Summer 14 season

10 September 2013


The RSC's Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, and Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, announce the RSC's artistic programme for Summer 2014, their first full season of programming since taking over the Company.

  • Henry IV Parts I & II – in Stratford-upon-Avon, Newcastle, on tour and in London at the Barbican
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona - first RST staging in 45 years
  • New Shakespeare titles screened in cinemas 'Live From Stratford-upon-Avon' and streamed for free to schools
  • 'Roaring Girls' season of Jacobethan plays in the Swan
  • Shakespeare Nation – working with all 12 UK nations and regions to celebrate key jubilees
  • Young Shakespeare Nation - new collaboration with the Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts
  • 300,000 additional tickets on sale for Matilda The Musical

Season interviews with Gregory Doran, Erica Whyman and the 'Roaring Girls' directors available at:

Royal Shakespeare Theatre: 18 March – 6 September 2014

Gregory Doran follows his production of Richard II with Henry IV Parts I & II in his six year journey across the entire First Folio of 36 plays. RSC Associate Artist, Antony Sher, returns to the Company to play the infamous knight Falstaff. Antony Sher last performed as Prospero in the acclaimed co-production with Baxter Theatre Company of The Tempest in 2009 and is currently appearing in a new production of Hysteria at Hampstead Theatre. He will be joined by Alex Hassell, who returns to the company as Prince Hal, having performed at the RSC in 2011 in A Midsummer Night's Dream, The City Madam, and Gregory Doran's production of Cardenio. Jasper Britton will play Henry IV, following his last appearance at the RSC as the Marquis de Sade in Marat/Sade in 2011. Paola Dionisotti plays Mistress Quickly, following her performances as Pandulph in King John and Margaret in Richard III last year.

These two plays, with a cross-cast ensemble of actors, will transfer into the Barbican in London in December 2014, after runs in Stratford, Newcastle upon Tyne's Theatre Royal and a five week UK tour of Number One theatres. The RSC extends its relationship with the Barbican for a further two years following the transfer of Richard II this December. Alongside the plays, both organisations will collaborate on an extensive creative learning programme. The RSC Education and Events & Exhibitions departments will work in partnership with Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning to engage new and existing audiences with events, workshops and special projects in east London schools and communities.

Shakespeare's early exuberant romantic comedy about friendship and betrayal, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, will join the Royal Shakespeare Theatre repertoire from July 2014. Performed on the RST stage for the first time in 45 years, the production will be directed by Simon Godwin, making his RSC debut. Simon is an Associate Director at the Royal Court and at Bristol Old Vic. His production of Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude recently played to critical acclaim at the National Theatre.

All three productions will be broadcast 'Live from Stratford-upon-Avon' to cinemas around the world, through a continued partnership with Picturehouse Entertainment, and streamed free to schools, with the support of Ravensbourne College.

Swan Theatre: 5 April – 4 October 2014

The Swan Theatre returns to its original purpose as a home for the plays of Shakespeare's contemporaries with 'Roaring Girls', a season of three rarely performed Jacobethan plays. Led by Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, the season reveals some of the great parts written for and about women.

The repertoire opens in April with The Roaring Girl by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker, directed by Jo Davies. This delightfully subversive city comedy was written around 1607 about the fearless and feisty Moll Cutpurse who unmans all who cross her path. It is based on real life character Mary Frith and drawn from the slang 'roaring boy' for a carousing young man with exceptional fighting skills. It has only been performed once at the RSC; Barry Kyle directed Helen Mirren in the title role for a production which played in Stratford and London in 1983. Jo Davies began her career as an RSC Assistant Director and recently directed Opera North's acclaimed production of Carousel. She is currently working on Silly Kings for National Theatre Wales, which opens in Cardiff later this year.

The second play in the season is Arden of Faversham, written in 1592 and published anonymously, but attributed variously to Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare. This wonderfully dark and dirty story of domestic portrayal is based on a true story of a successful businessman who was murdered by his wife Alice and her lover. The part of Alice Arden is the largest role for a woman in all Elizabethan drama. The play has only been performed twice by the RSC, in 1982, directed by Terry Hands at The Other Place, and in 1970, directed by Buzz Goodbody in a landmark production at the Roundhouse as part of the Theatregoround Festival. Polly Findlay makes her RSC directorial debut with this production, having recently directed the Olivier-award winning Derren Brown: Svengali and Antigone for the National Theatre. She is directing War Horse for the National in Berlin and will direct a new play by Tim Price at the National Theatre Shed later this year.

The final play in the season is The White Devil. Maria Aberg, who has recently directed As You Like It and King John for the RSC, will take a gloriously bold approach to this bloodthirsty tale of murder and revenge by John Webster. One of the great works of Jacobean theatre, the play made its stage debut in 1612 and was described as a 'compellingly dangerous and fascinating play'. It has only had one previous production at the RSC, in 1996 directed by Gale Edwards.

