The RSC’s Don Quixote transfers to the West End for a limited season at the Garrick Theatre from 27 October 2018 to 2 February 2019

Don Quixote RSC
Don Quixote RSC

Don Quixote RSC © Helen Maybanks

  • The RSC’s joyous, music-filled Don Quixote transfers to the West End for a limited season at the Garrick Theatre from 27 October 2018 to 2 February 2019 with press night on 8 November
  • David Threlfall and Rufus Hound return to reprise their roles as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in James Fenton’s triumphant adaptation of Cervantes’ classic novel
  • Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday 25 June at 10am

It is announced today that the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Don Quixote, which originally premiered at the RSC’s Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in spring 2016, will transfer to the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End from 27 October 2018 to 2 February 2019.

The award-winning poet, journalist and literary critic James Fenton has adapted Miguel de Cervantes’ iconic novel which tells the famous, farcical story of a self-fashioned travelling knight accompanied by his faithful squire.

A labyrinthine world of rogues, merchants, shepherds, galley-slaves and windmills combine to confront the pair with a world of rampant, absurd adventures in this brilliantly energised adaptation of the comic epic.

RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran said: “We are delighted that Angus Jackson’s joyful production of Don Quixote is going to be shared with West End audiences this autumn, following my production of Imperium playing at the Gielgud Theatre and our regular winter season of Shakespeare plays at the Barbican.  

Don Quixote’s journey with his faithful sidekick is one of the world’s most famous stories, and James Fenton’s glorious adaptation brings Cervantes’ novel wonderfully to life.  

First staged in Stratford-upon-Avon to mark the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death, David Threlfall will reprise his mesmerising performance in the title role, with Rufus Hound once again playing his long-suffering companion Sancho Panza. 

London audiences will get the chance to see them recreate their chemistry on stage and I encourage everyone to discover this hilarious, profound and lyrical adaptation of a classic tale.”

Co-producer and theatre owner Nica Burns said: “Having seen this glorious production which premiered at the Swan Theatre in 2016, we are thrilled to be collaborating with the RSC to share this joyous and moving evening with a wider audience at its new home at the Garrick Theatre.”

Don Quixote will again be played by David Threlfall, best known for his leading role as Frank Gallagher in Channel 4’s Shameless. His other recent TV work includes Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This, Black Sea, Housewife 49, What Remains and most recently he appeared in the BBC/Netflix series Troy: Fall of a City. His original appearance in the show in Stratford marked a long-awaited return to the RSC for Threlfall, whose last performance there was in his award-winning role of Smike in the iconic adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby in 1980.

Actor and comedian Rufus Hound will return to play Quixote’s squire, Sancho Panza. Hound’s recent work includes the Rose Theatre Kingston’s War of the Roses cycle, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre), One Man Two Guvnors (NT/West End), Wind in the Willows(London Palladium Theatre), What the Butler Saw (Curve Leicester), Present Laughter (Chichester) and the upcoming new musical Dusty(UK tour).

After a lifetime of reading books on chivalry, Don Quixote decides to embark on a quest of his own. Taking up a lance and sword, he sets out to become a wandering knight, defending the helpless and vanquishing the wicked. Hopelessly unprepared and increasingly losing his grip on reality, he travels across Spain accompanied by his faithful and equally ill-suited squire, Sancho Panza.

The production is once again directed by RSC Associate Director Angus Jackson who previously worked on the critically acclaimed production Oppenheimer, which transferred to the West End in 2015 after a sell-out run at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Last year, he was season director of the ROME MMXVII season of Shakespeare plays (RST and Barbican).

Don Quixote is designed by Robert Innes Hopkins, with music composed by Grant Olding, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound byFergus O’Hare. The fight director is Malcolm Ranson. Movement is by Lucy Cullingford.

