Public Booking is now open - book tickets to four extraordinary human dramas in the Swan Theatre for 2023.

This April we are reopening the Swan Theatre for the first time since the pandemic with the world premiere of Hamnet. The reopening season continues throughout the year with:

The Empress

Tanika Gupta’s play drawing on British Asian history in the reign of Queen Victoria premiered in the Swan Theatre in 2013. This new production directed by Pooja Ghai opens in the Swan from 7 July then transfers to the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.

Falkland Sound

A new play by Brad Birch directed by Aaron Parsons tells the story of a rural community and way of life turned upside down following the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentine forces in April 1982. Falkland Sound plays in the Swan Theatre from 5 August. 

The Merchant of Venice 1936

This gripping new production from Watford Palace Theatre offers a rare and vivid insight into a dark chapter in our history, all too relevant to Britain today. Directed by Brigid Larmour and starring Tracy-Ann Oberman as Shylock. Playing in the Swan Theatre from 21 September.


Part gun-slinging Western, part love story for our times, this is a playful and exuberant celebration of queer love, freedom and self-expression from the writer of I, Joan and Bitch Boxer; Charlie Josephine, co-directed by Charlie Josephine and Sean Holmes. Cowbois plays in the Swan Theatre from 14 October.

Erica Whyman, RSC Acting Artistic Director

"This season is a celebration of the power of theatre and of stories we should have heard or should have listened to, but we haven’t dared.

"We live in a volatile, fractious world. Shakespeare would have recognised its energy; he too knew a world of accelerating change, inventive and exhilarating, but also furious, divisive, unequal, uneasy. Now more than ever it takes courage to speak these truths, as new cultural wars roar and mutter."

Seating in the Swan Theatre
Brand new seats in the refurbished Swan Theatre
Photo by Sara Beaumont © RSC Browse and license our images

The Swan Theatre

Opened in 1986, the Swan Theatre occupies the same Stratford-upon-Avon site as the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and is a favourite space for many actors, directors and audiences.

It closed during the pandemic and since January 2022 we have been working to refurbish it. Changes include new infrastructure for lighting, sound and video, repairs to the woodwork and brickwork, new wider seats with armrests in all positions replacing the previous bench seating, improved access including more designated wheelchair spaces and an enhanced hearing loop.

The Swan Reopening season will begin with the the world stage premiere of Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet in April, followed by The Empress, Falkland Sound, the Merchant of Venice 1936 and Cowbois.

Updated 13 March 2023
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