The 'Roaring Girls' season will also include a limited run of our award-winning production of The Rape of Lucrece featuring internationally-acclaimed performer and singer Camille O'Sullivan. The provocative and politically-charged epic poem has been adapted for the stage by Elizabeth Freestone, Feargal Murray and Camille O'Sullivan and is directed by Elizabeth Freestone. It was originally performed as part of the reopening of the RSC's Stratford theatres and has since been a hit at the Edinburgh and Sydney Festivals. The production's international tour continues to Dublin, Derry/Londonderry and the Netherlands during the autumn 2013.

Shakespeare Nation – 'Dream 16'

The RSC will lead a nationwide celebration of Shakespeare over the next three years, building from the 450th anniversary of his birth on 23 April 2014 to the 400th anniversary of his death on 23 April 2016.

From next spring, the RSC's work will be seen in Stratford-upon-Avon, in London, in Newcastle upon Tyne, on tour nationally and internationally. The celebrations culminate in 2016 with 'Dream 16', a nationwide tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The production, which opens in Stratford-upon-Avon, will be co-produced with partner theatres and amateur companies in all twelve nations and regions of the UK. In every location, Bottom and the rude mechanicals will be played by a local amateur group and Titania's fairy train by local schoolchildren.

'Dream 16' builds on the RSC's already strong and extensive relationships with theatres around the UK, established through a 35 year regional touring programme, its successful Open Stages celebration of amateur theatre, and its Learning and Performance Network of more than 400 schools and ten partner theatres.
'Dream 16' will be an opportunity for the Company to open up its artistic process and will include streamed rehearsals and interactive workshops as a means to share the excitement of making theatre.

Young Shakespeare Nation

As part of Shakespeare Nation, the RSC, in partnership with HRH The Prince of Wales' charity The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts, launches Young Shakespeare Nation. This new initiative invites schools, students and teachers across the UK to join the RSC on an ambitious journey through Shakespeare's plays, giving a new generation of students the chance to discover and experience the breadth of his work. Both organisations are committed to reaching students and schools who would otherwise not have easy access to these kinds of cultural experiences.

Every school is invited to take part and teachers can choose from a range of options to explore the plays: participating in live theatre experiences, free broadcasts of productions into classrooms, or teacher professional development and workshops for students. Teachers will be supported with a range of tools, resources and opportunities, which will be made available as each of the plays is performed in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

First Encounter: The Taming of the Shrew

One of the opportunities for young people to see the RSC's work live is through the First Encounter production of The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Michael Fentiman, who has directed Titus Andronicus this summer. The production is aimed at 8-13 year olds and tells the story of two people's rollercoaster journey towards becoming the perfect match. It uses a distilled version of the original text, and includes both an introduction to the performance and a chance to hear from the actors, to create a great first experience of seeing Shakespeare live.

The Taming of the Shrew will open in February 2014 in The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, before embarking on a six week UK tour of schools and regional theatres, then travelling to the US to play at The Ohio State University. UK locations include the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury; St George's Hall, Bradford; The Grand Theatre, Blackpool; Curve, Leicester; and the New Vic in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Matilda The Musical

Matilda The Musical continues to play successfully at the Cambridge Theatre, having won 47 awards worldwide. Over 1 million people have seen the show in the UK since its opening in Stratford-upon-Avon. A further 300,000 tickets go on sale today, through to December 2014.

The RSC continues to offer its hugely successful £5 ticket scheme to 16-25 year olds and the Cambridge Theatre opens its doors each day to a queue of young people waiting to buy day seats. Over 8,000 tickets for Matilda have been sold under this scheme to date.

On Broadway, Matilda The Musical, produced by the RSC and the Dodgers, continues its successful run at the Shubert Theater. More than 260,000 people have seen the show in the US and it has broken box office records at the Shubert for its grosses.

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said: 'The next three years span two significant anniversaries for Shakespeare; the 450th anniversary of his birth in 2014 and 400th anniversary of his death in 2016. These landmark dates have helped to frame our programming over this jubilee period.

'Under the banner Shakespeare Nation, we will lead a truly nationwide celebration of our greatest playwright, starting next summer and culminating in 2016 with a national tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with Bottom and the rude mechanicals played by amateur groups in every location. We will build on our decades long relationships with theatres all over the country and will continue our collaborations with amateur companies across the UK. I am also delighted that we are working with our President HRH Prince Charles' charity, The Prince's Foundation for Children & The Arts, for the first time as we launch Young Shakespeare Nation, our education initiative to inspire a new Shakespeare generation.

