This month marks 10 years since HRH The Queen opened the Royal Shakespeare Theatre after its transformation.

Following a three-and-a-half year reconstruction that began in 2007, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre officially reopened in March 2011.

At the heart of the transformation was a 1,040-seat auditorium and a new thrust stage, bringing the actors and audience closer together as Shakespeare's plays were intended to be performed. The distance from the stage to the furthest seat was reduced by almost half, from 27m to 15m. Some of the original back wall of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre's balcony can still be seen today in the Rooftop Restaurant, showing how far that distance was from the stage.

Since then, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage has presented 39 Shakespeare productions, six family shows, our recent set of live streamed performances direct to your home, and much more.

Here we take a look back at some special moments in this 10-year celebration of our well-loved main stage.

  Macbeth and Lady Macbeth perform a coronation ritual.

CREATIVES

Director Michael Boyd 
Designer Tom Piper
Lighting Jean Kalman
Sound Andrew Franks
Music Craig Armstrong
Movement Struan Leslie
Fights Terry King

COMPANY

Madeline Appiah
Kadeem Banks
Jason Battersby 
Jamie Beamish
Charlie Blackwood 
Sienna Callen-Franklin 
Howard Charles 
Thomas Ford 
Scott Handy 
Hal Hewetson
Aidan Kelly 
Tallulah Markham 
Caroline Martin 
Jacob Mauchlen 
Des McAleer 
David McGranaghan 
Aislín McGuckin 
Nikesh Patel 
Daniel Percival 
Anwar Ridwan 
Daniel Rose 
Isabella Sanders 
Gabriel Siweniku 
Jonathan Slinger 
Steve Toussaint 
Charlie Walters 
Christopher Wright 

Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC

Macbeth, 2011

The first new production in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which also launched the 50th anniversary season, was Michael Boyd's Macbeth, with Jonathan Slinger and Aislín McGuckin as Lord and Lady Macbeth.

Set during the Protestant Reformation period, one of the most striking aspects of the show was having the witches' prophecies spoken by children, who later appeared as the ghosts of Macduff's murdered offspring.

Also in the theatre this year were: The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Heart of Robin Hood.

Julius Caesar, 2012

With a leading all-black British cast, Julius Caesar played as part of the World Shakespeare Festival, during the 2012 Cultural Olympiad and London Olympic games. Set in contemporary Africa, this was a political thriller resonating with themes on what a country wants to be and how it wants to be governed.

And 2012 brought the appointment of our current Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, and Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, pledging to stage all 36 plays in the First Folio.

Also in the theatre this year were: The Comedy of Errors, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, and The Mouse and his Child.

Adjoa Andoh as Portia in Julius Caesar.

CREATIVES

Director Gregory Doran 
Designer Michael Vale
Lighting Vince Herbert
Music Akintayo Akinbode
Sound Jonathan Ruddick
Movement Diane Alison-Mitchell
Fights Kev McCurdy
Associate Director Gbolahan Obisesan

COMPANY

Adjoa Andoh 
Segun Akingbola 
Mark Ebulue 
Ray Fearon 
Andrew French 
Marcus Griffiths 
Ivanno Jeremiah 
Paterson Joseph 
Jeffery Kissoon
Samantha Lawson 
Simon Manyonda 
Emilyne Mondo 
Joseph Mydell 
Cyril Nri 
Theo Ogundipe 
Chike Okonkwo 
Jude Owusu
Ewart James Walters 
Eugene Washington 
Chinna Wodu 

Photo by Kwame Lestrade © RSC

Richard resigns the crown.

CREATIVES

Director Gregory Doran
Designer Stephen Brimson Lewis
Lighting Tim Mitchell
Sound Martin Slavin
Music Paul Englishby
Movement Michael Ashcroft
Fights Terry King

COMPANY

Elliot Barnes-Worrell 
Antony Byrne 
Sean Chapman 
Marty Cruickshank 
Oliver Ford Davies 
Gracy Goldman 
Marcus Griffiths
Emma Hamilton 
Jim Hooper 
Youssef Kerkour 
Jane Lapotaire 
Nigel Lindsay 
Jake Mann 
Sam Marks 
Miranda Nolan 
Keith Osborn 
Michael Pennington 
Joshua Richards 
Oliver Rix 
David Tennant 
Simon Thorp 
Edmund Wiseman 

Photo by Kwame Lestrade © RSC

Richard II, 2013

Gregory Doran’s residency as Artistic Director began with David Tennant in the title role of Richard II. It was the first production to be broadcast live from Stratford-upon-Avon to a UK and worldwide audience, screened in 600 cinemas with over 125,000 viewers. 

Richard II later returned, playing at London's Barbican Theatre in 2016, alongside Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V, as ‘King and Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings’, marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Also in the theatre this year were: All’s Well That Ends Well, As You Like It, Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, and Wendy and Peter Pan.

