A message from the Acting Artistic Director and Executive Director.
When the global pandemic was declared in March 2020 and our theatres were temporarily closed, we were forced to quickly re-evaluate our plans and ask how we could continue to serve our Royal Shakespeare Community with all the constraints of the lockdown. Full productions were postponed, access to schools stopped, our exhibitions and social spaces closed, travel prevented and many of our staff were furloughed, but we continued to work with and support our communities – those groups, individuals, organisations, partners, supporters and audiences who we work with and alongside every day.
Whilst young people learnt from home, people were locked down and artists lost their livelihoods, we supported them through one of the most challenging periods of our time, whilst doing everything we could to ensure our strong survival and that of the theatre industry. We retained our Royal Shakespeare Theatre acting company throughout the pandemic to help us to deliver activity for audiences, young people, teachers and communities across the UK and beyond.
The pandemic and our recovery are certainly not over, but as the financial year came to an end, we had firm plans to open a new outdoor space in Stratford-upon-Avon to stage The Comedy of Errors ahead of a UK tour and run at the Barbican Centre in London, we had confirmation that Matilda The Musical would re-open at the Cambridge Theatre, London in the autumn, that our new musical The Magician’s Elephant would reopen the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford and our long awaited co-production of The Mirror and the Light with Playful Productions had the green light for a September world premiere. We were also making plans to announce our activity from January 2022.
Our timeline below highlights some of the key activity from our year, made possible with the continued support of our audiences and supporters including the loan from the Culture Recovery Fund. It has been an extraordinary time for all, and we thank everybody for their dedication, patience and commitment to the RSC.
Catherine and Erica