'Central to this aspiration is our intention to stage each of Shakespeare's plays just once in the next six years to 2019, making every play an event. This means a whole generation of students and theatregoers can journey with us through Shakespeare's Complete Works – on stage in Stratford-upon-Avon, on tour, in London, online or live on screen.

'Next summer, I will continue my own exploration of Shakespeare's History Plays with Henry IV Parts I & II and I am so pleased to be directing Antony Sher as Falstaff, Alex Hassell as Hal, Jasper Britton as King Henry and Paola Dionisotti as Mistress Quickly. These productions will be joined in repertoire by one of Shakespeare's earliest plays, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, performed on our main stage for the first time in 45 years and directed by Simon Godwin, making his RSC debut. It's great that we are able to continue our 'Live from Stratford-upon-Avon' broadcasts and audiences across the world will be able to watch all three productions live in cinemas.

'I am delighted to be announcing today, with the Barbican, a three year collaboration to bring our work to London audiences. We have thoroughly enjoyed working together as we plan the transfer of my production of Richard II to the Barbican this autumn and we will continue to expand our collaborative partnership next year with Henry IV Parts I & II over the winter of 2014/15, followed by a further programme in 2015/16. The Barbican is internationally renowned for its artistic programming and I am especially pleased that, alongside the plays, we will be working together with the Barbican on a creative learning programme of events and education projects.

'In Stratford, we return the Swan Theatre to its roots as a space to present the work of Shakespeare's contemporaries. Erica Whyman, my Deputy Artistic Director, will lead the 'Roaring Girls' season, reviving a series of fantastic Jacobethan plays with wonderful roles for women at their centre.

'As we approach the jubilee years of 2014 and 2016, I want to give people the strongest possible reasons to visit us in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's home town, and restate our commitment to Shakespeare at the core of our work, putting his plays in conversation with each other and with the work of other classical writers and today's playwrights.'

Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director, said: 'We have had a very successful summer and booking for our winter season is extremely strong, so we are feeling very positive as we go forward into the first full year of programming with Greg as Artistic Director. Our Stratford theatres have proved a real draw for more than a million visitors each year and we look forward to building deeper relationships with our audiences everywhere as we stage all of Shakespeare's plays over the next six years.

'I am especially pleased that we announce more than 13 weeks of UK touring next year, with both parts of Henry IV playing in Newcastle and then on tour to five UK cities, and our new First Encounter production of The Taming of the Shrew playing in schools and theatres in six locations nationwide. Based in Shakespeare's home town, we are a national company and have toured regionally since 1978 and internationally since 1913. Touring plays a crucial role in our commitment to take the best possible work to the widest possible audience.

'Young Shakespeare Nation will also help us in this ambition, as we grow our network of schools and partner theatres. More than 1,000 schools have already signed up for our free streaming of Richard II and our extensive Learning and Performance Network reaches more than 400,000 young people nationwide.

'Matilda The Musical continues to delight audiences both here and on Broadway. We are so pleased that more than 1.26m people have now seen the show worldwide and we are extending booking in London to the end of next year, with an additional 300,000 tickets on sale from today.'

Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director, said: 'Our 'Roaring Girls' season brings together three brilliant, but rarely performed classics, each with fabulous parts for women and all posing important questions about the role of women in a predominantly male world and how women continue to be portrayed on our stages. There is so much to explore here, with so many contemporary resonances, and it is particularly exciting to be working with Jo Davies, Polly Findlay and Maria Aberg, who bring - in different ways - very fresh approaches to classical work.

'Alongside Shakespeare in the main house and other classics in the Swan, we also want to continue our commitment to new writing and we are deep in plans for the redevelopment of The Other Place as a creative hub and festival space which we want to open in 2015. We are positive about raising the funding we need, because the idea is being greeted with such enthusiasm by artists and potential collaborators. Next year is the 40th anniversary of the original tin shed TOP and we will celebrate its founder, Buzz Goodbody, as we plan a future which can be a legacy of her truly original vision.'

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre at the Barbican said: 'Our Theatre and Dance programme has built a reputation of bringing high-quality Shakespeare to London audiences and we have a long history of working with internationally renowned companies. We are delighted to be able to announce today that our relationship with the RSC will continue beyond Richard II with more brilliant plays and with both organisations' education departments working together to realise an exciting and unified creative learning programme.'


Press Contact information
For further information, please contact on 01789 412667, on 020 7845 0512 or Amy.belson@rsc, on 01789 412622.

For press ticket requests, please contact on 01789 412660

Images for media use
We are changing the way media can download RSC images for press use. From Thursday 3 October media will be able to download high res images direct from the RSC website. Media will need to register at please note registration will take up to 2 days to process.

