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LOCAL EXTRAS SET TO APPEAR ON STAGE IN RSC PRODUCTION OF KING LEAR

LOCATIONS EXTRAS COME FROM INCLUDE: BIRMINGHAM, KENILWORTH, SOLIHULL, ATHERSTONE AND STRATFORD-UPON-AVON

Twenty-four ‘extras’ from across the Midlands will take part in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) forthcoming production of King Lear, which features Antony Sher in the title role, and is directed by RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran.  The extras will appear on stage in a number of scenes as Lear’s knights, soldiers and vagrants, in a production that runs between 20 August – 12 October in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Back in June the RSC put out a call asking for people to get involved in the production.  A number of ‘taster’ workshops took place, involving movement, acting, singing and fight sessions, to give those interested a glimpse of what the experience would entail.  From the 140 people who applied, twenty-four will now get to tread the stage of the world-famous theatre, appearing in alternate performances in two groups of twelve.

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, and director of King Lear, said: “Lear often refers to his ‘one hundred knights’ but rarely do we get to see full their riotous presence on stage. We wanted the audience to experience what his daughter Goneril has to go through when entertaining his ‘insolent retinue’ and maybe understand why she would want to cast him and his people out into the storm. It felt like a wonderful opportunity to engage with the local community, as we did back in 2012 with Julius Caesar with great success, to bring to life these ‘debauched and bold’ knights. It is going to be very exciting to watch our supporting cast of twenty-four Midlanders bring a new energy and life to one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated plays.”

Those taking part include a local government officer from Birmingham; a warehouse logistics officer in Atherstone; a Customer Services advisor for Royal Mail from Kenilworth; a school groundsman from Solihull; and a rowing coach from Stratford-upon-Avon.

In order to understand more about the way in which the RSC mounts a production, the extras have been spending time with members of the King Lear creative team, including Anna Girvan (Assistant Director), Bret Yount (Fight Director) and Michael Ashcroft (Movement Director).  They will join the professional cast for final technical rehearsals before the show has its first public performance on 20 August.

For more press information please contact:
Dean Asker
RSC Press Office
01789 412660, 0778 9937759
dean.asker@rsc.org.uk

Notes to editors

King Lear runs in repertoire in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon between 20 August – 15 October.  It will be broadcast live in cinemas 12 October.  

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