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Time to listen: Study reveals concern over impact of declining provision of arts & culture in schools

Royal Shakespeare Company

A landmark research project commissioned by Arts Council England – and involving schools and teachers who work with either the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) or Tate – outlines the overwhelmingly positive benefits of arts and cultural education on the lives of young people. The research, undertaken by the School of Education at the University of Nottingham, has led to calls for urgent change, as thousands of young people and teachers express concern over the impact that declining arts and cultural provision in schools will have on future generations.

Time to Listen, the first and most comprehensive survey of its kind, shows what students themselves say about the value of arts and cultural education. Researchers gathered 6,000 responses from students aged 11-18 and their teachers over three years.

The findings show the ways in which arts and cultural learning in the classroom opens doors to creative activities outside school hours. More than a third of the students said school is the only opportunity they have to engage in arts activities.

The survey was carried out against a background of funding cuts and a rapid decline in the number of arts teachers and hours spent on arts subjects in state-funded schools. There is now a growing gap in arts provision between state-maintained schools and the independent sector.

One clear and consistent message comes from the thousands of students who took part: arts and cultural learning taps into their imagination, creative instincts and self-worth in ways that other lessons do not. With no definitive right or wrong answers, arts subjects are shown to significantly help young people develop their own opinions as rounded individuals ready to contribute to their community and the wider world. The research focusses on the positive impact that arts-rich schools have on fostering independent thinking and creativity, confidence, well-being and empathy.

Talking about Time to Listen, Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director, said:

“The strong, consistent and thoughtful message from the young people in this study is that arts and cultural subjects are uniquely important in equipping them for both academic and employment success.

“If we want this generation to have the key skills required to thrive in the workplace of the future, we need to listen to them now.”

Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate added:

“We cannot overstate the case for an arts and cultural education for all. Arts subjects must be at the core of education provision in the UK in our schools, be they state-funded or independent, and in our universities. We must listen to the reverberating sound of the 6,000 voices that are part of this important piece of research and act now. Otherwise, we will be failing the children and students who are the creative future of the UK.”

Researchers Professor Christine Hall and Professor Pat Thomson, School of Education, the University of Nottingham, said:

“We researched in thirty schools across England where, despite a hostile policy environment, students were engaged in a rich and exciting arts and cultural education. Students told us that their arts subjects helped them to understand themselves, their everyday lives, and the world around them.

“The evidence from our study shows the importance of schools and teachers in making sure that all young people have the opportunity to experience what the arts have to offer.  The publicly funded school system in England has some way to go to make this a reality.”

In response to the research Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor, Buckingham University added:

“We all have a role to play in securing high quality access to the arts and culture for young people. This research tells us how valuable arts subjects and experiences are for students in schools – but it also tells us they are under significant threat. I call on Vice Chancellors across the country to play our part in securing the future of arts subjects in schools and universities by ensuring they are appropriately valued in our institutions. I ask Russell Group universities to review their approach to facilitating subjects and ensure we aren’t inadvertently telling young people that choosing arts subjects at A Level will close down their options.”

As a result of the research, and the growing body of evidence, the RSC and Tate are calling for five changes to support schools and ensure that arts and culture education features in all young people’s education:

1. All secondary schools should be able to:

  1. ensure that at key stage 3 the arts have parity with other subjects
  2. Offer a full range of arts subjects at key stage 4 (GSCE)
  3. Confidently talk to students and their families about the value of studying arts subjects

2. The Ofsted process should ensure the breadth and balance of the school curriculum by specifying in the inspection framework the minimum proportion of curriculum time to be spent studying arts subjects at key stage 3, and the range of arts subjects offered at key stage 4.1

3. There should be an Arts and Culture Premium for all children in schools2.

4. Russell Group universities should review their approach to Facilitating Subjects recognising that studying arts subjects can provide young people with an essential foundation for further study.

5. There should be acknowledgement and appropriate reward in both pay scale and job title for the work of teachers who take on the role of ‘arts broker’.