Don Quixote
Garrick Theatre
2 Charing Cross Road

Saturday 27 October 2018 – Saturday 2 February 2019
Press night: Thursday 8 November 2018

Monday – Saturday at 7:30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2:00pm
No matinees between Saturday 27 October and Wednesday 7 November
First matinee will be on Saturday 10 November

Box Office

Website: /
Telephone: 0330 333 4811 / 01789 403493
Prices from £10 (Prices from £5 for 16-25 year olds only)

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday 25 June at 10am

RSC to tour Romeo and Juliet in Spring 2019

“After its Stratford and London runs, this production is heading out on an extensive countrywide tour and it will, I strongly suspect, prove a big national hit.”
Evening Standard, 

“A fresh, fleet, blade-sharp revival.”
Daily Telegraph, ★★★★

The Royal Shakespeare Company will tour its critically acclaimed production of Romeo and Juliet to Norwich, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bradford, Nottingham and Blackpool between January– March 2019. The production will take to the road after its current season in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, where it runs until September 2018, and performances at the Barbican in London between November 2018 – January 2019.

In each venue on the tour two groups of four young people from the local area will share the role of the Chorus with the professional cast.

Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, the production features Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick in the roles of Romeo and Juliet.

Erica Whyman said: “Touring our work is at the heart of what the RSC is about.  It gives as many people as possible the chance to experience our productions.  The RSC’s award-winning Matilda The Musical is currently on a UK and Ireland tour, and later this year we will take our First Encounters with Shakespeare production of The Comedy of Errors into theatres and schools.

“In 2016 we toured my production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream around the UK, which involved local amateur groups and school children working alongside our professional cast.  I know from first-hand experience the effect this had on those who took part and those who saw the show.  It’s therefore a great delight to me to be taking another of my productions, this time Romeo and Juliet, out on the road in 2019.”

Bally Gill’s previous credits for the RSC include Coriolanus, Salome, Vice Versa, Always Orange and Fall of the Kingdom.  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 makes her RSC debut. She most recently appeared in Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (National Theatre of Scotland/Live Theatre). Her other credits includeGlasgow 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).

Charlotte Josephine, known for her writing as well as acting, plays Mercutio.  Charlotte’s hit plays include the award-winning Bitch Boxer and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe sell-outBlush. Her acting credits beyond her own work include being part of the Lyric Hammersmith’sSecret Theatre Company and Phyllida Lloyd’s Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse.

Ishia Bennison plays the Nurse. Ishia’s previous RSC work includes: A Mad World My Masters, Candide, A New Way To Please You, Sejanus: His Fall, Speaking Like Magpies, Cymbeline and Measure for Measure.  Her extensive on-screen credits include Happy Valley,New TricksLast Tango in HalifaxMuch Ado About Nothing and King David with Richard Gere

Playing Tybalt is Raphael Sowole, whose credits include Simon Stephens‘ adaptation of The Seagull (Lyric Hammersmith), Pygmalion (Headlong, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Nuffield) and Black Theatre Live’s touring production of Hamlet.

The cast also includes: Afolabi Alli (Paris); Donna Banya (Gregory); Stevie Basaula(Sampson); Katy Brittain (Friar John/Apothecary); Raif Clarke (Peter); Beth Cordingly(Escalus); Paul Dodds (Montague); Josh Finan (Benvolio); Andrew French (Friar Laurence); Mariam Haque (Lady Capulet); Michael Hodgson (Capulet); John Macaulay(Cousin Capulet); Tom Padley (Balthasar); Sakuntala Ramanee (Lady Montague) and Nima Taleghani (Abraham).

The production is designed by Tom Piper with lighting by Charles Balfour and sound byJeremy Dunn. Music is by Sophie Cotton and movement by Ayse Tashkiran.




The Royal Shakespeare Company announces an updated staging of David Edgar’s seminal play Maydays

David Edgar
David Edgar

David Edgar

A new production of David Edgar’s award-winning political play Maydays will be staged as the Autumn Mischief Festival at TOP from 27 September to 20 October 2018, directed by Owen Horsley.

