The RSC Winter 2013 Season - Official Press Announcement

Gregory Doran of the Royal Shakespeare Company has announced the 2013 Winter Productions for his first full season in the position of Artistic Director. This includes the return to the RSC of David Tennant who will be playing the title role in William Shakespeare's Richard II.  Read more below:

  • ·         David Tennant returns to the RSC in the title role of Gregory Doran's production of Richard II
  • ·         World premiere of Wendy & Peter Pan by Ella Hickson, directed by Jonathan Munby, continues the RSC tradition of family shows
  • ·         World premiere adaptations of Hilary Mantel's award-winning novels Wolf Halland Bring up the Bodies, by Mike Poulton, commissioned by Playful Productions, and directed by Jeremy Herrin, play in repertoire in the Swan Theatre
  • ·         In Stitches – a celebration of RSC costume and the Company's rich tradition of theatre craftsmanship runs throughout the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
  • ·         Erica Whyman outlines a new vision of radical mischief and new work ambitions for the RSC's studio space, The Other Place
  • ·         Write Here Write Now with Matilda – national student writing challenge and online resources for UK schools launched by the RSC with Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly
  • ·         Five new partner theatres join the RSC's Learning and Performance Network to transform first experiences of Shakespeare in local schools

RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, and Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, make their first announcement as leaders of the RSC, outlining plans for the Company's Winter 2013 season and their ambitions for the Company. The Winter Season is the first drawn up by Gregory, following a summer of shows programmed by his predecessor, Michael Boyd.

Erica Whyman takes up her role as Deputy Artistic Director, following critical acclaim for her most recent productions at Soho Theatre and Northern Stage, and seven years as Artistic Director and Chief Executive at Northern Stage. She was recently awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours list. The new role, created by Gregory, has special responsibility for leading the revitalisation of The Other Place in Stratford as an experimental studio and home for new work, as well as playing an active part in forging new artistic collaborations and directing productions.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

The Winter 2013 season includes the return of David Tennant (now also an RSC Board member) who will play the title role in Shakespeare's Richard II, directed in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) by Gregory Doran. This is the first production in a new cycle of Shakespeare History plays that Gregory will direct over the coming seasons. The collaboration between David and Gregory follows on from the hugely successful production of Hamlet in 2008, which was also filmed for BBC television by Illuminations, and they will be joined by Oliver Ford Davies who also appeared in that production. Richard II will transfer to the Barbican Theatre in December after its run in Stratford.

Ella Hickson gives a fresh new perspective on a much loved JM Barrie children's classic with her new adaptation of Wendy & Peter Pan. Jonathan Munby, who was last at the RSC working with Gregory Doran on The Canterbury Tales, will direct and Colin Richmond is the designer. This production continues the RSC's tradition of family shows after last winter's The Mouse and his Child, 2011's The Heart of Robin Hood by David Farr and 2010's Matilda The Musical, all of which played to great audience response and critical acclaim in the RST and the Courtyard Theatre.

Richard II plays from 10 Oct – 16 Nov 2013 and Wendy & Peter Pan plays from 10 Dec 2013 – 2 Mar 2014 in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Richard II transfers to the Barbican Theatre to play from 9 Dec 2013 – 25 Jan 2014.

RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, said:

'Together with Catherine Mallyon, our new Executive Director, I want us to produce the best possible live experience of Shakespeare for audiences of all ages and backgrounds and provide the most stimulating environment possible for creative artists to practise their craft. I have always thought of the RSC as a Shakespeare "gymnasium".
'This winter season acts as a prologue to a wider plan, stretching forward over the next five years. I hope we will work through the entire canon, producing all his plays in our new Royal Shakespeare Theatre, but without repeating the titles in that time. The Swan will be dedicated largely to looking at the stable of writers who worked alongside Shakespeare; to the plays which inspired him and which he inspired; and to writing which matches his scale and ambition, providing a deeper context to the genius of our house playwright.
'2014 is Shakespeare's 450th birthday and 2016 marks the quatercentenary of his death in 1616. We will celebrate Shakespeare's life, from birth to grave, over an arc of three years, culminating in a major nationwide event in 2016.
'The prologue season demonstrates some of the key ingredients in our plan. I will begin with my own exploration of Shakespeare's History plays with Richard II, and am delighted that David Tennant and Oliver Ford Davies will be returning to the company for this production. Following its run in Stratford, we will also be presenting Richard IIto London audiences at the Barbican this winter, following our very successful collaboration during the World Shakespeare Festival. As we continue our journey to find a home for our work in London, it's great to work with the Barbican again and it's a fantastic space in which to present this particular production.