Love's Labour's Lost, 2014

We marked the centenary of the First World War with several productions on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage, with Love’s Labour’s Lost, Love’s Labour’s Won (Much Ado About Nothing) and our Christmas production The Christmas Truce. Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won were performed as a pair set either side of the war, with design inspiration taken from the nearby country house, Charlecote Park.

In 2014, we also held a 40th anniversary celebration of the opening of The Other Place.

Also in the theatre this year were: Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Christmas Truce.

Four women in Edwardian costume sitting on deckchairs on a well-manicured lawn

CREATIVES

Director Christopher Luscombe 
Designer Simon Higlett
Sound Jeremy Dunn
Lighting Oliver Fenwick
Composer Nigel Hess
Music John Woolf
Movement Jenny Arnold
Fights Kevin McCurdy

COMPANY

Sam Alexander
Peter Basham
William Belchambers
Edward Bennett
Nick Haverson
John Hodgkinson
David Horovitch
Tunji Kasim
Sophie Khan Levy
Oliver Lynes
Emma Manton
Chris McCalphy
Peter McGovern 
Frances McNamee
Chris Nayak
Jamie Newall
Roderick Smith
Flora Spencer-Longhurst
Michelle Terry
Harry Waller
Thomas Wheatley
Leah Whitaker

Photo by Manuel Harlan © RSC

Iago and Othello in conversation.

CREATIVES

Director Iqbal Khan 
Composer and Music Akintayo Akinbode
Movement Diane Alison-Mitchell
Set and Lighting Ciaran Bagnall
Costume Fotini Dimou
Sound Andrew Franks
Fights Kev McCurdy

COMPANY 

David Ajao
Nadia Albina
Scarlett Brookes
James Corrigan
Ayesha Dharker
Eva Feiler
Owen Findlay
Jacob Fortune-Lloyd
Guy Hughes
Gwilym Lloyd
Rina Mahoney
Lucien Msamati
Ken Nwosu
Brian Protheroe
Hugh Quarshie
Jay Saighal
Tim Samuels
Joanna Vanderham

Photo by Keith Pattison © RSC

Othello, 2015

Iqbal Khan’s production of Othello welcomed the return of Associate Artist Hugh Quarshie in the title role. It was also the first time we cast a black actor as Iago, played by Lucian Msamati, changing the traditional dynamic between the characters where Iago’s hatred couldn’t be so easily attributed to race.

This year brought the launch of our Shakespeare Folio Project to produce new Chinese translations of Shakespeare's plays. Associate Director Owen Horsley would direct a Mandarin version of Henry V in Shanghai in 2016.

Also in the theatre this year were: Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, Cymbeline, and Wendy and Peter Pan.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2016

Performed as never before, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation was a co-production between the RSC and 14 local amateur companies across the UK. Directed by Erica Whyman, it united 18 professional actors with 84 amateur performers, who took their turns playing the Mechanicals, and 580 schoolchildren.

2016 also marked the 400th year of Shakespeare’s death, the reopening of The Other Place and the launch of our family-friendly exhibition The Play’s The Thing. And we put the first live digital avatar on stage with The Tempest.

Also in the theatre this year were: Hamlet, The Tempest, and King Lear.

A woman holds onto a man.

CREATIVES

Director Erica Whyman 
Designer Tom Piper
Lighting Charles Balfour
Music Sam Kenyon
Sound Andrew Franks
Movement Siân Williams

COMPANY

Jamie Cameron 
Lila Clements 
Ayesha Dharker 
Peter Hamilton Dyer 
Lucy Ellinson 
Ben Goffe 
Aimee Gray 
Laura Harding 
Jack Holden 
Mari Izzard 
Mercy Ojelade 
Chu Omambala 
Sam Redford 
Laura Riseborough 
Theo St. Claire  
Alex Tomkins 
Jon Trenchard 

Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC

Orsino and Viola look into each other's eyes.

CREATIVES

Director Christopher Luscombe
Designer Simon Higlett
Lighting Tim Mitchell
Sound Jeremy Dunn
Music Nigel Hess
Fights Kev McCurdy

COMPANY

Esh Alladi 
Nicholas Bishop
Tom Byrne 
Sally Cheng 
Michael Cochrane 
Adrian Edmondson 
James Gant 
Dinita Gohil 
John Hodgkinson   
Beruce Khan 
Verity Kirk  
Luke Latchman 
Vivien Parry 
Joseph Prowen  
Giles Taylor 
Kara Tointon 
Sarah Twomey 
Jamie Tyler 

Photo by Manuel Harlan © RSC

Twelfth Night, 2017

Following their success with Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won in 2014, Director Christopher Luscombe and Designer Simon Higlett returned with Twelfth Night, featuring the RSC debut of Adrian Edmondson as the yellow-stocking mandolin-playing Malvolio.

