Access at the Royal Shakespeare Company

12 December 2012

The Royal Shakespeare Company provides Audio Described and Captioned performances for every production in the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres for visually impaired and deaf and hard of hearing patrons.

The RSC offer a Touch Tour to visually impaired patrons prior to every access performance. These allow you to get close to the set, costumes and props used in the play. During a tour backstage, the audio describer will guide you through important props and character costumes used in the production. Touch Tours are kindly supported by the RSC Friends. These tours are free.

Children and young people with autism, learning disabilities and sensory and communication disorders, will be able to attend a 'relaxed' performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company's family show, The Mouse and his Child, on 7 January at 1.15pm. The RSC will adapt its performance of The Mouse and his Child to provide a more relaxed environment for youngsters and their carers and families to experience live theatre in a stress-free environment.

Wheelchair Spaces are available for every RSC performance at the RST, Swan and Courtyard Theatre, which must be specified when booking.

Assisted-listening devices are available for RSC performances at all theatres.

The RSC offers a number of disabled parking bays directly outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on Waterside and Chapel Lane, the road opposite the Swan Theatre, and parking for blue badge holders is available on Southern Lane.

The RSC has a free Access mailing list which you can join online where patrons can also subscribe to receive our large print newsletter Access Matters, with details of assisted performances and access information, or download it as a PDF.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Swan Theatre programme

The RSC's winter programme in Stratford-upon-Avon sees a double bill of The Merry Wives of Windsor and a new adaptation of Russell Hoban's classic children's novel The Mouse and his Child in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre this Christmas.

In the Swan Theatre 'A World Elsewhere' examines the rest of the world in Shakespeare's lifetime, with premieres of The Orphan of Zhao directed by Gregory Doran in his first production as RSC Artistic Director, Adrian Mitchell's adaptation of Boris Godunov and a new translation of Brecht's A Life of Galileo by RSC Playwright in Residence Mark Ravenhill.

This is followed by the Summer 2013 season which sees some of the UK's most talented directors, writers and artists presenting Shakespeare, a Jacobean classic never performed at the RSC and world premieres of two new plays by Mark Ravenhill and Tanika Gupta.

The Winter's Tale is directed by Lucy Bailey, following her acclaimed production of The Taming of the Shrew last year. The RST then returns to repertoire with a single company cross-cast in three Shakespeare plays. RSC Associate Director, David Farr, directs Jonathan Slinger in the title role of Hamlet. Maria Aberg, whose production of King John played in Stratford this summer, directs Shakespeare's pastoral comedy As You Like It. Nancy Meckler will return to the RSC to direct the rarely performed All's Well That Ends Well, as the third Shakespeare in the repertoire.

In the Swan Theatre, acclaimed playwright Tanika Gupta makes her RSC debut with the world premiere of her new play The Empress. Though Empress of India, Queen Victoria never visited her subjects there, but they came to London in their thousands. Gupta's new play reveals the extraordinary story of the Queen's growing attachment to one of her Indian manservants. Emma Rice, joint Artistic Director of Kneehigh, directs.

A single company then takes on three plays, opening with Shakespeare's gory revenge tragedy, Titus Andronicus, directed by Michael Fentiman, in his RSC directorial debut. Next is a classic which has never been performed at the RSC. Sean Foley directs A Mad World My Masters by Thomas Middleton. One of the Jacobean plays known as the City Comedies and first performed in 1603, the play casts a satirical eye over the amoral and often ruthless battle of wits to survive life in the urban metropolis of early 17th Century London. The final production in the Swan season will be Candide, A response to Voltaire by Mark Ravenhill, written as a response to Voltaire's piercing satire on buoyant optimism which was first published in 1759.

For more information on Access at the RSC, visit www.rsc.org.uk/access

Audio-Described and Captioned performances at a glance:

Audio-Described Performances

Winter season

Royal Shakespeare Theatre
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Friday 4 January 2013, 7.15pm (Touch Tour 5.15 - 5.45)

The Mouse and his Child
Saturday 22 December 2012, 1.15pm (Touch Tour 11.15 - 11.45)
Friday 11 January 2013, 7.15pm (Touch Tour 5.15 - 5.45)

Swan Theatre
The Orphan of Zhao
Tuesday 11 December 2012, 7.30pm (Touch Tour 5.30 - 6.00)
Saturday 19 January 2013, 1.30pm (Touch Tour 11.30 - 12.00)

