My name is Joe and I’m an Assistant Producer at the RSC. We’re currently preparing for the first week of rehearsals of our brand-new musical The Magician's Elephant.

A lot of preparation, planning and consideration goes into creating a show at the RSC. To give you a quick insight; The Magician's Elephant began its journey in 2015 with the RSC’s Literary Department.

The Literary team pair together the perfect writer and composer who will bring the musical to life. Years of development and fine tuning took place to eventually guide the piece to where it is now.

So it’s taken six years to get the show ready for performance?

These things take time. Matilda The Musical took the best part of 10 years from conception through to performance.

The book, music and lyrics all go through a ton of drafts. And we need to make sure the words on the page will also work when they are spoken or sung out loud in a theatre, so we do this through a series of workshops.

The Magician's Elephant has had four workshops all together. These workshops allow the creative team to problem solve, to hear the words and music out loud, to see what works (and what doesn’t work), and to prepare particular moments within the show in advance of rehearsals.

Six people dressed in black standing surrounded by white screens, the person in the centre is holding the wooden handle of a giant puppet, of which you can see the wooden skeleton above his head
Research and development workshops for The Magician's Elephant in January 2020.
Photo by Sam Allard © RSC Browse and license our images

So – we have the piece written, it’s had its development, and now it’s ready to be performed on the big stage. Fast forward six years and here we are, 11 weeks away from opening the show in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

How long are we rehearsing for?

The cast and creative team will spend eight weeks rehearsing the show. There’s lots of singing, dancing, acting AND puppetry to practice and prepare in advance of the show opening on 14 October.

There’s puppetry in the show?

YES – we have an extremely special puppet in this show, the Elephant. This particular puppet has taken around six weeks to create and has been designed by Puppetry Consultant Mervyn Millar. The level of detail that Mervyn and his team operate with to create the elephant is staggering, and it’s then brought to life by the wonderful puppeteers in the show. I can’t wait for you to see it, it’s incredible - take a look at this video to see what we're working with.

Play video

What other preparations have you been making?

The Producers' team have been hard at work. The safety of our cast, creatives and audiences is incredibly important to us, and we’ve been working hard to ensure that everyone feels supported and safe throughout the entire process – from rehearsals all the way through to the final performance.

Outside of that, the show is in its final stages of preparation. Costumes are getting made, the set is being built, the cast are warming up and the puppet is having its final finishing touches. 

If you haven’t got yourself a ticket to the show yet, why not?

Book tickets

See you soon!

Joe Kerry smiling with his dog 

Joe Kerry

Joe is an Assistant Producer at the RSC and a Weston Jerwood Fellow. As a producer Joe is passionate about championing new writing and building platforms for creatives to develop their work and skills. He’s also a HUGE basketball fan! Find him on Twitter @joelikepoe or visit flengwin.com.

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