The lavish late-Victorian designs included railway stations, opulent hothouses, wood-panelled halls and gardens, with period British and Indian costumes. Taking inspiration from Queen Victoria’s friendship with her Indian attendant, Abdul Karim, Feste was played as an Indian retainer in Olivia's court, and Viola and Sebastian were Indian twins marooned in 1890s England.

Also in the theatre this year were: Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus, and A Christmas Carol.

Romeo and Juliet, 2018

Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick played the title roles in Erica Whyman’s Romeo and Juliet. Following the successful collaboration with young and amateur performers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2016, young people from our associate schools across the country performed as the Chorus alongside the professional cast.

Also in the theatre this year were: Troilus and Cressida, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth and A Christmas Carol.

The Friar remonstrates with Juliet.

CREATIVES

Director Erica Whyman 
Designer Tom Piper
Lighting Charles Balfour
Music Sophie Cotton
Sound Jeremy Dunn
Movement Ayse Tashkiran
Fights Kate Waters

COMPANY

Afolabi Alli 
Donna Banya 
Stevie Basaula 
Ishia Bennison 
Katy Brittain 
Raif Clarke 
Beth Cordingly 
Paul Dodds 
Josh Finan 
Karen Fishwick 
Andrew French  
Bally Gill 
Mariam Haque  
Michael Hodgson 
Charlotte Josephine 
John Macaulay  
Tom Padley 
Sakuntala Ramanee 
Raphael Sowole 
Nima Taleghani

Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC

The cast of The Boy in the Dress.

CREATIVES

Novel David Walliams
Book Mark Ravenhill
Music and Lyrics Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers and Chris Heath
Director Gregory Doran
Designer Robert Jones
Choreographer Aletta Collins
Lighting Mark Henderson
Musical Supervisor and Arrangements Bruce O'Neil
Musical Director and Arrangements Alan Williams
Orchestrators Tom Deering and Guy Chambers
Sound Paul Groothuis and Tom Marshall
Puppetry Director Laura Cubitt
Dramaturg Pippa Hill
Associate Director Sarah Tipple
Associate Choreographer Carl Harrison
Associate Musical Director Laura Bangay
Associate Designer Paul Atkinson

COMPANY

David Birch
Hannah Fairclough
Max Gill
Ahmed Hamad
Ryan Heenan
Rufus Hound
Irvine Iqbal
Charlotte Jaconelli
Alim Jayda
Natasha Lewis
Forbes Masson
Christina Modestou
Alexander Moneypenny
Clancy Ryan
Cilla Silvia
Jack Anthony Smart
Ben Thompson
Jamie Tyler
Charlotte Wakefield
Georgie Westall
Grace Wylde

Children:
Asha Banks
Oliver Crouch
Ethan Dattani
Jack Hobson
Alfie Jukes
Shivain Kara-Patel
Tabitha Knowles
Jackson Laing
Zachary Loonie
Toby Mocrei
Miriam Nyarko
Kassian Shae Akhtar
Arjun Singh Khakh

Photo by Manuel Harlan © RSC

 

The Boy in the Dress, 2019

The world stage premiere of this new musical adaption of David Walliams’ much-loved book was directed by Gregory Doran, adapted by Mark Ravenhill, and with new songs by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers. The Boy in the Dress premiered in November 2019, with a roster of multi-talented young and adult actors, glittering musical numbers and one memorable puppet dog.

The production ended its run in March 2020, days before the Covid-19 pandemic closed UK theatres.

Also in the theatre this year were: Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, and As You Like It.

Troy Story, 2020

To continue bringing our work to audiences during the pandemic, our online winter season of stripped-back performances were filmed and streamed live from the RST stage. Troy Story was a dramatic five-part event across one day telling the story of the Trojan War. Each part was read by a small cast of actors, with two musicians playing traditional folk songs on a range of instruments.

Also streamed live from the stage as part of winter 2020-21 were: The Boy in the Dress – A Celebration, Festive Tales, Young Bloods, Swingin’ the Dream, and Michael Morpurgo’s Tales from Shakespeare.

Actors stand behind lecterns on stage.

CREATIVES

Director Gregory Doran
Singer Dunja Botic
Guitar/Oud Nick Lee

COMPANY

Alice Blundell
Jonathan Broadbent
Ben Caplan
Alfred Clay
Andrew French
Colm Gormley
William Grint
Amanda Hadingue
Greg Haiste
Kemi-Bo Jacobs
Avita Jay
Joseph Kloska
Zoe Lambert
Georgia Landers
Mogali Masuku
Annette McLaughlin
Dyfrig Morris
Baker Mukasa
Anne Odeke
Patrick Osborne
Bea Webster
Assad Zaman

Photo © RSC