REBELS ASSEMBLE – COMMUNITY PERFORMERS FROM SIX REGIONS OF ENGLAND TAKE TO THE RSC STAGE FOR NEW PRODUCTION OF HENRY VI
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HENRY VI: REBELLION, 1 April-28 May 2022
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, rsc.org.uk
Directed by Owen Horsley
Over 70 adult non-professional performers from England will have the opportunity to take to the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon this Spring, with the premiere of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s epic new production of Henry VI: Rebellion.
The production, which features a cast of 118 people in total, opened on Friday 1 April with non-professional adult participants from Bradford (1 April) and Nottingham (2 April) taking up the roles of the people of England for the show’s first two public performances.
Among the cast of Henry VI: Rebellion are 25 professional actors who will be joined by 93 members of the Royal Shakespeare Community gathered from across England, including 74 adults from Blackpool, Bradford, Canterbury, Cornwall, Norwich and Nottingham who are part of the RSC’s Shakespeare Nation adult community participation programme, and 19 young performers aged 13-17 from the RSC’s Next Generation Act young acting company.
Henry VI: Rebellion, a fresh new take on Henry VI: Part Two, hurtles through one of the most turbulent periods in English history, asking the question: can the people ever really decide their own future?
Ian Wainwright, RSC Learning National Partnerships Producer, said:
“Last week over 70 members of our adult community participation programme, Shakespeare Nation, gathered together on the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to take part in technical rehearsals for Henry VI: Rebellion. Hailing from 6 English towns and cities these are people from all walks of life, most of whom have little or no experience of Shakespeare either as a performer or theatre-goer. It has been fantastic to see their confidence develop whilst gaining a passion for Shakespeare. Each group will take part in up to five performances of the play, and I can’t wait to see them take to the stage between now and June.”
Owen Horsley, Director of Henry VI: Rebellion, said:
“Out of the 37 plays in the canon Henry VI Part Two – or as we are calling it, Henry VI: Rebellion – has more characters than any other play. There are 85 characters on the cast list, which may explain why these plays are rarely done. One of the reasons for this wide array of characters is a series of scenes that Shakespeare writes concerning the people of England, who in various ways interact with the royal family.
“This gave us an idea! For many years the RSC has built incredible relationships across the UK with partner theatres through Shakespeare Nation and our youth programme, Next Generation Act. After 18 months of developing these links online this production seemed the perfect opportunity to be ambitious. So, for the people of England, we have cast the people of England. This is an extremely exciting project as it allows this history play, written over 400 years ago, to respond directly to the state of the nation – and at points put nearly 50 people on the RSC stage.
The professional cast for Henry VI: Rebellion includes: Oliver Alvin-Wilson (York), Lucy Benjamin (Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester), Richard Cant (Gloucester/Lord Saye), Daniel J Carver (Clifford/Horner), Angelina Chudi (Hume), Paola Dionisotti (Winchester/Humphrey), Felixe Forde (Bevis), Minnie Gale (Margaret), Ashley D Gayle (Smith), Conor Glean (Dick), Ben Hall (Suffolk), Jack Humphrey (Clerk), Nicholas Karimi (Warwick), Al Maxwell (Bolingbroke/ Holland), Georgia-Mae Myers (Margaret Jourdain), Peter Moreton (Salisbury), Sophia Papadopoulos (Suffolk’s Messenger), Mark Quartley (Henry VI), Aaron Sidwell (Jack Cade), Yasmin Taheri (Neighbour), John Tate (Captain/Stafford), Ibraheem Toure (Whitmore), Emma Tracey (Spirit), Daniel Ward (Buckingham) and Benjamin Westerby (Somerset).
