Extraordinary children, mythical creatures and magic play across our stages through December, with treats on offer for all of the family.
Festive offerings for Stratford theatre-goers
Powerful wizards battle each other for Christmas and an Elizabethan romp, not performed on our stages since 1986, is reimagined in the Swan Theatre.
The Box of Delights
A duel between two magicians, one who's determined to cancel Christmas. Only young Kit Harker and a mysterious, magic box can save everything. Justin Audibert's (The Taming of the Shrew 2019, The Jew of Malta 2015) fantastical production for all of the family is based on the original stage production first produced at Wilton’s Music Hall. Booking now until 7 January, including some Sunday performances.
Book tickets here
And there's one last present to open after Christmas. Join the creative team for Unwrapped: The Box of Delights on 30 December to find out all about how the production was staged.
Read more about Unwrapped here
The Fair Maid of the West
In 16th Century Cornwall, there is a pub, with a landlady whose kind heart attracts attention, both good and bad. Her friendships lead to adventures and voyages across the sea and put her in the heart of a raging war. It will take all of her charm and wit to survive. Thomas Heywood’s The Fair Maid of the West is reimagined by Isobel McArthur (Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of)) in this dynamic, music-laden adaptation for 2023 opening 2 December.
Book tickets here
How do you adapt an existing play for a modern audience? All your questions answered in the Creative Team Talk: The Fair Maid of the West on 11 December.
Read more about Creative Team Talks
Fantasy and delight on our London stages
Our family-friendly London productions continue this month with the recent return of My Neighbour Totoro to the Barbican and the continuation of the West End smash-hit Matilda the Musical (age guidance for both productions 6+). Meanwhile, the London transfer of Lolita Chakrabarti's adaptation of Hamnet breaks hearts with its bittersweet story of the doomed son of Agnes and William Shakespeare.
My Neighbour Totoro
Back for a strictly limited 18-week season, the "dazzling" (Guardian) My Neighbour Totoro, the five-star adaptation of the Studio Ghibli classic plays all month. When sisters Satsuki and Mei move to the countryside they find the beautiful, but frightening, nearby woods are full of magic, spirits and sprites.
Book tickets for Totoro here
Matilda the Musical
The multi-award winning musical, inspired by the beloved book by the incomparable Roald Dahl, tells the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.
Book tickets for Matilda the Musical here
Warwickshire, 1582. Agnes Hathaway, a natural healer, meets the Latin tutor, William Shakespeare. They create a life together and make a family but when the plague steals 11-year-old Hamnet from his loving parents, they must each confront their loss alone.
Book tickets for Hamnet here
Nostalgic Festive Charm in Stratford
If you're visiting us during the second week of December be prepared for some outdoor fun on the streets surrounding our theatres.
The Victorian Christmas Market is back, transforming the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon into a festive wonderland for visitors of all ages. More than 300 stalls featuring traders in Victorian costume will be open for business on the following dates:
- Thursday 7 December (12pm to 8pm)
- Friday 8 December (10am to 8pm)
- Saturday 9 December (10am to 8pm)
- Sunday 10 December (10am to 5pm)
Delicious Dining with a View
Back inside the warmth of our buildings, our Rooftop Restaurant is now taking bookings for Afternoon Tea, Pre-theatre Dining and drinks in the Cocktail Bar, while our Riverside Cafe opens from 11am daily, serving a selection of hot and cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches.
Read the menus and book at our restaurant here.
Indulge in some retail therapy
If you're still on the hunt for the perfect gift, drop into our RSC Shop, which opens every day at 11am. From Christmas ornaments to playbooks, jewellery, homewares and even dog accessories, we've something for everyone.
Can't get to us in person? Our online shop is always open!
A Warm, Safe, Inclusive Space
Join us from 2 to 5pm every Tuesday afternoon (except 26 December) for our Warm Hub at The Other Place. With free hot drinks and snacks, each week will also include arts and craft workshops for adults and after school activities for children as well as a creative play space. Books, puzzles and games will also be available to anyone using the cafe. There is also access to free WiFi.
Each week different organisations and services will be joining us at the Warm Hub to chat about what they do and how they can help.
- Tuesday 5 December: Family Information Service
- Tuesday 12 December: "Ophelia's Frost Faire", delivered by graduate students from the University of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute, an interactive exhibition exploring Shakespeare and climate action
- Tuesday 19 December: Warwickshire and Solihull Community & Voluntary Action (Please note the Warm Hub will be closing at 3pm this day, so we invite you join us on a free tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
Children must be accompanied at all times. No need to book, please just come along. Find out more about our Warm Hub here.
Stream some Shakespeare
Baby, it's cold outside. Don't fancy braving the elements? In a Twixmas funk? You can enjoy our theatre from the comfort of your own home with Sky Arts' and BBC Four's Shakespeare Seasons.
Our 2018 production of Macbeth, directed by Polly Findlay, with Christopher Eccleston as Macbeth and Niamh Cusack as Lady Macbeth will be shown on Sky Arts on 7 December and available to stream anytime thereafter.
It follows November screenings of Richard II (2013) directed by Gregory Doran, with David Tennant as Richard II and Hamlet (2016) directed by Simon Godwin, with Paapa Essiedu as Hamlet. Available to stream now.
Over on BBC iPlayer there are a dozen RSC offerings including screenings of our productions and interviews with the actors and creatives who've made our theatre over the years. Catch David Tennant in Hamlet (2008), the 1965 The Wars of the Roses trilogy of Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III, directed by Peter Hall and John Barton, and our 2022 production of As You Like It, directed by Roy Alexander Weise and set in a futuristic African world.
See all the listings for the BBC Shakespeare Season here.
Eat, Drink and listen to a podcast
If the record needs changing from the endless Christmas-songs playlist, we've two different podcasts series for you!
Our autumn offering of Interval Drinks has just returned with some top artistic names in conversation over an intermission beverage with other artists who inspire them.
New episodes include actor Anyebe Godwin, recently seen in The Empress and Falkland Sound, chatting to film, stage and TV actor Cleo Sylvestre about becoming the first black actress with a permanent role on a British TV soap, collaborating with The Rolling Stones and the time that Laurence Olivier knocked on her dressing-room door.
Fresh from her role as a witch in Macbeth, actor Amber Sylvia Edwards chats to RSC Associate Artist Greg Hicks about his 50-year career in theatre. Greg shares memories of his mentor Peter Hall, divulges which global superstar is one of the biggest backstage pranksters and admits the embarrassing story that led to him missing his debut with the RSC.
Just as rehearsals were getting underway for our 2024 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, its director Eleanor Rhode and illusion director John Bulleid caught up to whisper about all the magic going on both on and offstage.
And coming soon, playwright and director Isobel McArthur takes a break from rehearsals for The Fair Maid of the West to meet up with fellow Scottish playwright Gary McNair for a chat about breaking into the industry and dealing with unexpected success.
Stream or download the Interval Drinks podcast here.
Tour the world from your armchair on the hunt for the First Folios
Join our Artistic Director Emeritus Gregory Doran as he travels to libraries, museums and private collections in 10 different countries trying to see as many of the 235 surviving copies of the First Folio as possible and hearing the remarkable stories behind each one.
Find out more about My Shakespeare, The Folio Roadshow here.