Our focus will be on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre for 2021, with the Swan Theatre and The Other Place remaining closed until 2022.

We're bringing audiences back to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre this winter, for the first time since the pandemic closed our doors in March.

  • A programme of live performances throughout December and January, with socially distanced, reduced capacity audiences and events streamed, so if you can’t make it in person you don’t have to miss out - to be announced in November
  • Full re-opening of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Spring 2021 with The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors, when we hope social distancing restrictions will be eased
  • Ongoing closure of the Swan Theatre means delaying The Wars of the Roses Parts 1 & 2 (rescheduled from autumn 2020 to 2021), hopefully to open in 2022
  • The Magician’s Elephant due to open in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in November 2021 is planned to go ahead

Our education, digital and streaming activity will also continue throughout the autumn and winter, including free schools’ broadcasts of Shakespeare plays, online performances delivered by actors to early years children and families at home and in schools and courses to support young people’s literacy through Shakespeare. We also plan to open our West End hit, Matilda The Musical, as soon as it's financially viable.


view of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from Bancroft Gardens, with autumn leaves
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Photo by Sara Beaumont © RSC Browse and license our images

Our workforce

The announcement comes as formal consultation begins with our permanent workforce. The consultation process is a result of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and covers a range of proposals from redundancies to changes in terms and conditions of employment.

We won't know the final number of redundancies until the end of the consultation, but 158 people are currently in roles at risk. We hope to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies to below 90, through redeployment into existing and newly created roles, together with voluntary redundancy. This would at most be a 17% reduction in the workforce.

Impact of the pandemic

Talking about the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the future of the RSC, Artistic Director Gregory Doran, said: “We want to welcome our audiences back, to re-open again and to help our regional and wider economy rebuild itself, bringing people back into our towns and cities. Our financial position and uncertainty around future restrictions means that our immediate focus will be on our largest theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon - the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. 

“We continue to face the challenges of the ongoing pandemic and today was a difficult day as we began formal consultation about potential redundancies with our fantastic staff. We will continue to respond creatively to the ongoing pandemic and look forward to the moment when we can reopen our doors with full-scale productions to celebrate all that is brilliant about live theatre.”

Executive Director Catherine Mallyon added: “We remain positive that live theatre will be back in our communities, doing what it does best – entertaining audiences and bringing joy to so many people.

“These are incredibly difficult times for everyone, and for the theatre community they are especially tough. Our live performance sector is experiencing one of the highest levels of loss of work anywhere: the personal impact of this is often devastating; the loss of skilled and talented people permanently from our sector a very real worry for the future; and the impact on the nation’s economy immense. 

“We remain completely committed to a vibrant future for live theatre and to ensuring that right across the country Shakespeare and theatre can be relevant to and enjoyed by all the communities we serve. We thank everybody for their messages, donations, patience and commitment to seeing us reopen again”. 

Our Box Office team will contact ticket holders for The Wars of the Roses directly.


Keep Your RSC

The RSC is a charity and our mission is to transform lives through amazing experiences of Shakespeare and great theatre. If you can, please consider supporting us by making a donation and Keep Your RSC.


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