Link to online A/V interviews:  

Booking information

Priority Plus Booking opens from Wednesday 25 September 2013
Full RSC Members' web booking opens Monday 30 September 2013
Full RSC Members' phone booking opens Wednesday 2 October 2013
Associate RSC Members' postal and web booking opens Monday 14 October 2013
Associate RSC Members' phone booking opens Wednesday 16 October 2013

PUBLIC BOOKING: Wednesday 23 October 2013

To book call 0844 800 1110 or online at

£5 tickets for 16-25s gives access to £5 tickets for all RSC productions whether we are performing in Stratford-upon-Avon, London or on tour. Tickets can be booked in advance on the phone, online or in person with some available for sale on the day of the performance. The scheme is supported by Project Partner, BP.

Residents of CV37 will benefit from a new stand-by ticket scheme when the RSC's spring 2014 season opens in March. All residents who live in the theatre's postcode area will be able to buy the best available seats for that day's performance for £10. The offer applies to all of the RSC's productions in the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres and it is anticipated to be a regular offer for CV37 residents to acknowledge the support received by the RSC from its neighbours. The tickets will be available on the day of performance, in person or by telephone and proof of address will be required at time of booking or on collection of tickets.

'Live from Stratford-upon-Avon':
Henry IV Part I screened live on Wednesday 14 May 2014, Henry IV Part II on Wednesday 18 June 2014 and The Two Gentlemen of Verona on Wednesday 3 September 2014.

Public booking for 'Live from Stratford-upon-Avon' screenings of Henry IV Parts I & II opens from 23 October 2013 at
Newcastle upon Tyne: Public Booking for Newcastle upon Tyne season opens 15 November 2013. To book call 08448 11 21 21 or online at
Barbican: Priority booking for Henry IV Parts I & II at the Barbican opens early next year.

Website and Social media
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Notes to Editors



The RSC Literary Department is generously supported by THE DRUE HEINZ TRUST

The RSC in America is presented in collaboration with THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

RSC workshops, conferences and professional development courses for students and teachers are generously supported by THE CLORE DUFFIELD FOUNDATION

The Learning and Performance Network is generously supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

American Airlines is the preferred airline for Matilda The Musical

Cross are the exclusive pen partner of the RSC in support of New Writing

Live from Stratford-upon-Avon is generously supported by the Sidney E. Frank Foundation

£5 tickets for 16-25 year olds supported by BP

The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales with the fundamental belief that every child has the right to be inspired by the arts. The Prince of Wales remains a very active President. To fulfil The Prince of Wales' vision the charity's UK wide arts engagement programmes work with deprived children from areas of social and economic disadvantage and builds partnerships between their schools and local high quality cultural venues. The charity takes children on a journey into their local arts venue and unlocks the arts for those who need to be inspired by them the most, raising children's self-esteem and confidence, and nurturing their communication skills. Through the work of Children & the Arts, children learn that cultural venues are welcoming, accessible places to visit and since 2006 Children & the Arts has introduced over 300,000 children to life-changing arts experiences.
William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays Publication date: 12 November
The domestic murder tragedy Arden of Faversham, announced for production in May 2014 in the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, will be part of a new book by renowned scholars Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays. As a companion to the award-winning The RSC Shakespeare: Complete Works, this is the first edition for over a hundred years of the varied body of plays that has become known as 'The Shakespeare Apocrypha'. In addition to Arden of Faversham, in which Shakespeare's hand has recently been detected; other highlights are the whole text of Sir Thomas More, which includes the only complete scene from any play to survive in Shakespeare's own handwriting and the history play Edward III. This is also the first ever Shakespeare edition to include the 1602 edition of Thomas Kyd's pioneering The Spanish Tragedy, with 'additions' that the latest research attributes to Shakespeare.


Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Henry IV Part I                                             Wednesday 16 April, 1pm
Running 18 March – 6 September 2014

Henry IV Part II                                             Wednesday 16 April, 7pm
Running 28 March – 6 September 2014

The Two Gentlemen of Verona                     Tuesday 22 July, 7pm
Running 12 July – 4 September 2014

Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

The Roaring Girl                                             Tuesday 15 April, 7pm
Running 9 April – 30 September 2014

Arden of Faversham                                       Tuesday 6 May, 7pm
Running 30 April – 2 October 2014

The Rape of Lucrece                                        Tuesday 24 June, 7pm
Running 23 June – 4 July 2014

The White Devil                                                Tuesday 5 August, 7pm
Running 30 July – 4 October 2014

The Canterbury Academy, Canterbury
First Encounter: The Taming of the Shrew         Thursday 13 February, 12.45pm
UK Tour February – March 2014

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