Boris Godunov
Saturday 29 December 2012, 1.30pm (Touch Tour 11.30 - 12.00)
Friday 15 March 2013, 7.30pm (Touch Tour 5.30 - 6.00)

A Life of Galileo
Saturday 23 February 2013, 7.30pm (Touch Tour 5.30 - 6.00)
Thursday 21 March 2013, 7.30pm (Touch Tour 5.30 - 6.00)

Summer season

Royal Shakespeare Theatre
The Winter's Tale
Saturday 16 February 2013, 1.15pm (Touch Tour 11.15 - 11.45)
Thursday 21 February 2013, 1.15pm (Touch Tour 11.15 - 11.45)

Hamlet
Wednesday 22 May 2013, 7pm (Touch Tour 5.00 - 5.30)
Saturday 22 June 2013, 1pm (Touch Tour 11.00 - 11.30)

As You Like It
Saturday 29 June 2013, 1pm (Touch Tour 11.00 - 11.30)
Monday 8 July 2013, 7.30pm (Touch Tour 5.30 - 6.00)

All's Well That Ends Well
Monday 19 August 2013, 7.30pm (Touch Tour 5.30 - 6.00)
Saturday 14 September 2013, 1pm (Touch Tour 11.00 - 11.30)

Swan Theatre
The Empress
Thursday 2 May 2013, 7.15pm (Touch Tour 5.15 - 5.45)
Saturday 4 May 2013, 1.15pm (Touch Tour 11.15 - 11.45)

A Mad World My Masters
Saturday 20 July 2013, 1.15pm (Touch Tour 11.15 - 11.45)
Thursday 8 August 2013, 7.15pm (Touch Tour 5.15 - 5.45)

Titus Andronicus
Saturday 17 August 2013, 1.15pm (Touch Tour 11.15 - 11.45)
Thursday 26 September 2013, 7.15pm (Touch Tour 5.15 - 5.45)

Candide
Saturday 5 October 2013, 1.15pm (Touch Tour 11.15 - 11.45)
Monday 21 October 2013, 7.15pm (Touch Tour 5.15 - 5.45)

Captioned performances

Winter season

Royal Shakespeare Theatre
The Mouse and his Child
Wednesday 12 December 2012, 7.15pm

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Wednesday 9 January 2013, 7.15pm

Swan Theatre
Boris Godunov
Thursday 17 January 2013, 7.30pm

The Orphan of Zhao
Wednesday 27 February 2013, 7.30pm

A Life of Galileo
Wednesday 13 March 2013, 7.30pm

Summer season

Royal Shakespeare Theatre
The Winter's Tale
Wednesday 20 February 2013, 7.15pm

As You Like It
Wednesday 5 June 2013, 7.30pm

Hamlet
Friday 23 August 2013, 7pm

All's Well That Ends Well
Friday 6 September 2013, 7.30pm

Swan Theatre
The Empress
Friday 3 May 2013, 7.15pm

A Mad World My Masters
Thursday 11 July 2013, 7.15pm

Titus Andronicus
Friday 26 July 2013, 7.15pm

Candide
Wednesday 2 October 2013, 1.15pm

Booking information:

  • Call the dedicated booking line 0844 800 1114 or visit www.rsc.org.uk/access 
  • If your choice of seat is limited by your disability then your seat is £16. Should you need the service of a companion (including wheelchair users) their ticket is also £16.
  • To book a place on a free Touch Tour please call 01789 403436

For further RSC Access information please email access@rsc.org.uk

For further information:

For further information and press tickets for the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres, please contact Dean Asker at dean.asker@rsc.org.uk or 01789 412660

Notes to editors:

  •  Images from all current RSC productions can be downloaded free of charge by registering on EPO (Electronic Press Office) www.epo-online.com
  • Watch Michael Boyd talk about the new season on http://www.rsc.org.uk/about-us/updates/michael-boyd-announces-2013-season.aspx'
  • The RSC Ensemble is generously supported by THE GATSBY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION and THE KOVNER FOUNDATION
  • The RSC Literary Department is generously supported by THE DRUE HEINZ TRUST
  • RSC workshops, conferences and professional development courses for students & teachers are generously supported by THE CLORE DUFFIELD FOUNDATION
  • The RSC British Writer in Residence is generously supported by the Columbia Foundation Fund of The Capital Community Foundation

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0844 800 1110
Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm

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