RSC to present Malory's epic Morte d'Arthur
14 April 2010
This epic has been at the centre of our culture for over 500 years
By Sir Thomas Malory in a new adaptation by Mike Poulton
The legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table
A New RSC Commission
The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Previews from 11 June and runs in repertoire until 28 August 2010
Press Night: Thursday 17 June 2010 at 7pm
Box Office: 0844 800 1110, www.rsc.org.uk
Gregory Doran, the Royal Shakespeare Company's Chief Associate Director, is to stage Mike Poulton's new version of Thomas Malory's epic, Morte d'Arthur, the story of King Arthur's attempts to unite his country. From the sword in the stone to the establishment of the Round Table and the quest for the Holy Grail, Morte d'Arthur traces the adultery of Lancelot and Guenever and ultimately the death of the 'once and future king.' Blending myth and magic, this is the first major re-telling of the cycle in the English language.
Mike Poulton, who worked with Gregory Doran on the RSC's production of The Canterbury Tales in 2005, has adapted Morte d'Arthur. 'We've worked together long and hard to make this prose epic into a piece of theatre,' said Doran. 'Mike Poulton has used Malory's text, but has been very clever at creating a modern dialogue whilst still retaining a sense of medieval dignity.'
Talking about why he wanted to stage Morte d'Arthur for the RSC, Gregory Doran said:
'Malory wrote it whilst in prison during the time of the Wars of the Roses. It was printed by Caxton in 1485, and Shakespeare would have known of the work.
'This epic has therefore been at the centre of our culture for over 500 years, and it's a project that's been around at the RSC for a long time. The director John Barton has done many workshops and explorations of the text over the years. I asked him about taking it one step further with a dramatization and he graciously said to me it was 'completely impossible.' That's maybe why I'm trying to do it.'
'Also in the context of the recent history of the RSC, with its 2006/07 staging of Michael Boyd's award winning Histories cycle, it seems appropriate to see a story which was written at the time these events were actually happening performed on the same stage.'
Gregory Doran has been developing the project with the RSC's current ensemble for the past two years, and it is his first time directing them in a production this season.
Sam Troughton is Arthur, with Forbes Masson as Merlin, Jonjo O'Neill as Launcelot and Kirsty Woodward as Guenever.
The cast also includes: Joseph Arkley (Kay, Pellieas and Angel), David Carr (Leodegrance and Accolon), Dyfan Dwyfor (Lamorack, Percival and Lavaine), Noma Dumezweni (Morgan Le Fay), Christine Entwisle (Margawse), Mariah Gale (Lady of the Lake, Ettard and Elaine of Astolat), Gruffudd Glyn (Gareth), James Howard (Ector, Bernard of Astolat and Lionel), Richard Katz (Pellinor, Nacien and Cardinal), Debbie Korley (Nimue), Dharmesh Patel (Agravain), Peter Peverley (Mordred), Patrick Romer (Archbishop of Canterbury), David Rubin (King Uriens and Lucan), Oliver Ryan (Gawain), Simone Saunders (Queen Igraine and Lynet) and James Traherne (King Lot, Red Knight, Baudwin and Bedevere).
Morte d'Arthur will be staged in three distinct acts over one evening. Katrina Lindsay has designed the production, with lighting by Tim Mitchell, music by Adrian Lee and movement by the RSC's Head of Movement, Struan Leslie. Steve Tiplady, puppeteer and exponent of shadow puppetry has been brought in to evoke some of the magic in the piece.
Composer Adrian Lee is a long time collaborator of Gregory Doran's, and previously composed music for his productions of Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra and The Canterbury Tales.
'What I love about Adrian,' said Doran 'is that he manages to create a real medieval sound with traditional instruments with something very wild thrown in too. And he's using Joji Hirota, the amazing Japanese drummer who worked with us on Macbeth in 2001.'
In 2008 Gregory Doran directed Love's Labour's Lost and an award winning production of Hamlet with David Tennant in the title role. The latter he also directed as a film which was broadcast at Christmas on BBC2. His most recent production for the RSC was Twelfth Night with Richard Wilson as Malvolio.
For further information and interviews, please contact Nada Zakula in the RSC press office on 01789 412622, 07831 766086 or email@example.com
For regional interviews and press tickets please contact Dean Asker in the RSC press office on 01789 412660 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
• The RSC Literary Department is generously supported by THE DRUE HEINZ TRUST
• Production photographs will be available from www.epo-online.com from 15 June 2010.
• Tickets for the production range from £5 - £45
• Gregory Doran discusses his creative choices at a Director Talk on Wednesday 16 June (5.15pm – 6pm) at the Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Tickets £5
• Post Show Talk Back on 26 June. Audience members can stay on after the show and put questions to the acting ensemble.
• Sunday Brunch – Authoring Arthur on Sunday 27 June. A Round Table discussion looking at how the tales of King Arthur have been interpreted and reinvented through the ages by artists and writers. Brunch served from 10am to 11.30am, discussion at 1pm. Tickets £15
• Unwrapped on Saturday 10 July, 10am. Members of the Creative Team and Acting Ensemble demonstrate some of the skills that go into making the production. Tickets £5