'In the Swan Theatre, we open with new adaptations of Hilary Mantel's Man Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, by Mike Poulton. Hilary Mantel has been working alongside us to find a genuine theatrical language for these plays, even promising to include material she left out of the books in order to do so. The gripping tale of Thomas Cromwell's rise to power under Henry VIII, and the King's infatuation with Anne Boleyn, has captivated readers in their thousands, and I am thrilled to bring them to our stages. Both plays will be directed by Royal Court Associate Director, Jeremy Herrin, making his RSC directing debut.

'Producing work for all ages is essential as we develop the theatregoing audiences of the future and this year we are presenting a brand new adaptation of one of the great works of children's literature, Peter Pan. Ella Hickson's Wendy & Peter Pan brings a fresh perspective to this well known tale which I have no doubt will captivate young and old alike. Jonathan Munby returns to the Company to direct.

'Over the coming months, I look forward to sharing more of our plans, not least the redevelopment of The Other Place, which will – along with the development of new work – be led by Erica Whyman, who has joined the Company in the new post of Deputy Artistic Director.'

RSC Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, said:

'My focus over the next few years will be in working alongside Greg to make sure our audiences have the best possible experience wherever they are. We have a fantastic Stratford home and will be celebrating all that is made in Stratford, whilst acknowledging our role as a national organisation, based in the Midlands, with an incredible reach across the country and overseas, with our productions, education and public participation work.

'This spring, Lucy Bailey's The Winter's Tale will tour to six UK cities and in the autumn we'll take all our Royal Shakespeare Theatre shows to Newcastle Theatre Royal. We're also well underway with preparations to open not just one, but two productions in New York in April. Matilda The Musical transfers to Broadway, and Julius Caesar plays at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, before touring to Columbus, Ohio, presented in collaboration with The Ohio State University.

'We're especially pleased to be announcing In Stitches, our celebration of costume, just as we learn we've been awarded Stage 1 approval of our £2.147m bid to Arts Council England's capital investment programme for refurbishment of our historic Costume Workshop in Stratford.

'We have a wonderful team of craftspeople, designers and theatre-makers in Stratford and we make almost all our own costumes, props and sets. The quality of the work is extraordinary, but our Costume Workshop is an old building, desperately in need of a revamp. We'll now be able to submit detailed plans to retain the grade II listed parts of the Workshop, whilst transforming the current warren of tiny rooms into naturally lit and open plan studios. The newly transformed space will be much more environmentally efficient and, along with new machinery and equipment, will allow us to open up more opportunities for training and to welcome the public into the costume workshop for tours and special exhibitions.

'We also continue our commitment to young people and schools, with new partnerships with regional theatres and a fantastic challenge to schools and students, based on Matilda The Musical.'
Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, said:

'The Other Place has always seemed to me to embody a philosophy as much a physical space and I want to continue its rich culture of innovation and celebration as we create a new place for artists to experiment, encounter each other and encounter Shakespeare. I am looking forward exploring the TOP ethos and the extraordinary legacy of Buzz Goodbody, as we grow our relationships with theatre-makers, local, national and international, creating work with a sense of radical mischief and festivity, building on all that's gone before and celebrating the theatre that we can make now.

'We've secured planning permission to retain the Courtyard structure and to remodel the interior to create a small scale studio theatre, two new rehearsal rooms and to allow us to move our costume store into the former auditorium, opening it up to the public for the first time. We'll work on raising the capital to undertake the work and developing an operating model which will allow us to run it sustainably, but in the meantime, audiences can expect to see TOP work beginning to emerge in various forms from 2014, which is after all, the 40th anniversary of the founding of The Other Place.'

Director of Events and Exhibitions, Geraldine Collinge, said:

'We're delighted to be celebrating the very best of our history of costume, revealing treasures from our Museum Collection for the first time in the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre. We will also be revealing the skill and craft which goes on behind the scenes and developing an exhibition to enable people to experience it for themselves.'

Director of Education, Jacqui O'Hanlon, said:

'Through our education work we connect young people and their teachers to the artists and artistic practices at the heart of the RSC. Our Write Here Write Now with Matilda education programme is infused with the inspiration of Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin, challenging children aged 8 – 13 to create new scripts and songs. And our new partnerships with five regional theatres will mean that, together, we can reach over 30,000 children and young people this year, bringing Shakespeare vividly to life for local schools and their communities.'

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre, at the Barbican, said:

'I am thrilled to welcome the RSC to the Barbican for Gregory Doran's inaugural season with this highly anticipated production of Richard II with David Tennant. The play, which perfectly complements our year-round programme, will receive a seven-week run in the Barbican Theatre over Christmas and is part of our ongoing commitment to present world-class theatre on our stages and beyond. We look forward to working closely with our colleagues at the RSC to bring Richard II to London.”