One teacher who participated in the study said,

“The biggest value of creative work for the students is working independently and solving problems and being given responsibility, because ultimately that is what life is about…”

Students’ comments included,

“In arts subjects there’s no such thing as perfection……It’s interpretation. Everyone will have a different opinion and you have to take it on board and reflect upon it”.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt this motivated to want to do work.”

Students and teachers highlighted the key benefits of studying arts and culture subjects including:

  • building self-belief, risk taking, and confidence
  • providing an important release valve amidst growing pressure on young people at school
  • developing empathy and tolerance; appreciating difference and diversity

To coincide with the launch of the research, Tate has released a film Why Study Art? in which a wide range of cultural figures give their views on why an arts and cultural education is vital. To view the film visithttp://www.tate.org.uk/art/videos/tateshots/why-study-art. The film can also be viewed on YouTube:https://youtu.be/vKjkx6PzajE

Casting announced for The Royal Shakespeare Company’s festive production of A Christmas Carol

Royal Shakespeare Company

Casting is announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s revival of David Edgar’s critically-acclaimed adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which returns by popular demand following its hugely successful run in winter 2018.

Aden Gillett will make his RSC debut as Ebenezer Scrooge. Aden is known for his extensive television credits, which include Father Brown, Holby City, Silent Witness and House of Elliott. Previous stage appearances includeNoises Off (National Theatre),Twelfth Night (Donmar Warehouse) and Much Ado About Nothing at the Theatre Royal Bath. Aden received the Theatre World Award for ‘World’s Most Promising Newcomer’ for for his performance in An Inspector Calls at the Royale Theatre, Broadway. In November 2005, Aden joined the cast of the West End production of Mary Poppins playing the role of George Banks.

Further casting includes Victoria Blunt (Mrs Baldock/Caroline/Schoolboy/Housemaid), Tom Byrne(Fred/Sailor/Employee), Gerard Carey (Bob Cratchit/Miner/Employee), Claire Carrie (Lady Tibshelf/Christmas Past/Aunt/Laundress), Sally Cheng (Katherine/Belinda Cratchit/Emily/Schoolboy), Matthew Dale (Uber/Doctor/2ndBusinessman/Servant/Miner/Priest+), Steven Elliott (Marley/1st Businessman/Tumbler/2nd Lighthouse Keeper+),Clive Hayward (Fezziwig/Old Joe/Chestnut Seller/Robert/1st Lighthouse Keeper+), Danielle Henry (Mrs Trowell/Christmas Present/Mrs Fezziwig/Charwoman+), Samantha Hull (Swing), Beruce Khan (John Forster/Young Markey/Topper+), Sam Jenkins-Shaw (Father/Coachman/Hinge/Mr Baldock/George/Miner),Bethany Linsdell (Martha Cratchit/Amy/Cecilia/Schoolboy), Jessica Murrain (Isabel/Lucy+), Kwami Odoom(Wicker/Sailor+), Emma Pallant (Mrs Cratchit/Mrs Snapchat/Beggar/Matron+), Joey Phillips(Slingshot/Miner/Young Man+), Shiv Rabheru (Swing), Joseph Timms (Charles Dickens/Young Scrooge/Bowler+) and Rachel Winters (Fanny/Jane/Housemaid+).

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

David Edgar adapts Charles Dickens’ festive tale of redemption and compassion – one of the most loved short stories ever written.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

By Charles Dickens

A new adaptation by David Edgar 

Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon: 4 Dec 2018 – 20 Jan 2019

Press night: Tues 11 Dec, 7pm

Box Office: 01789 403493 rsc.org.uk

Best ticket prices for theatre, dance, music, and more in London!

Shakespeare by McBean

Shakespeare by McBean
Shakespeare by McBean

Shakespeare by McBean

The celebrated photographer Angus McBean is now best known for his portraits of Vivien Leigh, Audrey Hepburn and The Beatles. However, he always considered that his finest achievement was to record the works of our greatest playwright.

