Gregory Doran, Artistic Director Emeritus

Gregory is our Artistic Director Emeritus.

Gregory stepped down as Artistic Director in April 2022, after 35 years with the RSC including the last ten years as Artistic Director.

Gregory Doran head and shoulders, wearing a dark blue shirt
Gregory Doran
Photo by John Bellars © RSC Browse and license our images

Gregory Doran has been described as “one of the great Shakespearians of his generation” [Sunday Times]. Gregory was officially appointed as the RSC's Artistic Director on 14 September 2012 and took up the reins in earnest in January 2013. He programmed his first season from September 2013.

In June 2021 Greg directed, alongside Owen Horsley, Henry VI Part One; Open Rehearsal Project, which invited audiences inside the full rehearsal process for the first time in the company’s history. The project culminated in a live rehearsal room run-through of Henry VI Part One broadcast online.

In November 2019, Greg opened The Boy in the Dress – a new musical of David Walliams’ heart-warming comedy telling the story of star striker and fashion lover Dennis, adapted by former RSC writer-in-residence Mark Ravenhill, with new songs from Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers. The production garnered five- star reviews.

Greg’s production of Measure for Measure opened in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in July 2019 and transferred to the Barbican in November that year, where it performed alongside The Taming of the Shrew and As You Like It until January 2020.  All three plays embarked upon a UK tour, playing in repertoire on tour for the first time in RSC history. 

At the end of 2018 Greg directed Troilus and Cressida, collaborating with virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie to create a futuristic vision of a world echoing with the rhythm of battle. The production marked the first time the RSC explored a full-length Shakespeare play with a cast with an equally gender-balanced cast and played in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre through October 2018.

In 2017 Greg directed Imperium Part I: Conspirator and Imperium Part II: Dictator. Based on the Cicero Trilogy by Robert Harris and adapted by Mike Poulton, the six plays played over two performances, with Richard McCabe returning to the company in the role of Cicero. This theatrical event opened to huge critical acclaim in the Swan Theatre in December 2017, and transferred to the Gielgud Theatre in June 2018, where it played until September 2018.

In July 2017, in association with Little Angel Theatre Company, Greg revived his celebrated production of Shakespeare’s epic poem Venus and Adonis in the Swan Theatre for a limited run, before visiting the Civic Theatre, Dublin in October in association with Dublin Theatre Festival.

On 23 April 2016, to mark Shakespeare’s birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death, Greg directed Shakespeare Live! From the RSC. In a unique collaboration with the BBC, hosted by David Tennant and Catherine Tate, this special event celebrated Shakespeare’s legacy across the performing arts. It was nominated for a 2017 BAFTA for Best Live Event.

In June 2016 he directed King Lear with Antony Sher in the title role. The production performed in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in autumn 2016, and transferred to the Barbican Theatre in November of the same year. In spring 2018, Greg’s revival of King Lear performed at Brooklyn Academy of Music, before returning for a short run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in June 2018.

Greg brought this special Shakespeare anniversary year to a close with his production of The Tempest, with Simon Russell Beale returning to the RSC as Prospero. In collaboration with Intel and in association with Imaginarium Studios, the production conjured Prospero’s magical island in an innovative new staging. It opened in November in Stratford-upon-Avon and transferred to London in July 2017.

Greg directed Henry V in autumn 2015 on the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, before reviving his productions of Richard II and Henry IV Parts I & II, and all four plays performed together for the very first time at the Barbican Theatre under the banner King and Country from November 2015 until January 2016, launching the RSC’s celebrations of the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death. The productions then embarked upon a tour to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in February and March 2016 - the first time the RSC has taken the work from its main repertoire to the People’s Republic - before finally arriving at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York for a month-long residency in April and May 2016.

In 2015, the centenary year of Arthur Miller’s birth, Greg directed a production of Miller’s great American tragedy, Death of a Salesman, with Antony Sher as Willy Loman, Harriet Walter as Linda Loman, and Alex Hassell as their son, Biff. The production opened in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in April 2015 and transferred to the Noel Coward Theatre in London for a limited run from May 2015.

In 2014, Greg directed Henry IV Parts I & II with Antony Sher as Falstaff, Jasper Britton as Henry IV, and Alex Hassell as Hal. Both productions opened in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in April 2014, and played in Stratford-upon-Avon through the summer before travelling to Newcastle upon Tyne in October 2014. After a short UK tour in October and November 2014, the productions transferred to the Barbican Theatre, London in December 2014.

In autumn 2014 Greg directed The Witch of Edmonton. Written by Dekker, Middleton and Ford, the production saw Eileen Atkins return to the RSC in her 80th birthday year. The show played in the Swan Theatre in October and November 2014.

In October 2013 Greg reunited with David Tennant, directing Richard II in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The production then transferred to the Barbican Theatre in December 2013. In May 2013 the RSC announced “Live From Stratford-upon-Avon”, a new programme to screen its productions live from Shakespeare’s home town, in collaboration with Picturehouse/Cityscreen Cinemas, and with Ravensbourne to stream the productions direct to UK schools. Richard II was the first RSC Shakespeare production to play live to cinemas around the world on 13 November 2013. His productions of Henry IV Parts I & II were broadcast live on 14 May and 18 June 2014 respectively, and Henry V was broadcast on 21 October 2015. King Lear was broadcast on 12 October 2016 and The Tempest on 11 January 2017. Troilus and Cressida was broadcast on 14 November 2018. All Live From broadcasts are subsequently released on DVD.

