RSC50 continues this autumn

24 August 2011

RSC 50th birthday celebrations continue this autumn at the Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is set to welcome autumn with an exhilarating programme of performances and events as it continues to celebrate its 50th Birthday Season.

The programme for September includes a variety of things to see and do during the weekends at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST), beginning with 'Theatremakers with Hammers' on Saturday 3rd September.

The RSC is home to some of the most skilled costume, set and prop makers in the world and this unique event will give the audience the chance to meet some of the people who work behind the scenes to bring productions to life, as well as to see first-hand some of the most beautiful creations of the last 50 years.

John Evans, Head of the RSC's Property Workshop, who has worked at the RSC for 41 years, said: 'Every new production sees the creation of specially made props, sets and costumes, all made by in-house teams. In terms of the props, this can be anything from paper props to thrones, bespoke furniture and banqueting tables – all made within our studios.

'As part of the 50th Birthday Season, we wanted to open up a bit of this back-stage world for people to experience for themselves – I will be show-casing a selection of small hand props, from productions from the past ten years, including Jubilee, King Lear and Love's Labour's Lost, which audience members will be able to hold and find out how they were made. There will also be a special reminder of performances from much further back in the company's history, including props from 1970s productions of Twelfth Night, As you Like It, and the 1972 epic Roman Season - what a fantastic season this was!'

This exploration of the stage environment continues on Sunday 4th September with the Sunday Talk: 'The Designers' Designer' which will bring together four of the most significant designers of productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream during the RSC's history. Sue Blane, Stephen Brimson Lewis and Sally Jacobs will join RSC Associate Designer Tom Piper to look at and discuss their designs for the play and how theatre design has developed over the last fifty years.

Sunday 4th September also sees the iconic RSC production The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby makes a welcome return in the form of a celebration event.
The original play ran at eight-and-a-half hours, playing over two performances and began life in 1980 at The Aldwych, the RSC's London base at the time, before going on to be a Broadway hit.

Original cast members in attendance will include Suzanne Bertish, Patrick Godfrey, Emily Richard, Christopher Benjamin, David Threlfall, Julie Peasgood and Edward Petherbridge, as well as others involved in bringing this iconic production to life. They will be joined by RSC Associate Artist David Edgar, who adapted Charles Dickens' novel to create one of the most successful plays in RSC history.

The event will feature live music from the original score, video, extracts and photographs, as well as the chance to hear about how this epic production came together and the experiences of those involved in the original performances.

The RSC will also be bringing some of its musical history back to life, with a celebratory performance on 25th September – 'The RSC: A Musical 50 Years.' The RSC has staged several musicals over the years, ranging from Les Misérables and A Clockwork Orange to Matilda The Musical. The event promises to be a fantastic evening, with songs from some of the RSC's most iconic musicals, played by a seventeen piece orchestra, a choir of eight, and a cast including Rosalie Craig, Ian Hughes, Scarlett Strallen, Annette McLaughlin and Michael Xavier.

Jeanie O'Hare, RSC Company Dramaturg, said: 'This is the perfect moment to remind ourselves of just how rich and varied and radical and wild the work has been at the RSC. There have been so many surprises over the last fifty years: from the darkest, to the saddest to the lightest and to the most entertaining- this has been the place to come.'

Visitors attending the weekend events can also take advantage of some of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre's other attractions, such as taking in the views across Stratford-upon-Avon from the Tower's 32m high viewing platform, seeing a free exhibition or enjoying a meal or refreshments in the Rooftop Restaurant and Bar, Riverside Cafe or Theatre Bars.

Tickets and information are available via or by calling the RSC's ticket hotline on: 0844 800 1110.

Date of issue: Tuesday 23 August 2011

Notes to Editors:
The RSC's 50th Birthday Season runs throughout 2011 and features revivals of some of the RSC's landmark plays from the five decades of the Company's life, including new stagings of The Homecoming and Marat / Sade. As well as work on stage, there is a series of exhibitions, workshops and debates. For further details, visit

Media information:
For further information, please contact:
Philippa Harland or Anna McNeil, RSC Press Office: / 020 7845 0512 / 01789272438

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