Open Stages

Our Open Stages programme embraces and celebrates amateur theatre, re-forging its bond with the world of professional theatre.

Wokingham Theatre’s Open Stages production of Summon Up the Blood
Photo by George Riddell © Wokingham Theatre – Image Licensing

We collaborate with 100 amateur theatre companies from all over the UK, who produce their own Shakespeare or Shakespeare-inspired productions, performing everywhere from village halls and castles to pubs and forests, even a graveyard, a cathedral and a derelict swimming pool. The project involves over 3000 individuals from all walks of life coming together to take part in workshops, training and mentoring with professionals from the RSC and beyond.

Our Partner Theatres

Open Stages is a collaboration between the RSC and six partner theatres across the UK.

  • Contact Theatre Manchester
  • Dundee Rep Theatre
  • Lyric Theatre Belfast
  • Nuffield Theatre Southampton
  • Questors Theatre London
  • Sherman Theatre London

What's Happened in Open Stages

Between 2014 and 2015 all the amateur companies involved performed in their own venues across the UK.  More than 60,000 people came to see them.

In spring 2015, the Open Stages companies showcased their work at nine regional showcases at the partner theatres. 

On Sunday 9 August 2015, nine Open Stages companies shared their work in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at a national showcase. Our current Open Stages project runs until the end of 2016. 

90% of those participating said Open Stages has changed significantly the way they work.

We have all had the most amazing experience!  If someone had said to me when I was a kid, or even a couple of years ago that I would have performed on the RSC stage with my local drama group I would never have believed it.  I can’t even say my dream has come true because it’s way beyond a dream!!

Lynda, Lighthorne Drama Society

What's next

Inspired directly by the experience of Open Stages, we are producing a large-scale production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare's love letter to amateur theatre. We will tour to all 12 nations and regions of the UK in 2016. Alongside our professional company, the production will feature a different amateur company in each venue playing the key roles of Bottom and the Mechanicals. You can follow their progress at the Dream 2016 website and book tickets for A Midsummer's Night's Dream. 

This is an arrangement developed between the RSC and Equity.

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