In his forty-year career he captured over 160 different productions of Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon or London and, before his death in 1990, he planned that the best of these photographs should be brought together in print from the archives of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

At last his intention is being fulfilled with a magnificent new book, Shakespeare by McBean. This presents a dazzling array of the photographer’s trademark glamorous images when working at the Stratford theatre between 1945-1962, long regarded as a golden era in British acting. The book includes every one of Shakespeare’s 37 plays and all the period’s greatest theatrical names – Olivier, Gielgud, Scofield, Burton, Quayle, Redgrave, Richardson, Ashcroft and Evans – are represented in some of their most famous performances along with actors then starting their careers like Diana Rigg and Peter O’Toole.

Many of the 350 pictures, chosen mostly by McBean himself on his last visit to Stratford with his friend and biographer, Adrian Woodhouse, are previously unpublished and include over 50 of his beautiful and surprising 1950s colour images. To go with the photographs Woodhouse affectionately chronicles McBean’s roller-coaster life and career while also celebrating the craft of acting, costume and theatre design at what is now the Royal Shakespeare Company.

As RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran notes in the book’s introduction, the wealth of theatrical trivia in the “effortlessly knowledgeable” text of Shakespeare by McBean ensures that the larger than life personalities and classical acting talents of Stratford’s post-war decades are brought vividly into focus. The reader is taken, thanks to the camera of one of the country’s greatest theatre photographers, on a remarkable journey through the changing fashions of Shakespeare productions in McBean’s time.

Adrian Woodhouse is a decorative art historian. His first book on Angus McBean came out in 1982 when he was still a Fleet Street gossip columnist and his full-length biography, Angus McBean: Facemaker, was published in 2006.

He has a particular connection to the RSC: it introduced him to McBean’s photographic genius when he first visited the RSC as a nine-year-old in 1961 – to see Geraldine McEwan and Christopher Plummer play Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing – and fell in love with the large framed McBean images which then used to decorate its public spaces. Five years later he was the last boy to play a Shakespearean heroine at his Gloucestershire school when he took the part of Beatrice and wore a costume hired from the RSC originally designed by Spanish artist Mario Andreu for actress Diana Wynyard in John Gielgud’s hugely successful 1949 production of Much Ado. (The costume as worn by Wynyard can be seen in Shakespeare by McBean.)

Shakespeare By McBean –
5 – 6pm, Friday 19 October at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon

Join us for an exclusive conversation to celebrate the publication of the book, which will be available to buy at the event. Speakers include Adrian Woodhouse, who will be signing copies, and RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran.

Tickets are £5 and booking opens for Patrons, Members and Subscribers on Monday 10 September, with public booking opening on Monday 17 September.

To find out more and to book: www.rsc.org.uk/events/shakespeare-by-mcbean

 

Full casting is announced for Angus Jackson’s RSC production of Don Quixote

Don Quixote RSC
Don Quixote RSC

Don Quixote RSC Photo Credit: Helen Maybanks

  • Full casting is announced for Angus Jackson’s RSC production of Don Quixote
  • 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. They will be joined by Will Bliss, Raphael Bushay, Farrell Cox, John Cummins, Richard Dempsey, Ruth Everett, Gabriel Fleary, Richard Leeming, Nicholas Lumley, Natasha Magigi, Tom McCall, Joshua McCord, Bathsheba Piepe, Rosa Robson, Timothy Speyer and Eleanor Wyld
  • 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. Tickets are on sale now.

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

After a lifetime of reading books on chivalry, one eccentric old man heads off on a rumbustious quest to become a wandering knight accompanied by his faithful and equally ill-suited servant, Sancho Panza.

Taking up a lance and sword, Don Quixote sets out on a hilarious journey across medieval Spain, defending the helpless and vanquishing the wicked. Hopelessly unprepared and increasingly losing his grip on reality, with each calamitous adventure the two hapless heroes experience, the romantic ideal of Quixote’s books seems further away than ever.

Following its sell-out run at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of this legendary comic novel is told by a company of 20 actors accompanied by a band of live musicians.

