The Rape of Lucrece

18 February

'The Rape of Lucrece is the first piece of work originating from the new RSC Studio programme to be seen by the public'

An RSC Studio production directed by Elizabeth Freestone
Co-composed by Camille O'Sullivan and Feargal Murray
Designed by Tom Piper
Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
30 March – 2 April 2011

Tickets £15, Box Office: 0844 800 1110 or www.rsc.org.uk


Internationally renowned singer and performer Camille O'Sullivan returns to the Royal Shakespeare Company to present a new interpretation of Shakespeare's narrative poem The Rape of Lucrece. Performed through song and storytelling, it premieres at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon and runs from 30 March to 2 April.

Original music has been co-written by composer and pianist Feargal Murray and Camille, and the production is directed by Elizabeth Freestone. Feargal will accompany Camille on piano.

“I have always loved The Rape of Lucrece” said Elizabeth. “I think it contains some of Shakespeare's best writing. When I happened to see Camille perform at the Edinburgh Festival at a midnight show in 2008, something just clicked. I became convinced that her singing and narrative storytelling, which was dark, sexual, strange and political, would work with the poem.”

Elizabeth managed to leave a message for Camille, who thought the idea was fascinating. She sent Camille the the poem, and a collaboration began. Freestone, who has worked for the RSC as a director, applied to the RSC Studio for support, and the project was given the go-ahead.

Composer and pianist, Feargal Murray, who regularly works with Camille was brought on board.

Freestone continued: “Working with the RSC Studio has given us access to experts like the legendary Voice Director Cicely Berry, Artistic Director Michael Boyd, Chief Associate Director Gregory Doran and Dramaturg Jeanie O'Hare. As this is Camille and Feargal's first foray into Shakespeare their input has given them confidence and inspiration."

Born in London to a French mother and Irish father, Camille moved to Cork, Ireland, when she was a child. Prior to running away with the 'circus' and touring the world, she took a circuitous route to becoming a performer. She studied Fine Art for a year and then graduated as an architect, winning the prestigious Association of Ireland Award in 2000. She also lectured at university and exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy as a painter.

Camille has a respected international reputation for her interpretation of the songs of Jacques Brel, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Kurt Weill, and performed in the newly transformed Royal Shakespeare Theatre in September. As an actress, she has appeared in the films Over the Edge, November Afternoon and Mrs Henderson Presents. She was recently invited to appear on Later with Jools Holland for the BBC.

Derry born Feargal Murray is a songwriter, producer, string arranger, pianist and key player. As well as working regularly with Camille O'Sullivan – other artists he has worked with include Moya Brennan, Celtic Tenors and Colm Dove.

Designs are by Olivier Award-winning RSC Associate Designer Tom Piper.


Further information

For more information please contact Nada Zakula in the RSC Press Office on 01789 412622 or 07831 766086, nada.zakula@rsc.org.uk

Regional enquiries and press tickets: Dean Asker on 01789 412660 or dean.asker@rsc.org.uk


Notes to Editors:

The RSC Studio - A space for developmental work

The new RSC Studio was formed in 2008. It is designed to support artists in the early development of work. The Rape of Lucrece is the first piece of work originating from the new RSC Studio programme to be seen by the public.

In 1962 director Michel Saint-Denis started the original RSC Studio as a space dedicated to the research and development of work, giving ideas air to breathe and room to fail safely, exploring the potential of projects and pushing the boundaries of the form.

The new RSC Studio programme is based in Stratford-upon-Avon and at the RSC's Clapham rehearsal rooms and provides established artists with the time and resources to support innovative approaches to Shakespeare, classical text and new work.

It builds on the experimental tradition which has always been at the heart of the Company. Recent collaborations have included work with Luk Perceval, Adriano Shaplin, and companies as diverse as Filter, LAByrinth Theater Company, Anne Bogart's SITI Company, Told by an Idiot and Little Angel Theatre.

The aim is that some of the work developed through the programme will reach the RSC stages in Stratford and London as well as smaller festival, touring and site-specific work. Work may find a home elsewhere having received initial support from the Company.

The support comes in various forms to suit the individual project and might include space and time (rehearsal or workshop spaces for a few days or weeks), money (financial support for fees and technical needs) or resource (creative and technical support).

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