Alongside Maydays, for three Performances only, Edgar will perform in an autobiographical one man show Trying It On, directed by Christopher Haydon.

In the 50th anniversary year of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy’s assassination, the student-worker uprising in Paris and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, David Edgar’s powerful and timely play Maydays is being revived. First staged by the RSC at the Barbican theatre in 1983, the new production will exploit the opportunities of the Studio Theatre at The Other Place.

Winner of the 1983 Plays and Players Best Play Award, Edgar’s epic play tells the story of the idealistic young who came of age in 1968 and were drawn into revolutionary politics.

For some, this commitment defined the rest of their lives. For others, the experience was one of disillusion and betrayal. A story of defection from east to west as well as from left to right, Maydays tells the interlocking stories of a vicar’s son turned student radical, a young Communist who becomes a Conservative ideologue, a single mother and political activist, and a Soviet army officer who ends up as a dissident.

Fiercely topical when first premiered, Maydays is now relevant again, in a new age of radical leftism and global politics providing startling parallels to the political revolution of the Millennial Generation.

The production is directed by Owen Horsley who was last at the RSC in 2017 directing Salome in the Swan Theatre. Prior to that, he worked as Gregory Doran’s Associate Director on the King and Countrycycle of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V which toured to New York, China and Hong Kong. He also directed the Chinese version of Henry V in Shanghai as part of the RSC’s Chinese Folio Translation project.

The cast will be announced in due course.

David Edgar’s one-person solo show Trying It On also relates the events of 1968 to the turmoil of today and serves as a companion piece. 20 in 1968, Edgar was caught up in the student revolt of the time, which defined his politics and gave focus to his playwriting. Now he confronts and is confronted by his 70-year-old self today. Do they still share the same beliefs? Has the world changed, or has he? Why did his generation – supposedly so radical in its youth – vote Brexit? Has he sold in or sold out?

The text has been developed through interviews conducted by the playwright with activists past and present, and marks David’s professional debut as a performer after 50 years of writing. The production will be directed by Christopher Haydon and produced by China Plate as part of their new partnership with Warwick Arts Centre. It will premiere at the Warwick Arts Centre in June before transferring to the Birmingham Rep and then – following a three-day run at the Studio at The Other Place – to the Royal Court in London in October. On two days at Stratford it will be possible to see Trying it On in the afternoon and Maydays in the evening.

In his 70th birthday year Edgar sees a number of revivals of his work. As well as Maydays and Trying It On, there are revivals of his adaptations of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (UK Tour until 19 May) and his new adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which returns to the RST this December.

David Edgar’s plays have been presented by the National Theatre (including The Shape of the Table,Albert Speer and Playing with Fire), the Royal Shakespeare Company (including DestinyNicholas Nickleby, Pentecost, The Prisoner’s DilemmaWritten on the Heart and A Christmas Carol) and The Birmingham Repertory Theatre (including Mary Barnes and Arthur & George).

He is the RSC’s most produced living playwright.

RSC Livestreams bring Macbeth to over 200,000 young people

Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) production of Macbeth is reaching thousands of young people across the country through its free Live Lesson and Schools’ Broadcast, part of RSC Education’s online education programme.

35,000 young people registered to participate in the 45-minute Live Lesson for Macbeth, which took place on Friday 20 April. Students experienced a unique insight into the creative process and interpretive choices that directors and actors make as they prepare to stage a new production.  Actor, Niamh Cussack, who plays Lady Macbeth, explored some of the approaches to her character’s key speeches, working with the production’s Assistant Director, Peter Bradley.

On Thursday (26 April), Macbeth will be screened directly into schools around the country.  Over 260,000 students are registered to see the production, as part of the Company’s Free Schools’ Broadcasts, and they will get the opportunity to ask members of the cast and creative team questions as part of a live Q&A.

