RSC to tour YPS production of Hamlet this Autumn

5 July 2011

'I didn't want to blink because I didn't want to miss anything'
Shivani, age 11

'I've rarely seen the myth that schoolchildren find Shakespeare boring so effectively punctured'
The Guardian


The Royal Shakespeare Company will tour a production of Hamlet to schools and theatre venues across England this September and October. The tour heralds a new way of reaching audiences who may not normally have access to the RSC's work: in schools the daytime performances will be for schoolchildren, with evening performances aimed at their families and the local community. In the theatre venues tickets will be available for the general public.

The six week tour of the Young People's Shakespeare (YPS) production of Hamlet will visit schools and local theatre venues in the West Midlands, Cornwall, Plymouth (including Torbay), North East England, Rotherham and Merseyside areas.

Adapted by Tarell Alvin McCraney and Bijan Shebani and directed by Tarell, this 70 minute version of the play is performed using Shakespeare's original text and without interval. Many of the daytime performances will be followed by a schools' workshop led by the actors, and most other performances will be accompanied by a Q and A with the company.

Since 2008, through its YPS productions, the RSC has invited directors and writers to make surprising, challenging and entertaining work for children aged 8 and over, giving them a great first experience of Shakespeare. Although primarily aimed at children the YPS productions have proved just as popular with audiences of all ages.

This production of Hamlet opened in 2010, and has been seen by audiences in Stratford-upon-Avon, Newcastle and in schools in outer London boroughs which are part of the RSC's 400 strong Learning and Performance Network (LPN)*. Prior to this tour, the show will be performed as part of the RSC's residency in New York this summer.

Dharmesh Patel takes on the title role of Hamlet, with Debbie Korley as Ophelia. The cast of nine also includes: Dyfan Dwyfor (Laertes/Marcellus/Rosencrantz), Gruffudd Glyn (Barnardo/Guildernstern/Osric), Peter Peverley (Polonius/1st Sailor/Priest/Pirate), Patrick Romer (Ghost/A Player/Pirate), David Rubin (Claudius), Simone Saunders (Horatio) and Kirsty Woodward (Gertrude/A Player).

Jacqui O'Hanlon, RSC Director of Education, said:
“The Young People's Shakespeare performance series lives out the principles of our Stand Up For Shakespeare* manifesto by creating opportunities for children and young people to see Shakespeare Live, but this time in their own back yard. The YPS Hamlet tour is the fulfilment of a long held company ambition to take our work on the road and into schools and communities that would otherwise rarely get the chance to see it. It also demonstrates our commitment to excellence in the teaching, learning and performance of Shakespeare's plays with half of the Hamlet company possessing an RSC/University of Warwick postgraduate award in the teaching of Shakespeare*. Most importantly of all, the work is being promoted by the schools and venues who know their communities best.”

Joining Tarrell on the creative team are Michael Fentiman (Associate Director), Jean Chan (Designer), Tom Piper (Associate Designer) and Terry King (Fight Director).

For further press information, please contact:
Dean Asker (for all areas except Newcastle)
RSC Press Office
01789 412660

Nada Zakula (for Newcastle)
RSC Press Office
01789 412622


Are available to download from or on request from the RSC Press Office

Performances in italics will be open to public sale. On sale dates TBC.

Wednesday 7 – Friday 9 September, West Midlands

Wednesday 7 September: Queensbridge School, Birmingham

Thursday 8 September: William Parker School, Daventry

Friday 9 September: Clore Learning Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon, 2pm and 7pm.
Box Office: 0844 800 1110 or

Tuesday 13 – Friday 16 September, Cornwall, presented with Hall for Cornwall

Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 September: Hall for Cornwall, 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Box Office: 01872 262466,

Thursday 15 and Friday 16 September: Brannel School, St Austell

Tuesday 20 – Saturday 24 September, Plymouth, presented with Real Ideas Organisation (RIO)

Tuesday 20 September: Paignton Community and Sport College

Wednesday 21 September: Notre Dame RC School, Plymouth

Thursday 22 September: Marine Academy Plymouth

Friday 23 September: Guildhall, Plymouth, 2pm and 7pm

Saturday 24 September: Guildhall, Plymouth, 2.30pm. Box Office: 01752 230440

Tuesday 27 – Friday 30 September, Newcastle, presented with Newcastle Theatre Royal

Tuesday 27 September: Charles Thorp Comprehensive School (formerly Ryton Comprehensive School)

Wednesday 28 September: Crook Primary School

Thursday 29 September: Laurence Jackson School, Guisborough

Friday 30 September: The Maltings Theatre and Cinema, Berwick-upon-Tweed, 2pm and 7.30pm. Box Office: 01289 309333 or

Tuesday 4 – Saturday 8 October, Rotherham, presented with Inspire Rotherham

Tuesday 4 October: Wickersley School and Sports College

Wednesday 5 October: Wales High School, Rotherham

Thursday 6 October: Winterhill School, Rotherham

Friday 7 (7.30pm) and Saturday 8 October (2pm): Magna Science and Adventure Centre, Rotherham. Box Office: 01709 720002 or

Tuesday 11 – Friday 14 October: Liverpool, presented with Liverpool Everyman Playhouse

Tuesday 11 October: De La Salle School, St Helens

Wednesday 12 October: St Julie's Catholic High School, Liverpool

Thursday 13 October: Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park, Huyton, Knowsley

Friday 14 October: Liverpool Playhouse, 10.30am and 1.15pm
Box Office: 0151 709 4776,

*The RSC's Learning and Performance Network (LPN) was established in 2006 with a recruitment of state schools from around the country into a three year partnership with the RSC. 53 Hub schools, primary and secondary, are involved in the partnership, each becoming a leading school in the teaching of Shakespeare in their region. Teachers from these schools embark on a unique programme of professional development, undertaking Post Graduate Certificates in the teaching of Shakespeare, through English and Drama, run in conjunction with the University of Warwick. These co-ordinating schools work with a cluster of other schools in their area, giving students opportunities to explore Shakespeare's work through performance.

*Stand up for Shakespeare is the RSC's manifesto for Shakespeare in Schools which has three simple aims: To start Shakespeare earlier, see live productions and to do Shakespeare on their feet as actors do, not sitting behind a desk.

*Since 2007 the RSC has offered its ensemble actors the opportunity to take a Post Graduate Award in the teaching of Shakespeare. Four members of the Hamlet company have successfully graduated with the award: Debbie Korley, Dharmesh Patel, Peter Peverley and David Rubin.

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