We commission and develop brand new plays, to be performed alongside the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

"Shakespeare was once a new writer. His work was shocking, thrilling, bold. We want to nurture, provoke and present the work of writers who are doing the same thing today. We are living through fascinating times – there's a great deal to say and an appetite for big questions and rich ideas.

Our job is to connect contemporary writers and audiences to the spirit of Shakespeare. He and his contemporaries had a strong sense of the world in which they were living and how it was changing. That's something we inherit directly from them. By including writers and new plays we keep our work new and daring, just as Shakespeare's work was in his own time."

 Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director

Ruth Lass as Silvia de Zingaro
Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC Browse and license our images

Making new plays and working with writers

Our new writers explore anything from questions about feminism, race or religion to the birth of the free press or the end of war as we know it. This can be brand new plays, large scale musicals, new translations and adaptations and ambitious work for families and for young people.

Season by season we are interested in provoking new thinking about key ideas or moments in our history so we may offer a writer a theme, but we are also open to wholly surprising ideas.

In return for their commitment and ambition we give them the time and resources to write at their fingertips. We individually tailor the play development process to fit the writer and the project. 

Recent, current and future projects

New plays in production include a musical of The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams, as well as Hannah Khalil's new play A Museum in Baghdad and Juliet Gilkes Romero's The Whip

Recent new plays produced include:

Script Policy

We don't accept unsolicited scripts, instead we identify writers we are interested in working with by closely monitoring new work across the UK. If you have a play reading, workshop sharing, or show coming up and you would like to invite us, you can email us at literary@rsc.org.uk (giving us as much notice as possible).

Current new work

A Museum in Baghdad

A Museum in Baghdad

Until 25 January 2020

Swan Theatre

In 1926, the nation of Iraq is in its infancy, and the remarkable British archaeologist Gertrude Bell is founding a museum in Baghdad. In 2006, Ghalia Hussein is attempting to reopen the museum after looting during the war. This new play explores what it means to try and create a nation – and why a country’s treasures matter when people are dying.

Book Tickets
Matilda The Musical

Matilda The Musical

Until 31 March 2020

Cambridge Theatre

Matilda The Musical is the multi-award winning musical inspired by the beloved book by the incomparable Roald Dahl. With book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical tells the tale of an extraordinary girl who is determined to change her own story, even if it means being a little bit naughty...
Winner of over 90 international awards, including 23 for Best Musical, Matilda The Musical continues to delight audiences in London. Matilda began its first UK & Ireland Tour in March 2018.

Book Tickets
The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress

Until 8 March 2020

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Dennis is 12 years old and his school football team's star striker. But what do you do if you like both football and dresses? David Walliams’ heart-warming comedy about celebrating difference is brought to the stage for the first time in a musical with all new songs from Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers and script by Mark Ravenhill, in a production for all the family directed by Gregory Doran.

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The Whip

The Whip

1 February - 21 March 2020

Swan Theatre

As the 19th Century dawns in London, politicians move to abolish the slave trade. But the price is a multi-billion pound bailout to compensate every slave owner, compromising social justice nearer home. As morality and cunning compete amongst powerful men, two determined women fight for change. Directed by Kimberley Sykes, this compelling new play asks what is the right thing to do, and how much must it cost?

Book Tickets

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