Jacqui O’Hanlon, Director of Education said:

“It’s fantastic that thousands of young people have registered to join us from their classrooms to experience our work in the rehearsal room, and to see our production of Macbeth.

“Rehearsals are traditionally a private space for actors and directors where they can experiment and try out different interpretations before performing their work in front of an audience. By offering this special access, schools across the UK get a unique insight into the process of bringing one of Shakespeare’s most studied plays to life.

“We know the impact that Shakespeare’s work and the theatre-making process can have on the life chances, attitudes and aspirations of young people.  Creating free digital opportunities for UK schools to access our productions and rehearsals means that we can reach more young people than ever before, helping them to experience the extraordinary power of Shakespeare’s language in their school and local community.”

The RSC’s next free Schools’ Broadcast is Erica Whyman’s production of Romeo and Juliet  on 21 November as part of the Free Schools’ Broadcast series.  For more information and registration details see

RSC Schools’ Broadcasts and Live Lessons are generously supported by Virgin Media as part of its commitment to make good things happen through digital.

The Royal Shakespeare Company announces two relaxed performances for Matilda The Musical in 2018

Royal Shakespeare Companys Matilda The Musical.

Following the sold-out success of the previous relaxed performances of Matilda The Musicalthe Royal Shakespeare Company will present its fifth at the Cambridge Theatre at 3pm on Sunday 10 June. The UK and Ireland Tour of the show began performances earlier this month and will host its first relaxed performance at Birmingham Hippodrome at 2pm on Thursday 19 July.

Building on the programme of relaxed performances that the RSC has been running in Stratford-upon-Avon since 2013, the RSC is proud to have been amongst the first to adopt and promote the concept. The National Autistic Society and Mousetrap Theatre Projects will again work closely with the RSC, offering full access to the theatre for people with autism and learning disabilities and their families.

The performance provides a relaxed environment for everyone, with elements of the production adapted to reduce anxiety or stress, and with lighting and sound levels adjusted to soften their impact. Audience etiquette throughout the whole theatre is also relaxed with all audience members given the freedom to make noise and/or move about the auditorium according to their needs without restriction. Designated ‘chill-out’ areas are provided outside the auditorium with soft seating and activities available for people to use if they want to take a break.  All theatre staff, crew and company members also receive specialist training in advance to anticipate a wider range of different audience needs.

In London, the Royal Shakespeare Company is offering tickets at a reduced rate which can be booked through the RSC Ticket Hotline or in person at the Cambridge Theatre box office. Tickets for the Birmingham Hippodrome relaxed performance can be made through the box office ticket sales line.

Specially trained staff will be able to help bookers by speaking to them directly and ensuring that all their specific needs and requirements are taken into consideration when assigning their seat allocation.

All bookers will be sent a visual story to help them familiarise themselves with the plot, characters and the setting before they arrive at the theatre. Detailed event and transport information will also be available from

Matilda The Musical is written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, and direction by Matthew Warchus. The production is designed by Rob Howell, with choreography by Peter Darling, orchestrations, additional music and musical supervision by Christopher Nightingale, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound by Simon Baker and the special effects and illusions are by Paul Kieve.

Matilda The Musical has now been seen by more than 7.7 million people worldwide, having played in over 60 cities with more than 5500 performances in the West End, on Broadway, across North America and in Australia and New Zealand.

Matilda The Musical swept the board at the 2012 Olivier Awards, with a record-breaking seven awards, and won four Tony Awards and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theater for the four girls sharing the title role on Broadway. The North America production toured to 52 cities.

The Australian and New Zealand production won a Sydney Theatre Award for Best Musical in 2015, and played sold-out seasons in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Auckland. The show broke further records in July 2016 by winning all 13 Helpmann Awards for which it was nominated.Matilda The Musical will have its first non-English language production at the LG Arts Centre in Seoul, South Korea from September 2018 until February 2019.

