A world premiere, reopenings and events that celebrate both Shakespeare and spring, there's lots going on in April across the RSC.

Power struggles, fairytale characters and the imagined life of Shakespeare

Two new productions appear on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre main stage this month, and the world premiere of Hamnet marks the return of audiences to the recently refurbished Swan Theatre.

Julius Caesar NO RED STRIP social image
Julius Caesar plays in Stratford until 8 April, then will be touring until 24 June
sitefinity Cymbeline trailer
Cymbeline opens 22 April until 27 May
The word Hamnet intertwined with tree branches cast a shadow over a stage with a yellow, blue and pink sunset background.
Hamnet opens in the newly refurbished Swan Theatre on 1 April

  • Julius CaesarConcerned that Caesar seems dangerous, revolutionaries take the violent decision to murder him. They have no plan for what comes nextIn Stratford until 8 APRIL, on tour 20 APRIL - 24 JUNE
  • CymbelineFrom Rome to the hills of Wales, Cymbeline tells the story of the eponymous king of ancient Britain whose daughter Imogen marries against her father’s will. Fairytale characters include a wicked stepmother, a girl in disguise, a faithful servant, lost brothers and even a headless corpse. 22 APRIL - 27 MAY
  • Hamnet: Adapted from Maggie O'Farrell's novel by award-winning playwright Lolita Chakrabarti (Life of PiRed Velvet, Hymn). Warwickshire,1582. When the plague steals 11-year-old Hamnet from his loving parents, they must each confront their loss alone. And yet, out of the greatest suffering, something of extraordinary wonder is born. In Stratford: 1 APRIL - 17 JUNE, at the Garrick Theatre, London 30 SEPTEMBER - 6 JANUARY 2024


Other stages offer wonder, delight and laughs

My Neighbour Totoro
Tickets go on sale this month for the return of My Neighbour Totoro
Photo by Manuel Harlan © RSC, with Nippon TV Browse and license our images
Live at the RSC Festival
Live comedy and music make up the programme for the Live At the RSC festival

Following the announcement of the return of the record-breaking My Neighbour Totoro this autumn, tickets go on sale in April. The magical story of sisters Satsuki and Mei, who are swept up in exciting adventures with their new neighbours in a realm of spirits, sprites, and natural wonder, will return to the Barbican from Tuesday 21 November to Saturday 23 March 2024, with priority booking opening on Tuesday 11 April and public booking open on Friday 21 April 2023.

Book tickets here

Live at the RSC returns to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from Wednesday 31 May to Sunday 4 June with a festival of live comedy and music, in association with Underbelly and Orchestra of the Swan, and tickets go on sale on Tuesday 11 April. RSC Associate Artist Anton Lesser, award-winning ventriloquist Nina Conti and Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominee Jess Fostekew are all scheduled to appear. More acts will be confirmed later this month.

Live at the RSC Festival

Reopenings across the Stratford-upon-Avon RSC site

Visitors are offered more ways to relax, refuel and be entertained this April.

Swan Theatre 2023
The Swan Theatre welcomes audiences on 1 April after three years of closure
Photo by Sara Beaumont © RSC Browse and license our images
The Play's The Thing permanent exhibition
Our permanent exhibition The Play's The Thing reopens on 22 April
Photo by Andrew Fox © RSC Browse and license our images
Wine in Susie's cafe bar
Susie's Cafe Bar at The Other Place begins serving again on 5 April
Elin Englund © RSC Browse and license our images

After three years of closure, the beautiful Swan Theatre reopens its doors on 1 April and unveils the results of a year-long programme of refurbishment.

A full of season of five plays runs from now until November, with Hamnet, The Empress, Falkland Sound, Merchant of Venice 1936 and Cowbois all now open for booking.

See the full Swan Theatre refurbishment

On Saturday 22 April, we will also reopen The Play’s The Thing, an exhibition made up of items including costumes worn by Judi Dench, Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh and props from the RSC’s vast Collection. Offering unique insights into the history of theatre-making in Stratford-upon-Avon since 1879, The Play’s The Thing will also connect with a new community engagement project, ثلاثة خيوط ذهبية / Three Gold Threads.  

Located in the Swan Theatre end of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s buildings, the exhibition will be open from 12 noon daily, closing at 7.15pm (5pm on Sundays). Free entry. No advance booking required.

See what's inside The Play's The Thing

For those looking for a light lunch or convivial drink with friends, Susie's Cafe Bar in The Other Place also reopens its doors this month. From 5 April, deli style lunches, homemade cakes, barista-crafted hot drinks and wines, beers or ciders are on offer from 10:00am to 6:00pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and from 10am to 9pm Thursday and Sunday.

A copy of Shakespeare's First Folio
A rare copy of Shakespeare's First Folio is just one of the treasures on display in The Play's The Thing
Photo by Sara Beaumont © RSC Browse and license our images

Shakespeare's birthday and spring blooms

In addition to the reopening of The Play's The Thing, a range of free activities to help celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday are on offer to visitors to Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday 22 April:

Free Outdoor Performances in the Swan Theatre Gardens

Audiences are welcomed to the Swan Theatre Gardens between 12 - 2pm and 3 - 5pm for free family-friendly performances of TOAST by Pif-Paf Theatre. An energetic and communal celebration of food, song, story, dance and fire with storytelling from Ian Douglas, expect flying pancakes and plenty of laughs.

Follow the RSC Sensory Map in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Also on 22 April, the RSC will present a brand-new sensory trail of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Co-created by artist Thomas Cross, the RSC Front of House Team and Tour Guides, Ileap and Orchestra of the Swan Café Muse members, free, exciting, innovative, and surprising moments in the building will reveal insight into the heritage of the RSC.

Delight in spring colour at Morton Hall Gardens

This spring Morton Hall Gardens opens its gates once again to visitors for its annual Tulip Festival, with all ticket sales supporting costume-making at the RSC.

More than 100 tulip varieties can be admired in borders, pots and three cut flower marquees, revealing the magic and splendour of the queen of the spring flowers. Original costumes will be on display showcasing the incredible skills of the RSC costume team.

The Tulip Festival is Saturday 29 April to Monday 1 May, 10am-5pm (last entry at 3.30pm). Tickets are £12 per person (under 12s free).

Find out more and book tickets

"Folio Day" marks the 400th birthday of the First Folio

Described as one of the great wonders of the literary world, the First Folio, entitled Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, was published in 1623, seven years after the death of its author. Without this first printed edition of Shakespeare's collected plays, the world would have lost half of his dramatic work. Many of the plays had never been printed before.

Folio Day is on 23 April and celebrations culminate on the 400th birthday of the Folio on 8 November

Read more about the First Folio here.

Morton Hall Gardens photos for 2020 event_2019_Clive Nichols_300319 (3)
Celebrate spring while supporting RSC costume making at Morton Hall Gardens
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