSC’s Vice Versa, and previously for A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation in 2016, and The Christmas Truce in 2014. The RSC is delighted to have been developing Miss Littlewood in collaboration with Theatre Royal Stratford East.



28 May – 23 June 2018

Three new RSC commissions are showcased during the next festival of new writing alongside a programme of events in The Other Place. Details announced in early 2018.



20 young people aged 12-16 form the RSC’s first ever young acting company, Next Generation ACT, one strand of RSC Next Generation, a unique talent development programme that gives gifted young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to gain experience in acting, directing or backstage and explore whether a career in the theatre is for them (for further details see RSC Education release).



The RSC will create a new wide-ranging programme of online, interactive and live-streamed events, giving insights into the company’s work and life behind the scenes. Showcasing the huge range of skills and the diversity of the three auditoria in Stratford-upon-Avon, these include two online ‘Open Days’, giving access to areas rarely seen by the public and hosted by guest presenters and members of the RSC Key. The Company continues a regular programme of paid-for and free activities in Stratford, including special events around Shakespeare’s Birthday and Midsummer.


ON TOUR, around the country:

Directed by Marieke Audsley

31 January – 24 March 2018

RSC Education is taking its work out to partner theatres, schools and venues across the country, giving young people the chance to be part of the action, rehearsing their contributions in parallel with the professional cast.

First Encounters with Shakespeare: Julius Caesar is an abridged version of Shakespeare’s play created for young people and their families who may be seeing Shakespeare for the first time.

Signalling a departure from traditional touring, young audiences will be actively engaged in the show before it reaches their school hall or local theatre.  They will ‘complete’ the play at each performance as ‘Citizens of Rome’, writing songs to welcome Caesar to the citadel (which they will teach to the acting company) and making part of the set.

Schools around the country will go into rehearsals at the same time as the professional Company. The first time they meet will be on the day of the performance. Each rehearsal room will share information with the other about the play and about the controversial leader who divides a nation.

This live and ongoing engagement gives students a direct investment in the production and includes an invitation to their parents and members of the local community to see the production at the school or their local theatre, in line with the RSC’s aim that First Encounters’ productions surprise, enthral and inspire newcomers to Shakespeare and live theatre.

The production runs from 31 January until 24 March 2018 in schools and regional theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, London, Staffordshire, Bradford, County Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne, Hull, Kent, Birmingham and Northampton (see RSC Education release for further details).


HAMLET by William Shakespeare

Directed by Simon Godwin

26 January to 31 March 2018

As previously announced, Simon Godwin’s acclaimed production embarks on a UK tour, with Paapa Essiedu returning to play the title role.

During the tour, the production is accompanied by a series of practical workshops and online resources, allowing students to post their thoughts and advice to the play’s characters, as well as conferences and events which explore how the play relates to the lives of young people today (see RSC Education release for further details).

More tour details here: Further casting to be announced and international tour dates.


MATILDA THE MUSICAL UK AND IRELAND TOUR written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin

Directed by Matthew Warchus

5 March 2018 onwards

As previously announced, the multi-award winning musical, which has now been seen by over 7 million people across more than 60 cities worldwide, will embark on a tour of theatres around the UK and Ireland. Seven venues are currently on sale, with more to be added in 2018, which will run alongside the continuing West End production.

Inspired by Roald Dahl’s beloved book, Matilda The Musical premiered at the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2010, before transferring to London’s West End in October 2011, where it opened to rave reviews.  Winner of 86 major international awards, including 16 for Best Musical, the show is now the longest running production to play at London’s Cambridge Theatre.

The tour will be complemented by a comprehensive RSC education programme, which invites schools to apply for one of 50 places as Change My Story Champion Schools.

Change My Story has been developed individually with tour venues and includes a national search for up to 50 Change My Story Champion Schools who will work with the RSC and their regional theatre to stage a special 45-minute edit of Matilda The Musical as their school play. Any state-maintained school can apply, which involves committing to a two-year programme of creative work, including professional development and training opportunities for teachers and collaboration with five other local schools to share skills and knowledge (see RSC Education release for more details). Further tour venues and dates to be announced in early 2018



Our series of productions, broadcast live from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon to cinemas around the country and internationally, continues next year, with Trafalgar Releasing as our worldwide distribution partner:


Broadcast live to UK cinemas 11 April 2018; international and Encore dates to follow. Free broadcast to schools on 26 April.


Romeo and Juliet

Broadcast live to UK cinemas 18 June 2018; international and Encore dates to follow Free broadcast to schools in September 2018 (date TBC).

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Broadcast live to UK cinemas 12 September; international and Encore dates to follow




BOOKING: 01789 403493 or

RSC Advisory Council, Artists Circle

and Gold Patrons                                                        Monday 25 September

RSC Silver Patrons                                                     Tuesday 26 September

RSC Bronze Patrons                                                  Thursday 27 September

RSC Members                                                            Monday 2 October

RSC Subscribers                                                        Monday 16 October

PUBLIC BOOKING                                                    Monday 23 October                   

To find a screening of a Live from Stratford-upon-Avon broadcast, visit Additional screenings are regularly added up to broadcast date.