Alongside the previously announced David Threlfall and Rufus Hound who return to reprise their roles as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza respectively, the full company comprises Will Bliss, Raphael Bushay, Farrell Cox, John Cummins, Richard Dempsey, Ruth Everett, Gabriel Fleary, Richard Leeming, Nicholas Lumley, Natasha Magigi, Tom McCall, Joshua McCord, Bathsheba Piepe, Rosa Robson, Timothy Speyer and Eleanor Wyld.

David Threlfall is 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.

Rufus 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).

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 by Fergus O’Hare. The comedy director is Cal McCrystal and fight director is Malcolm Ranson. Movement is by Lucy Cullingford. Puppetry director and designer is Toby Olié. Puppetry co-director is Laura Cubitt.

LISTINGS

Don Quixote
Garrick Theatre
2 Charing Cross Road
London
WC2H 0HH

Saturday 27 October 2018 – Saturday 2 February 2019
Press night: Thursday 8 November 2018 at 7:00pm

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
A full performance schedule including seasonal adjustments for Christmas and New year can be found here: https://www.rsc.org.uk/don-quixote/tickets

Box Office

Website: www.donquixoteplay.comwww.rsc.org.uk/london
Telephone: 0330 333 4811 / 01789 403493
Prices from £10 (Prices from £5 for 16-25 year olds only)

 RSC to tour The Comedy of Errors to schools and theatres in Autumn 2018

Royal Shakespeare Company

As part of its commitment to provide young people with a fantastic first experience of Shakespeare, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in association with seven regional partner theatres will tour The Comedy of Errors to schools and theatres this autumn.  For over a decade the RSC has been taking these First Encounters productions – which are edited versions of the plays performed using Shakespeare’s original language – on the road into the heart of communities.

Directed and edited by Alex Thorpe, and primarily aimed at 7-13 year olds, the production will feature a gender-split cast of eight actors and actor-musicians.  It will open in October 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 the tour will visit include NorthamptonBlackpool (in association with The Grand Theatre, Blackpool), MiddlesbroughBishop Auckland (in association with Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne), Kent (in association with The Marlowe, Canterbury), Hull (in association with Hull Truck Theatre), York (in association with York Theatre Royal), Bradford(in association with Alhambra Theatre, Bradford), and Stoke-on-Trent (in association with New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme). Current tour details at the end of the release.

A key feature of the First Encounters productions is that they could not take place without the involvement and engagement of the audiences and local community they are visiting.  Young people from each of the towns that The Comedy of Errors tours to will be directly involved in the production.  Each performance will feature a team of up to twenty local young people who will perform an edited version of one of the play’s opening speeches, in which Egeon explains how he became separated from his wife and one of his twin sons.  Schools will also be invited to decorate parts of the set ahead of the RSC’s visit to create a sense of their hometown.

Alex Thorpe said: “The RSC’s First Encounter’s productions have a long and exciting history of not only giving young audiences their early experiences of Shakespeare and theatre, but also actively involving them in the making of it. This year I am delighted to be leading a company who will take things a step further. This production is being built around its audience and the places we visit. Extending and building on the play’s themes, the professional company of actors and actor-musicians will be joined by ensembles of young performers from across the UK to help tell some of the story.  Ephesus, the play’s market town setting, will feel uncannily familiar as local communities work together to complete the stage’s design.

“My relationship with the RSC’s Education Department has seen me collaborate with and learn from teachers, artists and school groups right across the country. Being brought up in the North West market town of Kendal, the opportunity to take Shakespeare’s farcical comedy to locations that feel like home is the perfect way to share one of Shakespeare’s earliest works.”

Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC Director of Education, said: “At the heart of our First Encounters with The Comedy of Errors tour are the regional theatres and schools we are privileged to work in collaboration with to create it.  Many of us have our first encounter with Shakespeare at school, an experience which can define our attitude to live theatre and to Shakespeare for all of our lives.  Together with our partner theatres we bring the excitement and wonder of Shakespeare’s work right into the heart of schools and local communities.  We know that audiences for this work include significant numbers who are new to Shakespeare and to theatre.  And that 20% of returning audiences have had their first encounter with theatre through these tours is testament to the profound impact that partnerships between schools and theatres can have on local communities; partnerships forged out of a shared vision for education in which access to the arts plays a central part.”

