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CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR THE RSC’S 2020 PRODUCTION OF THE WINTER’S TALE

The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
Directed by Erica Whyman
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Saturday 28 March – Friday 2 October 2020
Press night: Tuesday 7 April 2020, 7pm
Box Office: 01789 331111, rsc.org.uk

IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE HERE

Casting details are announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) 2020 Summer production of The Winter’s Tale, which plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 28 March 2020.  Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, the production will be cross-cast with The Comedy of Errors (from 25 April 2020) and Pericles (from 15 August 2020).  All three plays are sponsored by Darwin Escapes.

Set across a 16-year span from Mad Men to the moon landings, this new production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale imagines a world where the ghosts of fascist Europe collide with horrors of The Handmaid’s Tale, before washing up on a joyful seashore.

King Leontes rips his family apart with his jealousy but grief opens his heart. Will he find the child he abandoned before it is too late?

Following its run in Stratford, the production, along with The Comedy of Errors and Pericles will transfer to the Barbican in London. The Winter’s Tale will then embark on a national tour in January 2021 - details to be announced shortly.

The production’s music is composed by Isobel Waller-Bridge, who has previously worked with Erica Whyman on her productions of Hecuba and The Seven Acts of Mercy. Her other soundtracks include Vanity Fair (ITV/Amazon), Vita and Virginia (Protagonist Pictures), Fleabag (BBC/Amazon), Woyzeck (Old Vic) and Knives in Hens (Donmar Warehouse).

Erica Whyman said, “I am particularly excited to be directing The Winter’s Tale as it is one of my all-time favourite plays and I directed it once before at Southwark Playhouse in 1999, very happily. I think it has walked with me ever since, and become in so many ways more sharply reflective of our world than perhaps it was then.  It is a play in which a man with immense power, who abuses it in the grip of a totally consuming paranoia, comes to his senses on a very public platform and apologises - without limit or excuse. That seems to me an act of such rare humility, that to do justice to it Shakespeare conjures a true fairytale, in which grief, repentance, patience, love and common sense are all in the end rewarded. It is not a problem play, but a miracle of a play which turns and twists at lightning speed and with acute understanding of the human heart.

“I’m setting my production in the 1950s in a monarchy that has known fascism - an imagined Spain where politics, religion and power are deeply intertwined, moving later to 1969 in the North East of England in which real labour and a deep sense of community seems gloriously healthy, loving  and straightforward by comparison. I have a gift of a cast, and I’m proud to be working with two Deaf actors, William Grint and Bea Webster who, as they translate Shakespeare’s words into BSL, bring a wonderful freshness and attentiveness to the rehearsal room.”

Joseph Kloska plays Leontes. His previous RSC credits include Imperium, Written on the Heart and Measure for Measure.  He also appeared in The Christmas Truce, the first production Erica Whyman directed for the RSC.  Joseph’s TV and film work includes The Crown, Foyle’s War and Made in Dagenham.

Kemi-Bo Jacobs makes her RSC debut playing Hermione. Her previous theatre credits include All My Sons (Manchester Royal Exchange), Hedda Gabler (Salisbury Playhouse), Betrayal (Derby Theatre), and Wild East (Young Vic). TV work includes Lewis and Doctor Who. 

Ben Caplan also makes his RSC debut playing Camillo.  Well known for his role as Sergeant Peter Noakes in the BBC’s Call The Midwife, Ben’s other TV credits include Silent Witness, Midsomer Murders, and the BAFTA award winning, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries.  Recent stage work includes The Exorcist (Bill Kenwright productions), Describe The Night (Hampstead Theatre) and The Knowledge (Charing Cross Theatre).

Amanda Hadingue plays Paulina.  Her previous RSC credits include Miss Littlewood (directed by Erica Whyman), The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, The Duchess of Malfi, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew and The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes.  Other theatre work includes Top Girls and A Small Family Business (National Theatre).

Andrew French plays Polixenes. Andrew’s previous RSC credits include Erica Whyman’s production of Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caesar. TV work includes A Very English Scandal, EastEnders, Marvin Can’t Fail and Holby City.

Further cast includes: Alice Blundell (Dorcas), Alfred Clay (Archidamus), Colm Gormley (Antigonus), William Grint (Young Shepherd), Vicky Hall (Mopsa), Avita Jay (Cleomenes), Zoe Lambert (Shepherdess),Georgia Landers (Perdita), Mogali Masuku (Dion), Dyfrig Morris (Mariner), Baker Mukasa (Lord), Anne Odeke (Autolycus), Bea Webster (Emilia) and Assad Zaman (Florizel).

The role of Mamillius will be cast with four young actors from Silhouette Youth Theatre. Based in Northampton this company was developed by Leigh Wolmarans, former Head teacher of Lings Primary School, part of the RSC Associate Schools programme.  Pupils have previously worked with the RSC on Romeo and Juliet and the RSC’s talent development programme, Next Generation ACT.

Joining Erica Whyman on the creative team are Tom Piper (Set Designer), Madeleine Girling (Costume Designer), Prema Mehta (Lighting), Isobel Waller-Bridge (Music), Jeremy Dunn (Sound) and Anna Morrissey (Movement).

The production will be broadcast live into cinemas on 10 June 2020.

The Winter’s Tale is supported by RSC Production Circle members, Mark Thompson and Jane Blumberg-Thompson.

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact:

Kate Evans kate.evans@rsc.org.uk 01789 412622 or 07920 244434

For review tickets, and regional media enquiries, please contact Dean Asker dean.asker@rsc.org.uk 01789 412660

For press images, please register free of charge at https://images.rsc.org.uk/

Booking information:

BOOKING: 01789 331111 or rsc.org.uk

WITH THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk

The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and The Kovner Foundation.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre productions sponsored by Darwin Escapes.

The Winter’s Tale is supported by RSC Production Circle members Mark Thompson and Jane Blumberg-Thompson

The work of the RSC Literary Department is generously supported by The Drue and H.J. Heinz II Charitable Trust.

The Associate Schools programme is supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust, The Schroder Foundation, The Ernest Cook Trust, Teale Charitable Trust, The Grimmitt Trust, and is powered by Samsung as part of its commitment to inspire learning through technology.

RSC Next Generation is generously supported by The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, GRoW @ Annenberg and The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world.  We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.  

We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre.  We reach 530,000 children and young people annually through our education work, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online.

Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage.  All our productions begin life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring them to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town.  Registered charity no. 212481 rsc.org.uk

Darwin Escapes currently operate 20 luxurious holiday resorts and 2 golf courses across the UK offering holiday breaks and holiday home ownership. A wide variety of holiday styles are accommodated, ranging from romantic boutique escapes to luxury lodge retreats and traditional family focused holiday parks, all of which boast state-of-the-art and diverse accommodation and on-site facilities including spas, gyms, restaurants and activities.

The company strives to raise the standards of the UK holiday park industry and to ultimately provide the best possible holiday experience for holiday makers and holiday home owners by creating brand new resorts in stunning UK locations with accommodation and facilities that rival those of 5 star hotels.

For further information about Darwin Escapes and its numerous holiday destinations and facilities visit www.darwinescapes.co.uk or follow them on Twitter or Facebook: @DarwinEscapes

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