The Duchess of Malfi              Swan                                       Thursday 8 March, 7pm

Macbeth                                  RST                                         Tuesday 20 March, 7pm

Mrs Rich                                  Swan                                       Tuesday 3 April, 7pm

Romeo and Juliet                    RST                                         Tuesday 1 May, 7pm

Miss Littlewood                       Swan                                       Tuesday 3 July, 7pm

The Merry Wives of Windsor  RST                                         Tuesday 4 August, 7pm










The Telegraph is the RSC’s Media Partner for 2018



The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England

The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by THE GATSBY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION and THE KOVNER FOUNDATION

The work of the RSC Literary Department is generously supported by THE DRUE HEINZ TRUST

Live from Stratford-upon-Avon is generously supported by SIDNEY E. FRANK FOUNDATION


Schools’ Broadcasts are generously supported by Virgin Media

Over 10,000 items on offer in Royal Shakespeare Company ‘ Costume Jumble Sale’


Former RSC Rehearsal Rooms, Arden Street, Stratford-upon-Avon (at the junction with Birmingham Rd)
Entry: £3, pay on the day (cash only)

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will be holding a Costume Jumble Sale on Saturday 23 September at its former rehearsal rooms on Arden Street in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Over 10,000 items, encompassing costumes, shoes, hats and accessories, will be available to purchase, with prices starting at just £1.  The sale, including uniforms, suits, shirts, doublets, shoes, jewellery and hats, will consist of a variety of period costumes, with a sizeable contemporary section.

The garments in the sale, mainly made by the world-renowned RSC Costume Workshop, have been chosen from the RSC Costume Hire, which hires out RSC costumes once the productions they have featured in have ended.  The RSC needs to free up more space to make room for new costumes available to hire.

Items in the sale will come from RSC productions stretching back over the last 20 years, includingJulius Caesar (2009), Othello (2015), The Two Noble Kinsmen (2016) and Cymbeline (2016).  Amongst the items on offer are uniform coats from the 2008 production of Hamlet, which featured David Tennant in the title role.

The RSC has the largest in-house costume-making department of any British theatre, employing 30 award-winning craftspeople. They are responsible for making the costumes for RSC productions seen by millions of people in Stratford and around the world.  Skills within the department range from men’s and ladies’ costume construction, armour making and millinery, to dyeing and printing.

The RSC has plans to restore and redevelop its Costume Workshop, housed in an assortment of buildings on Waterside opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and money raised from the Costume Jumble Sale will go towards funding this.

Alistair McArthur, RSC Head of Costume, said: “Costumes are an essential part of any production here at the RSC.  People are often surprised to learn that we create the vast majority of them ourselves in our costume workshops.  I am very proud of the talented team that makes the costumes: all of their skills, and the diverse range of costumes they make, will be reflected in the items in this Costume Jumble Sale.  At one of our previous sales someone found a pair of slippers worn by David Tennant when he played Hamlet here.  Most pieces are labelled with the name of the actor who originally wore them, so who knows what little gems people might pick up?”

Entry to the sale is £3 (pay on the day, cash only), and items can be purchased with cash or debit/credit card.  Customer parking is available nearby at the Stratford District Council pay and display car park on Arden Street.

Casting announced for RSC’s A Christmas Carol


Casting is announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of A Christmas Carol, a new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ festive tale by David Edgar and directed by Rachel Kavanaugh. This is David Edgar’s first Dickens adaptation since the multi-award winning production of Nicholas Nickleby in the 1980s.

Phil Davis plays Ebenezer Scrooge, known for his extensive TV credits, which most recently include Riviera,Poldark and Whitechapel. He has a long association with Mike Leigh, one of his most well-known parts being “Stanley” in the award-winning Vera Drake. Previous theatre credits include First Light and Pygmalion(Chichester Festival Theatre); Philistines (National Theatre) and The Gambler (Hampstead and West End).

Further casting includes Nicholas Bishop (Charles Dickens); Tom Byrne (Slingshot); Gerard Carey (Bob Cratchit); Sally Cheng (Katherine/Belinda Cratchit); James Gant (Father/Coachman); Dinitia Gohil(Belle/Isabel/Lucy); John Hodgkinson (Fezziwig/Old Joe); Beruce Khan (John Forster); Verity Kirk (Mrs Baldock/Caroline/Housemaid); Luke Latchman (Wicker); Bethany Linsdell (Martha/Amy); Emma Pallant (Mrs Cratchit/Mrs Snapchat); Vivien Parry (Lady Tibshelf/Christmas Past); Joseph Prowen (Fred); Giles Taylor(Marley); Sarah Twomey (Fanny/Jane); Jamie Tyler (Uber/Doctor/2nd Businessman) and Brigid Zengeni (Mrs Trowell/Christmas Present).

A Christmas Carol is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh and designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis with lighting byTim Mitchell. Music is by Catherine Jayes and sound by Fergus O’Hare. Movement is by Georgina Lamb.

The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by THE GATSBY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION and THE KOVNER FOUNDATION

The work of the RSC Literary Department is generously supported by THE DRUE HEINZ TRUST

BP £5 tickets and BP Shakespeare Pass for 16-25s
The BP £5 tickets and BP Shakespeare Pass for 16 – 25 year olds gives access to £5 tickets for all RSC productions whether we are performing in Stratford-upon-Avon, London or on tour. The pass enables 16-25 year olds to see five shows in Stratford-upon-Avon for £20 – the cheapest way to enjoy shows at the RSC. Tickets can be booked in advance on the phone, online or in person with some available for sale on the day of the performance.  The scheme is supported by Project Partner, BP.

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world.  We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.

Everyone at the RSC – from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians – plays a part in creating the world you see on stage.  All our productions begin life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring them to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town.