Matilda The Musical is produced in the West End by the Royal Shakespeare Company with André Ptaszynski and Denise Wood as Executive Producers. The production was developed with the support of Company Dramaturg Jeanie O’Hare and the RSC Literary Department.


Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, WC2H 9HU

Relaxed performance – 3pm on Sunday 10 June
Booking until 10 February 2019
Tuesdays 7pm
Wednesday – Saturday 7:30pm
Wednesday & Saturday 2:30pm
Sundays 3pm

Box Office: Cambridge Theatre 020 7087 7745 / RSC Ticket Hotline 01789 403493
No booking fee.


The Birmingham Hippodrome
Hurst Street, Southside, Birmingham B5 4TB

Relaxed performance – 2pm on Thursday 19 July
Tuesday 3 July – Saturday 8 September 2018
Box Office: 0844 338 5000
Calls cost 4.5p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.


Dublin Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Wednesday 4 – Saturday 28 April 2018
Box Office: +353 (1) 677 7999

Sunderland Empire Theatre
Tuesday 8 May – Saturday 2 June 2018
Box Office: 0844 871 3022*

Milton Keynes Theatre
Tuesday 5 – Saturday 30 June 2018
Box Office: 0844 871 7652*

The Birmingham Hippodrome
Tuesday 3 July – Saturday 8 September 2018
Box Office: 0844 338 5000**

Manchester Palace Theatre
Tuesday 18 September – Saturday 24 November 2018
Box Office: 0844 871 3019*

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff / Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru
Tuesday 4 December 2018 – Saturday 12 January 2019
Box Office: 029 2063 6464

Theatre Royal Plymouth
Tuesday 15 January – Saturday 16 February 2019
Box Office: 01752 267 222

The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
Tuesday 19 February – Saturday 23 March 2019B
ox Office: 01274 432 000

Edinburgh Playhouse
Tuesday 2 – Saturday 27 April 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 3014*

The Bristol Hippodrome
Tuesday 7 May – Saturday 8 June 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 3012*

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Tuesday 11 June – Saturday 6 July 2019
Box Office: 02380 711 811

Norwich Theatre Royal
Tuesday 16 July – Saturday 17 August 2019
Box Office: 01603 630 000

* Calls cost 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge.
** Calls cost 4.5p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.
Twitter: @MatildaMusical
Facebook: @MatildaTheMusical
Instagram: @MatildaTheMusical

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The Royal Shakespeare Company’s, Erica Whyman: ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were talking about the ideas that our distinguished and emerging women have?’

I am sat in Gregory Doran’s office at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s HQ on International Women’s Day and have just presented Erica Whyman OBE with a single sunflower to mark the occassion.

“You are the second man to wish me a Happy International Women’s Day,” Whyman grins then resets. “Actually, that feels new to me. There are new desires to make lasting progress but in the raw and complex aftermath of the Me Too movement, it is not as easy as it sounds,” she says.

Erica Whyman headshot_2018_Photo by Ellie Kurttz _c_ RSC_209883

Erica Whyman OBE

Erica is deputy artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company; she has been at Stratford five years now and has achieved some remarkable things. Whyman too has long spoken out about inequality, particularly in theatre. With a new generation and real conversations taking place. How, I ask, does she feel about International Women’s Day today? “I had some discomforts with it,” she recalls. “But in the last decade I think moments to illuminate what our thinking is about gender are not bad things.”

She is a working mum in a high-pressure leadership role. What advice does she have for others wondering how to juggle this responsibility? “I’d say don’t feel oppressed if you don’t want to have children and don’t feel oppressed if you do. If it means that you can’t work in a way that some of your peers work – that’s ok. Let’s change the culture together,” says Whyman. 

