The Winter's Tale casting release

Tara Fitzgerald To Make RSC Debut In Lucy Bailey's The Winter's Tale 

The Winter's Tale
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Lucy Bailey
Royal Shakespeare Theatre: 24 January – 23 February 2013
UK National Tour, 13 March – 20 April 2013

Press Night: Wednesday 30 January, 7pm

Tara Fitzgerald makes her RSC debut in the role of Hermione in a new production of The Winter's Tale directed by Lucy Bailey in The Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST), Stratford-upon-Avon.

Shakespeare's tale of jealousy and forgiveness also sees the return of RSC Associate Artist, Jo Stone-Fewings in the role of Leontes and the RSC debut of Rakie Ayola as Paulina. The cast also includes RSC alumni Adam Levy (Polixenes), Daniel Betts (Camillo), Gavin Fowler (Florizel), Nick Holder (Young Shepherd), Kieran Knowles (Gaoler), Pearce Quigley (Autolycus),and David Shaw-Parker (Shepherd) alongside, Sally Bankes (Dorcas), Andrew Hanratty (Lord), Daniel Millar (Dion), Charlotte Mills (Mopsa) Emma Noakes (Perdita), Joseph Pitcher (Cleomenes), Phil Snowden (Mariner), Bethan Walker (Emilia), Ben Whybrow (Lord) and Duncan Wisbey (Antigonus).

The production will run at the RST from 24 January until 23 February 2013 and will then tour the UK in March and April 2013. Music for the production is composed by Jon Boden, lead singer and founder member of contemporary folk band, Bellowhead.

Tara Fitzgerald has recently finished recording the third series of HBO's Game of Thrones which is due to be screened in the US and the UK in 2013. Tara's other TV credits include, Waking The Dead, Jane Eyre, and The Body Farm. Her film work includes I Capture The Castle, Brassed Off, Sirens and The Englishman Who Went Up The Hill But Came Down A Mountain. Previous theatre includes, Farewell to The Theatre (Hampstead Theatre), Broken Glass (Vaudeville Theatre), The Misanthrope (Comedy Theatre), And Then There Were None (Gielgud Theatre), A Doll's House (Donmar Warehouse/National Tour) and Hamlet (Almeida/Broadway).

Jo Stone-Fewings last appeared with the RSC as Oberon and Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream, with other RSC credits including: The City Madam, Orsino in Twelfth Night, and the Bastard in King John. Other recent stage appearances include: Heartbreak House and The Way of the World for the Chichester Festival Theatre. On TV Jo can be seen as Tom Eldridge in New Tricks (BBC), and has also appeared in Misfits (Channel 4) and Dr Who (BBC).

Rakie Ayola who is best known to many for her role as Kyla Tyson in Holby City, makes her RSC debut as Hermione's faithful servant, Paulina. Her other television credits include, Silent Witness, Dr Who and Stella. Recent theatre work includes, In The Next Room (Theatre Royal Bath), Welcome To Thebes (Royal National Theatre), Twelfth Night (Bristol Old Vic), Dido Queen of Carthage (The Globe Theatre), Hamlet (Birmingham Rep at Elsinore Festival) and Twelfth Night/Hamlet (Birmingham Rep/National Tour).

Adam Levy also makes a welcome return to the RSC having previously appeared as Paris in 2006's Troilus and Cressida, the Beast in Beauty and The Beast (2003), Napoleon in Back to Methuselah (2000/2001) and Henry IV, Part 1 (2000/2001). His other theatre credits include, Medea (Headlong Productions / National Theatre and tour), The Sunshine Boys (Savoy Theatre), Angels in America (Headlong Theatre Company), The Kindness of Strangers (Liverpool Everyman), Edmond, Henry V (National Theatre), As You Like It, Oh What a Lovely War, Romeo and Juliet (New Shakespeare Company), and The Jew of Malta (Almeida Theatre). TV credits include Parade's End, Threesome, Young Herriot, Holby City, Lewis, The Philanthropist, A Harlot's Progress and Rome. Film appearances include, Mercenaries, Gospell of Thomas, The Sin Eater, Gladiator, Being Considered and The Governess.

Lucy Bailey made her RSC directorial debut with Julius Caesar, which enjoyed successful runs in Stratford-upon-Avon, London and New York (2009-11). This was followed by an acclaimed production of The Taming of the Shrew which toured the UK in early 2012. Lucy's other work includes: Uncle Vanya, Kingdom of Earth, Snake in the Grass, Fabrication (The Print Room), Macbeth, Timon of Athens, Titus Andronicus, As You Like It, The Maid's Tragedy (Shakespeare's Globe), The Beggar's Opera (Open Air Theatre), The Night Season and Baby Doll (National Theatre), and Tonight at 8.30 and Stairs to the Roof (Chichester Festival).

Talking about the forthcoming production, Bailey said:

The Winter's Tale is set in a notional Sicilia and Bohemia. Most interpretations of the play revolve around the relationship of these two worlds. When I read the play, I had two strong instincts - that Sicilia and Bohemia were one and the same place, just two different modes of being, and that the "idyll" which is often understood to be Bohemia, is actually Sicilia. In our version which is set in the 1860s, the play begins in Sicilia, where Leontes and his court live a sheltered, beautiful dream of a life, bathed in endless sunshine, and completely removed from the real world of work and suffering. It is in essence an Ivory Tower. At the bottom of their tower, well beyond view, is Bohemia, where the working men and women, despite their struggle, make the most out of very little. We have tried to encapsulate this in our design for the play.”

After its run in Stratford-upon-Avon, the play will tour to Milton Keynes, York, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Hull and Stoke in March and April 2013 (full details below).

The production is designed by William Dudley, with lighting by Oliver Fenwick, and sound by David McSeveney.

Twitter hashtag: #RSCTale

For further information please contact:

Dean Asker, RSC Press Office
01789 412660, 0778 9937759

Notes to editors

The Winter's Tale performance dates

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
24 January – 23 February 2013
Box Office: 0844 800 1110

Milton Keynes Theatre
13 - 16 March 2013
Box Office 0844 871 7652 (Bkg fee)
Groups 01908 547609
Access 0844 871 7677 (Bkg fee)
Online (Bkg fee)

Grand Opera House, York
19 - 23 March 2013
Box Office: 0844 871 3024

Theatre Royal, Nottingham
26 - 30 March 2013
Box office: 0115 989 5555  
On sale now.

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
2 - 6 April 2013
Box Office: 0131 529 6000  
On sale now.

New Theatre, Hull
9 - 13 April 2013
Box Office: 01482 300300

Regent Theatre, Stoke
16 - 20 April 2013
Box Office: 0844 871 7649  
On sale now.

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