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The Royal Shakespeare Company has today announced seven ‘socially distanced’ performances of its new musical; The Magician’s Elephant, which will run throughout November and December 2021 in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

The venue will operate at reduced capacity for seven Tuesday evening performances throughout the run, beginning from 2 November at 7.15pm. Audiences will be seated with an empty row in front of and behind them and with one empty seat between parties to ensure 1m+ social distancing.

Audience members will also be asked to wear a mask throughout their visit unless exempt.

Socially distanced performances of The Magician’s Elephant will take place on; Tuesday 2nd, Tuesday 9th, Tuesday 16th, Tuesday and 23rd November, Tuesday 7th, Tuesday 21st and Tuesday 28th December at 7:15pm.

Tickets for all socially distanced performances are available to book via the RSC Box Office on 01789 331111 from midday to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director said “Some of our audiences, particularly those who consider themselves vulnerable, have told us that they would feel more comfortable attending indoor events with additional space around them and with face coverings worn at all times. We have therefore decided to make seven Tuesday performances of The Magician’s Elephant socially-distanced and we hope this will mean that those who might otherwise feel unable to return to live theatre this winter have the opportunity to do so confidently.”

The decision to introduce designated socially distanced performances was informed by ‘The Seven principles to ensure an inclusive recovery’ produced by We Shall Not Be Removed, Ramps on the Moon, Attitude is Everything, Paraorchestra and What Next?, which aim to give cultural organisations and individuals the tools to approach Covid-19 recovery and delivery through the lens of Disability and relevant Equality Legislation.

The seven clear principles will support the industry to make decisions inclusively and provide a strong catalyst to combat and eliminate ableism in order to offer everyone equitable opportunities to enjoy and participate in culture and creativity.

The production will mark the re-opening of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre – which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2021 - and the return of audiences to indoor performances at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon for the first time since March 2020. The Magician’s Elephant was originally due to run from October 2020 – January 2021 but was postponed due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

The production will now run from 14 October 2021 – 1 January 2022 in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

The Magician’s Elephant tells the story of orphan Peter Augustus Duchene, who lives a frugal life in the lonely town of Baltese. Then one day, a magician conjures an elephant from the sky. The animal’s appearance sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that it changes Baltese forever. Peter is catapulted into the quest of his life, overturning everything he ever thought he knew, and discovering that happiness can come from the most unexpected places.

This new adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s heart-breaking and darkly magical children’s book by Nancy Harris (book/lyrics) and Marc Teitler (music/lyrics) will be directed by Sarah Tipple, Associate Director to Gregory Doran on The Boy in the Dress. The production will feature design by Colin Richmond whose previous RSC credits include Wendy and Peter Pan and Vice Versa. Lighting is by Oliver Fenwick, Music Supervision and Musical Direction by Tom Brady, Orchestrations by Sarah Travis and Marc Teitler, vocal arrangements by Tom Brady and Marc Teitler, sound by Paul Groothuis and movement by Francesca Jaynes. Dramaturgy is by Réjane Collard-Walker. Puppetry direction is by Mervyn Millar with puppetry design by Mervyn Millar and Tracy Waller. The Magic Consultant is John Bulleid whose previous RSC credits include #WeAreArrested, and video is by Douglas O’Connell.

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For further information, please contact Kate Evans 01789 412622 or 07920244434

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Kate DiCamillo’s

The Magician’s Elephant

A new musical by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler

Book and Lyrics by Nancy Harris

Music and Lyrics by Marc Teitler

Thurs 14 Oct 2021 – Sat 1 Jan 2022

Press performance: Tues 26 Oct, 7pm

Chilled performance: Thu 18 Nov 2021, 1:15PM (BST)

Audio Described:

Sat 20 Nov 2021, 1:15PM (BST)

Tue 30 Nov 2021, 7:15PM (BST)

Signed performance: Fri 26 Nov 2021, 7:15PM (BST)

Captioned performances:

Sat 27 Nov 2021, 1:15PM (BST)

Wed 15 Dec 2021, 7:15PM (BST)

Relaxed Performance: Thu 9 Dec 2021, 1:15PM (BST)

Socially-distanced performances:

Tues 2 Nov, 7:15pm

Tues 9 Nov, 7:15pm

Tues 16 Nov, 7:15pm

Tues 23 Nov, 7:15pm

Tues 7 Dec, 7:15pm

Tues 21 Dec, 7:15pm

Tues 28 Dec, 7:15pm

“Magic is always impossible. That’s what makes it magic.”

Baltese is a town where nothing extraordinary ever happens. Recovering from a recent war, it is a lonely place, where young Peter lives a frugal life. Then one day, a magician conjures an elephant from the sky, whose appearance sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that it changes Baltese forever. Peter is catapulted into the quest of his life, overturning everything he ever thought he knew, and discovering that happiness can come from the most unexpected places.

This brand-new musical for all the family reminds us that even the impossible can be possible when we open our eyes and hearts to those around us

BOOKING INFORMATION: 01789 331111 or


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.

The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England

The work of the RSC is supported by the Culture Recovery Fund

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

The Magician's Elephant is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award

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


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.

We believe everybody’s life is enriched by culture and creativity.  We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future.  Our transformative Learning Programmes reach over half a million young people and adults each year, and through our Placemaking and Public Programme we create projects with and for communities who have not historically engaged with our work.  We are a leader in creative immersive technologies and digital development.

We have a proud record of innovation, diversity and excellence on stage and are determined to grasp the opportunity to become an even more inclusive, progressive, relevant and ambitious organisation.

We recognise the climate emergency and work hard to embed environmental sustainability into our operations, creative work and business practice, making a commitment to continually reduce our carbon footprint.

Registered charity no. 212481

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