Our mission is to make the finest theatre productions of Shakespeare's plays, as well as other plays written when Shakespeare was alive or soon after and plays being written right now.
How we do it
First we choose the plays. We look for interesting connections between Shakespeare's world and our own, and interesting ways that the plays might relate to each other. For example Henry V looks at the truth about going to war, while Hecuba (an Ancient Greek play which we recently staged in a modern version by Marina Carr) looks at what happens after a war and especially how it affects women and children.
We might consider how a new production of Hamlet or King Lear could reflect the political realities of our own world, or how a fresh look at Christopher Marlowe's Dr Faustus might tell us something new about Shakespeare's world. And we consider how a play like A Midsummer Night's Dream can offer some fun and comedy in a season about tragic kings!
Thinking about our audiences
We want to make sure as many people as possible have a great first experience of Shakespeare and theatre with the RSC. So we also produce large-scale exciting stories at Christmas for families, specially created Shakespeare productions aimed at young people which tour to schools and theatres around the UK and short new plays by writers alive now who we think are are as exciting and daring as Shakespeare.
To make sure we have plenty of new ideas to choose from, all year round we also work with writers, directors, designers and actors to research and develop new plays, new ways of thinking about Shakespeare or new ways of making theatre.
Working as a team
When we have chosen the plays we appoint directors, who will take charge of creating a production, sometimes in a season of themed plays. The director then finds a designer, a composer, a movement director, a lighting and a sound designer and casts the actors. This creative team then begin preparing ideas so that our teams of costume and prop makers, technicians, musicians, set builders, painters, and stage managers can make everything we need in Stratford for a successful production on one of our stages.
Finally we go into rehearsals, bringing all the elements together to create scenes and action, movement and music from the text of the play. We might be joined by experts on Shakespeare or the ideas in the play, and through talking, listening, playing, practising and experimenting we find the best way for each particular team to respond to the play now and make a production which is relevant and interesting to you, our audience.