This is Alex Thorpe’s RSC directing debut. He was an assistant director at the RSC between 2015-17, working on The Two Noble KinsmenVolpone and The Jew of Malta, and Associate Director between 2016-17, working on The Seven Acts of Mercy. As a director his work includes: Three Tales from Ovid by Amber Hsu (RSC), Frankie Vah by Luke Wright (Underbelly/Soho Theatre/ Paul Jellis Productions); Twelfth Night (Orange Tree Theatre); Metamorphosis (Little Angel Theatre); Lee Harvey Oswald (Finborough Theatre); The Break of Day (Manchester School of Theatre/Home, Manchester); The Suicide (Arts Ed) andRomeo and Juliet (RWCMD).  Alex graduated from the Theatre Practice degree at the Central School of Speech and Drama and on the Theatre Directing Programme at Birkbeck College.

Other members of the creative team include: Amelia Hankin (Designer), Eamonn O’Dwyer(Music), Simon Pittman (Movement), Lisa Connell (Fights) and Edie Edmundson (Puppetry Director).

SCHEDULE

The schedule below will be updated on the RSC’s website with booking details as they become available

www.rsc.org.uk/first-encounters-the-comedy-of-errors/

 

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON/WARWICKSHIRE                    16 Oct – 20 Oct 2018

Sydenham Primary School, Leamington Spa
Tuesday 16 October, 1.30pm (schools’ performance)

Newburgh Primary School, Warwick
Wednesday 17 October, 1.30pm (schools’ performance) and 6.30pm (public performance)

The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Friday 19 October, 10.15am and 2pm (public performances)
Saturday 20 October, 10.15am (public performance)
Box Office: 01789 403493, www.rsc.org.uk

WARWICKSHIRE/BIRMINGHAM                                          22 – 27 Oct 2018

Michael Drayton Junior School, Nuneaton
Monday 22 October – performance schedule TBC

Nelson Mandela Primary School, Birmingham
Tuesday 23 October, 1.30pm (schools’ performance) and 7pm (public performance)
Wednesday 24 October, 1.30pm (schools’ performance)

The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Thursday 25 October, 2pm (public performances)
Friday 26 October, 10.15am (public performance/relaxed performance)
Saturday 27 October, 10.15am (public performance)
Box Office: 01789 403493, www.rsc.org.uk


NORTHAMPTON/WARWICKSHIRE                                     30 Oct – 2 Nov 2018

Ecton Brook Primary School, Northampton
Tuesday 30 October – performance schedule TBC

Simon De Senlis Primary School, Northampton
Wednesday 31 October – performance schedule TBC

The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Thursday 1 November, 2pm (public performance)
Friday 2 November, 2pm (public performance)
Box Office: 01789 403493, www.rsc.org.uk

BLACKPOOL                                                                         6-10 Nov 2018

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School, Blackpool
Tuesday 6 November, 1pm (schools’ performance) and 7pm (public performance)

Hodgson High School, Poulton-le-Fylde
Wednesday 7 November, 1pm (schools’ performance)

The Grand Theatre, Blackpool
Thursday 8 November, 10am and 1.30pm (public performances)
Friday 9 November, 1.30pm and 7pm (public performances)
Saturday 10 November, 1.30pm (public performance)
Box Office: 01253 290190, www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk
MIDDLESBROUGH/BISHOP AUCKLAND                           13-15 Nov 2018

Macmillan Academy, Middlesbrough
Tuesday 13 November1.15pm (schools’ performance), 7pm (public performance)
Wednesday 14 November, 1.15pm (schools’ performance), 7pm (public performance)

King James I Academy, Bishop Auckland
Thursday 15 November, 1.45pm (schools’ performance) and 7pm (public performance)

KENT                                                                                      20 – 23 Nov 2018

