Buzz Goodbody's feminist modern-dress production featured a rock and roll score and a forest of metallic trees.

Woman in denim jeans and jacket with straw hat stands on a large tree trunk, against which a young man with open jacket and medalion sits
Rosalind (Eileen Atkins) and Orlando (David Suchet), 1973, Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Photo by Joe Cocks Studio Collection © Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Browse and license our images


Buzz Goodbody was the first woman to direct As You Like It in the Company's main house, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Although popular with audiences, critics criticised the production's lack of distinction between the court and the countryside. In an interview, Goodbody explained her thoughts on the play:
"Hardly anyone seems to do any work:  the shepherds and shepherdesses...are not really country people. I see them as art college students - drop-outs who live in the country and have mummies and daddies in the town with large incomes." Birmingham Post, 9 June 1973.


The production got off to a shakey start when the actor cast as Orlando, Bernard Lloyd, injured his back and was replaced by his understudy David Suchet, who had only three days to rehearse before the first preview. During the previews, both Eileen Atkins (Rosalind) and Annette Badland (Audrey) sustained ligament strains.

Reviewers thought Eileen Atkins was at her best as the blue-jeans Ganymede: "jaunty, critical, turning on joke voices and coupling brazen outward assurance with inner confusion" Irving Wardle, The Times, 13 June 1973.


Theatrical poster for As You Like It 1973 on blue background, featuring cast list,  quote from Martin Luther and rear view of jeans wearing Rosalind

Buzz Goodbody's As You Like It is often referred to as a feminist production. Active in the Women's Movement, Goodbody was a founding member of the Women's Street Theatre Group. The souvenir poster, inserted in the programme, provocatively juxtaposed the rear view of a jeans-clad Rosalind with Protestant Reformer Martin Luther's 16th century views on a woman's place.
In addition, four pages of the programme were dedicated to exploring the theme including an article by the Shakespearean scholar Anne Barton, extracts from which are reproduced below.

Rosalind is one of five Shakespearean heroines (the others being Julia, Portia, Viola and Imogen) who adopt male disguise. There were early Elizabethan precedents for such behaviour. In Lyly’s Gallathea (1585) and in Greene’s James IV (1590) women disguise themselves for a time as men. They do so in both plays out of fear, because their lives are threatened and they need to obliterate their own identity until conditions change. Rosalind transforms herself into the boy Ganymede initially for a similar reason: to escape the wrath of Duke Frederick and to provide protection for herself and Celia on their journey into Arden. But she uses her disguise constructively, as the heroines of Greene and Lyly had not…In her masculine disguise, Rosalind is free. She can talk to men and women alike without coquetry or pretence…It confirms her in her own comprehension of herself.” Anne Barton, programme for As You Like It, 1973, Royal Shakespeare Theatre.


Famed for his structural simplicity, Christopher Morley designed a single set of tubular trees with a circular acting space in front. One critic joked that the "dangling metal pipes for the forest background suggests that some-one has disembowelled the Albert Hall organ above the stage" Jeremy Kingston, Punch, 20 June 1973.
The following gallery includes examples of Morley's set and costume designs for the production.

Theatrical programme showing dark title



Royal Shakespeare Theatre

John Abbott - Jaques de Boys, Servant

Ray Armstrong - Amiens

Eileen Atkins - Rosalind

Annette Badland - Audrey

Sydney Bromley - Adam

Janet Chappell - Lady, Phoebe

Tony Church - Duke Senior

Ian Collins - Page (alt)

Jeffery Dench - Corin

Michael Ensign - Hymen, Lord

Brian Glover - Charles

Nickolas Grace - Dennis, Servant

Wilfred Grove – Courtier, Servant 1

Charles Keating - Oliver

Catherine Kessler - Lady

Maureen Lipman - Celia

Peter Machin - Courtier, Silvius

Colin Mayes - Servant

Richard Mayes - Sir Oliver Martext

Clement McCallin - Duke Frederick

Lloyd McGuire - Courtier, Servant, William

Merlin Milner - Page (alt)

Richard Pasco - Jaques

Anthony Pedley - Le Beau

Derek Smith - Touchstone

David Suchet - Orlando

Leon Tanner - Courtier, Lord

Simon Walker - Page (alt)

Neil Weerdmeester - Page (alt)

Janet Whiteside - Hisperia





Director – Buzz Goodbody

Designer – Christopher Morley

Lighting Designer – Brian Harris

Music – Guy Woolfenden

Choreographer – John Broome

Fight arranger – Brian Glover

The RSC's archive is held at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. You can visit the Library and Archives there to look at production related information, including photos, videos of shows and stage management documents:

Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive homepage

You can search the RSC catalogue here: 

RSC performance database

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