In 2012 he directed an acclaimed Julius Caesar set in modern Africa for the World Shakespeare Festival, and directed the Chinese classic, The Orphan of Zhao, in the Swan in Stratford upon Avon as part of the Worlds Elsewhere Season in the same year.

His other recent RSC productions include: Written on the Heart by David Edgar, Cardenio, Morte d'Arthur in an adaptation by Mike Poulton, Twelfth Night, Hamlet [with David Tennant in the title role, Patrick Stewart as Claudius, and winner of The Whatsonstage Best Regional Production and Theatre Event of the Year in 2009], A Midsummer Night's Dream and Love's Labour's Lost. Other productions for the Company in the UK and internationally include: Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, All's Well That Ends Well, The Taming of the Shrew (paired with John Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed), Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter's Tale, Othello, Merry Wives The Musical, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, King John, Timon of Athens, All Is True (Henry VIII), Venus and Adonis (in collaboration with The Little Angel Theatre), Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, Oroonoko by Biyi Bandele (after Aphra Behn), The Odyssey adapted by Derek Walcott, Jubilee by Peter Barnes, and co-directed a Mike Poulton adaptation of The Canterbury Tales.

In 2002, Greg led a season of five seldom-performed Jacobean and Elizabethan plays and directed The Island Princess by John Fletcher. Greg and the Company enjoyed a sell out season at the Swan Theatre and a run at the Gielgud Theatre in London's West End, and received an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement of the Year. In 2005 he led the Gunpowder season in the Swan, directing Ben Jonson's Sejanus in this season of neglected Jacobean works.

Elsewhere, his productions include: Anjin: The Shogun and The English Samurai by Mike Poulton and Shochiro Kawaii (Tokyo 2009 and 2012, Sadlers Wells 2013), The Merchant of Venice (Tokyo 2007), York Millennium Mystery Plays (York Minster), Black Comedy and The Real Inspector Hound (Donmar Warehouse Productions – Comedy Theatre), The Giant by Antony Sher (Hampstead Theatre), Mahler's Conversion by Ronald Harwood (Aldwych Theatre), Titus Andronicus (Market Theatre, Johannesburg and RNT Studio – TMA Award for Best Production), Twelfth Night, Ulysses (in Dermot Bolger's adaptation, Philadelphia), A Midsummer Night's Dream (NY State University), The Joker of Seville (Walcott/McDermott musical, Boston/Trinidad), Edward Bond's September (Canterbury Cathedral), Frank McGuinness’ Someone to Watch Over Me (Theatr Clwyd), Two Dogs and Freedom (Sadlers Wells and Channel 4). As Artistic Director of Century Theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest, Bedroom Farce, An Inspector Calls, Private Lives. As Associate Director of Nottingham Playhouse: Long Day's Journey Into Night, Waiting For Godot, The Norman Conquests, Hester, The Rose and The Ring.

His filmed version of Hamlet (BBC2/Illuminations) was broadcast in the UK on Boxing Day 2009 and in the US on PBS. His other film work includes: Macbeth (Channel 4 / Illuminations) and A Midsummer Night's Dreaming (BBC4 documentary based on research for his own production); and he directed extracts from various Shakespeare plays for Michael Wood's BBC series, 'In Search of Shakespeare'. Illuminations also filmed his World Shakespeare Festival production of Julius Caesar, which was broadcast on BBC4 as part of the BBC's Shakespeare season for the Cultural Olympiad in June 2012.

With the British Library, Greg compiled two highly successful CDs of extracts from live recordings of great performances from Stratford since the late fifties: Essential Shakespeare LIVE!, and Essential Shakespeare ENCORE!

His writing credits include Woza Shakespeare! co-authored with his partner Antony Sher about their production of Titus Andronicus in South Africa in 1995; The Shakespeare Almanac in 2009; and Shakespeare's Lost Play: In search of Cardenio in 2011.

Greg began his career with the RSC as an actor in the 1987-88 season, becoming an Assistant Director in 1989. He was made an Associate Director in 1996 and became Chief Associate Director in 2006. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the University of Huddersfield, the University of Nottingham, the University of Bristol, the University of Warwick, the University of Birmingham, the University of Hull and the University of York. He was also the 2012-13 incumbent of the Humanitas Visiting Professor in Drama at Oxford University.

On 13 February 2017 Greg gave the sixth Annual London Shakespeare Lecture in honour of Sir Stanley Wells at the University of Notre Dame. In June 2012 he received the Sam Wanamaker Award from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, an annual award that recognises and celebrates work which has increased the understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare.

Greg delivered the 2016 Richard Dimbleby Lecture, which was broadcast on 16 March 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Financial Times

'One of the supreme Shakespearian directors of our era'

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