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Shakespeare Nation adult community participation group performance dates and participant names (in performance order)
BRADFORD working with The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
Group participants: Rachel Brewin, Angela Buffham-Wheeler, Bradley Cook-Pattison, Kelly Harris, Ben Hopwood, Georgina Jovanovic, Elizabeth Lancaster, Ron Norman, Anthony Priestley, Diana Reed, Qaraman Saidzada and Corin Ward
Friday 1 April, 7.15pm (Preview)
Friday 15 April, 7.15pm (Preview)
Saturday 16 April, 1.15pm (Preview)
NOTTINGHAM working with Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall Nottingham
Group participants: Neil Brocklehurst, Julieanne Ford, Gavin Gordon, Anne Jennings, Yasmin Khan, Sally Maddison, Kathryn McAuley, John Merchant, Paul Robinson, Penny Shields, Diana Sule and Becky Valentine
Saturday 2 April, 7.15pm (Preview)
Tuesday 19 April, 7.15pm (Preview)
Wednesday 20 April, 1pm (Press Performance)
Friday 22 April, 7.15pm
Saturday 23 April, 1.15pm
CORNWALL working with Hall for Cornwall
Group participants: Darcey Ball, Kate Barden, Simon Bennett, Adam Bowkett, Lily Burton, Tori Cannell, Lucie Dowling, Jonathan Groves, Guy Hanson, Emily Harrison, Kate Maciver-Redwood and Rosie Maciver-Redwood
Wednesday 27 April, 7.15pm
Thursday 28 April, 1.15pm (Chilled Performance)
Saturday 30 April, 1.15pm (Audio Described, Captioned and Chilled)
Saturday 7 May, 1.15pm
Saturday 7 May, 7.15pm
NORWICH working with Norwich Theatre
Group participants: Saint Ananda, Ed Cairns, Georgia Dimopoulou, David Fung, Etta Geras, Olli Gillo, Gina Irving, Mark Markham, Julian Newton, Aamer Raza, Helen Simpson, Katie Smith, Helen Wells and Jaime Willimott
Wednesday 11 May, 7.15pm
Thursday 12 May, 1.15pm
Friday 13 May, 7.15pm
Saturday 14 May, 1.15pm
CANTERBURY working with The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Group participants: Philip Baston, Debbie Christie, Caroline Clark, Sasha Douglas, Graeme Forbes, Matilda Jovanovic, Mary Onions, Wayne Rhodes, Chrissy Swain, Sarah Thurstan, Harrison Todd and Lynne Wright
Wednesday 18 May, 7.15pm
Thursday 19 May, 1.15pm
Friday 20 May, 7.15pm
BLACKPOOL working with The Grand Theatre, Blackpool
Group participants: Philip Avenell, Stephen Coughlan, Liz Curran, Stephen Foster, Seamus Graeme, Beccy Hands, Ross Hewitt, Mickey Horrocks, Roger Lloyd Jones, Wendy Stevenson, Martyn Woodcock and Jeananne Young
Wednesday 25 May, 7.15pm
Thursday 26 May, 1.15pm (Audio Described and Captioned)
Friday 27 May, 7.15pm (BSL Signed)
Saturday 28 May, 1.15pm (Final Performance)
Notes to editors:
BOX OFFICE: rsc.org.uk, 01789 331111
Henry VI: Rebellion
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Directed by Owen Horsley. Season consultant director, Gregory Doran.
1 April – 28 May 2022
Press performance, 1pm, Wednesday 20 April 2022
The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England
The RSC is generously supported by RSC America
The work of the RSC is supported by the Culture Recovery Fund
Henry VI: Rebellion is supported by RSC Production Circle Members Susan Tomasky and Ronald J Ungvarsky, and Marcia Whitaker
Royal Shakespeare Theatre productions sponsored by Darwin Escapes
The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and The Kovner Foundation.
Next Generation Act Company bursary places are generously supported by The Leverhulme Trust Arts Scholarship
RSC Next Generation is generously supported by the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust, Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, John S Cohen Foundation and Noel Coward Foundation
The Shakespeare Nation adult engagement work is generously supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
The Oakley Charitable Trust: Supporting the involvement of Next Generation Act and Shakespeare Nation in Henry VI: Rebellion
The work of the RSC Learning and National Partnerships is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Clore Duffield Foundation, The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, GRoW@Annenberg, The Polonsky Foundation, Stratford Town Trust, The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, Teale Charitable Trust, The Grimmitt Trust and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
The RSC’s partner theatres are:
The Grand Theatre, Blackpool; The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford; The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury; Hall for Cornwall; Hull Truck Theatre, Hull; Intermission Youth, London; New Vic Theatre, Stoke on Trent; Northern Stage, Newcastle; Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham; Norwich Theatre; Silhouette Youth Theatre; York Theatre Royal, York.
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The Royal Shakespeare Company creates world class theatre, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world, performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as commissioning an exceptionally wide range of original work from contemporary writers. Our purpose is to ensure that Shakespeare is for everyone, and we do that by unlocking the power of his plays and of live performance, throughout the UK and across the world.
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