Canterbury Academy
Wednesday 21 November – performance schedule TBC

King Ethelbert School, Birchington
Thursday 22 November, 1.30pm (schools’ performance), 7pm (public performance)

Towers School and Sixth Form Centre, Ashford
Friday 23 November – performance schedule TBC

HULL AND YORK                                                                  27-30 Nov 2018

St Mary’s College, Hull
Tuesday 27 November, 1.45pm (schools’ performance), 7pm (public performance)

York High School, York
Wednesday 28 November, 11.45am (schools’ performance), 7pm (public performance)

York Theatre Royal
Thursday 29 November, 1pm (schools’ performance), 7.30pm (public performance)
Friday 30 November, 10.30am (schools’ performance), 7.30pm (public performance)
Box Office: 01904 623568, www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

BRADFORD/STAFFORDSHIRE                                            3 – 7 Dec 2018

Bradford College, Bradford
Monday 3 December, 1.30pm (schools’ performance), 6.30pm (public performance)

Springhead Primary School, Stoke on Trent
Wednesday 5 December – 10.30am2pm (schools’ performances)
Thursday 6 December – 2pm (schools’ performance), 7pm (public performance)
Friday 7 December – 10.30am2pm (schools’ performances)

Casting announced for The RSC’s updated staging of David Edgar’s seminal play Maydays

Royal Shakespeare Company

Casting for the RSC’s timely new staging of David Edgar’s powerful play Maydays is announced today.  First staged by the RSC at the Barbican Theatre in 1983, the new production will be performed as part of the Autumn Mischief Festival in The Other Place in Stratford-upon-Avon from 27 September to 20 October 2018.

The cast is:  Geoffrey Beevers (Trelawney/Pugachev), Gillian Bevan (Mrs Glass/Weiner), Richard Cant (Jeremy), Sophie Khan Levy (Clara/Judy), Chris Nayak (Phil/Korolenko), Lily Nichol (Amanda/Erica), Mark Quartley (Martin), Christopher Simpson (James Grain/Paloczi), Liyah Summers (Bryony/Tanya) and Jay Taylor as Lermontov.

Edgar’s award-winning and epic play – revived 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 – 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 Country cycle 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.

Joining Owen on the creative team are: designer Simon Anthony Wells, lighting designer Claire Gerrens, sound designer Steven Atkinson and movement by Polly Bennett.

There will be three performances of David Edgar’s one-person solo show Trying It On at The Other Place on 18, 19 and 20 October 2018.   Aged 20 in 1968, Edgar was caught up in the student revolt of the time, which defined his politics and gave focus to his playwriting. In Trying It On 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 for Trying It On 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 is directed by Christopher Haydon and produced by China Plate as part of their new partnership with Warwick Arts Centre. It premiered at the Warwick Arts Centre in June 2018 before transferring to the Birmingham Rep, and then – following its three-day run 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.

On Saturday 6 October at 5.45pm at The Other Place, David Edgar will take part in a special panel discussion called Theatre and Political Change.  The discussion will explore ways in which theatre and the arts can reflect and effect change.  Other speakers will be announced soon.

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, and his new adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which returns to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre this December.

David Edgar’s plays have been presented by the National Theatre (including The Shape of the TableAlbert 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.

Further information about the RSC’s current Mischief Festival of new work at The Other Place https://www.rsc.org.uk/mischief-festival/

 

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.

LISTINGS
Don Quixote
Garrick Theatre
2 Charing Cross Road
London
WC2H 0HH

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: www.donquixoteplay.com / www.rsc.org.uk/london
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.

TOUR OPENS IN NORWICH, BEFORE VISITING NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, BRADFORD, NOTTINGHAM and BLACKPOOL AFTER PERFORMANCES INSTRATFORD-UPON-AVON and LONDON

TOUR RUNS: 29 JANUARY – 2 MARCH 2019

PRODUCTION DIRECTED BY RSC DEPUTY ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, ERICA WHYMAN

rsc.org.uk/romeo-and-juliet

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 www.rsc.org.uk/education/schools-broadcasts/

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