Who, I ask, were her inspirations growing up? “I have retrospective ones like Joan Littlewood or Katie Mitchell. People who carved space for me to exist,” she explains. Yet, with hindsight, it was Whyman’s mother and her “rogue views” that helped her find her place in the world. “Because what she did was argue with me,” she declares. “She argued with me for thirty years and that taught me how to argue. It made me think very hard about a whole variety of issues. She was quite out there; she didn’t think there should be female doctors, for example. But she was incredibly powerful and passionate as a person. She was herself. So, the combination of spending a lot of my childhood being embarrassed and confused by my mother was an indirect but vital source of inspiration. In a geeky way it was books, I did get excited by Virginia Woolf,” says Whyman.

The critically acclaimed production of the RSC production of Hamlet starring Paapa Essiedu has been on a UK tour and just opened at Hackney Empire. Whyman is thrilled with the response. “Paapa is an amazing Hamlet and he is surrounded by a genuinely extraordinary cast,” she says. “There is a kind of physical explosive energy to both the production and Paapa’s performance. It’s a fantastic way to see the play in a whole new light.” 


Paapa Essiedu as Hamlet.

We are talking the week of the Olivier Award nominations and the RSC have been overlooked – for the second year running. Does it bruise? “Yes, it does bruise us…” she says cautiously. “I spent eight years in Newcastle Upon Tyne, before that I worked in Notting Hill and in Southwark – before Southwark was sexy. I have spent my life in places that the centre of the establishment likes to think are peripheral: European theatre, theatre made in the North, theatre made by women etc. So, I am probably a little more sanguine; I expect the RSC to be overlooked. Will we survive it? I should say so.”

The RSC have chosen female directors for all plays in the summer 2018 season. Whyman says that this was not a deliberate move. What would a more equal future for women look like? “Polly Findlay, who I’m working closely with at the moment on Macbeth, puts it better than I can. She says: ‘I’d really like to be talking about our ideas.’ Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were talking about the ideas that our distinguished and emerging women have?”

Erica is in the middle of rehearsals for the upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet. “I couldn’t be more excited by it,” she says quickly. “It’s a much better play than I thought it was, it keeps revealing itself to me to be truly great. It portrays Romeo and Juliet as widely equal in a world that doesn’t expect that. Both the depths of emotion he is capable of and the types of courage that she is capable of are surprising. My cast is properly diverse and I am thrilled by that because it doesn’t feel like boxes on a piece of paper. When Beth Cordingly, playing Escalus, walks on stage and says “What, ho! You men, you beasts,’ to stop the fighting it rings with contemporary resonance and a sense of male violence.”

Audience development is key to the future. What does she think of the current conversations around arts coverage? “We need to get critics out of London,” she says. “Perhaps we are in a transition from what we think our established audience is: as a newspaper, as a theatre or indeed politics,” she says. “We have this idea of an audience who are middle aged and I think we’re wrong about them, because I’m middle aged and they are wrong about me,” says Whyman.

Shakespeare is one of the only compulsory cultural figures left on the curriculum. Whyman acknowledges the challenges that this presents her peers. She is definitely alarmed at the current state of affairs. In my lifetime of two or three different forms of Conservative…” She quickly corrects herself to say that that is not the right word. “Wealth creation governments, that have had an absolute logic to them: create the wealth and enable it to be distributed. Well, they have failed.” 

“I recognise the realities of life, I watch the news. It feels like we are in a crisis.” She takes a little pause. “It’s about being able to say who we are effectively and working in a way together, that is greater than the sum of its parts.” 

We have been talking for almost an hour and our time together is nearly up. Is there anything that she’d like to add? “It is easy to be bleak about the state of the world and I am bleak about the state of the world,” she continues, more resilient than sad. “But my greatest privilege is that I see how lively and intelligent and rich that a generation of theatre-makers instincts are about audiences and not just about art. It is also an exciting time because I think people’s blood is up.”

She is smiling as she says that and I believe every word.  


Hamlet runs at Hackney Empire until 31 March 2018 

Macbeth runs at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 20 March to September 2018

Romeo and Juliet runs at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 21 April 2018 and will be broadcast live to cinemas on the 18th July 2018, with a UK tour planned in 2019.

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