Latest Press Releases


We are following all government guidelines around the Covid-19 pandemic, which includes the temporary cancellation of our in-person performances, events and other activities. Our staffing is reduced at the moment and remaining staff are working from home, so please bear with us if we’re a little slower than usual to reply.


Issued: 2.00pm 28 September 2017

Royal Shakespeare Company Annual Review and AGM for 2016/17

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) issued its latest annual review for 2016/17 at its Annual General Meeting in Stratford-upon-Avon today:

RSC Chairman, Nigel Hugill, Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, and Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, were joined on stage by children from schools in Bradford and Stratford-upon-Avon who performed extracts from Julius Caesar to mark a highly successful year which concluded the Company’s Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary celebrations. 

Gregory Doran also paid tribute to the RSC’s founder, Sir Peter Hall, and the Company’s former Chairman, Sir Christopher Bland, both of whom died this year.

During 2016/17, the RSC:

  • produced 31 productions and co-productions, including 16 Shakespeare plays and six new plays, which played in Stratford-upon-Avon, London, and on tour across the UK and around the world
  • sold 2.7m tickets worldwide (including Matilda The Musical)
  • pushed digital boundaries with a ground-breaking production of The Tempest,in collaboration with Intel and in association with Imaginarium Studios, using live performance capture on stage for the very first time
  • brought together 84 amateur actors and 580 school-children with a professional company to tour A Midsummer Night’s Dream to every region and nation of the UK
  • staged the first festival of new work in the Company’s brand new studio theatre and creative hub, The Other Place
  • ·opened a new family-friendly permanent exhibition, The Play’s The Thing, filled with inclusive and interactive content which uncovers the RSC’s theatre-making history
  • launched a new Associate Schools programme, with 11 regional theatre partners, 11 lead schools and 128 associate schools across England
  • broadcast four Shakespeare productions ‘Live From Stratford-upon-Avon’ to cinema audiences of 178,000 in 20 countries around the world, including China for the first time
  • took Shakespeare’s ‘King and Country’ cycle of history plays to BAM in New York
  • continued its Chinese cultural exchange programme, premiering Snow in Midsummer in Stratford and seeing Chinese theatre companies in Shanghai and Beijing stage their own productions of Henry V and King Lear using the RSC’s new translations
  • presented four productions of Matilda The Musical on three continents, reaching 2m theatre goers - over 7m people have now seen the production worldwide, which has won 86 international awards

The Company reached more people than ever before:

  • welcoming over 1m people to the RSC’s Stratford home, with a 12% increase in day visits for the anniversary year (the 7th most visited attraction outside London)
  • attracting new audiences - 32% of audiences were new to the RSC
  • attracting younger audiences - 32% were aged 16-44
  • leading the way in access provision - with 51 captioned, 43 audio described, 3 relaxed and 9 BSL signed performances, and new BSL exhibition materials
  • winning audience approval - 94% of bookers rated the RSC’s work as good, very good or excellent
  • doubling classroom audiences to 70,000 students for the highly popular free  RSC Schools’ Broadcasts, sharing four Shakespeare productions supported by live Q&As with the creative teams
  • collaborating with the BBC to mark the 400th anniversary, reaching TV audiences of over 3m with ‘Shakespeare Live! from the RSC’ and ‘The Best Bottoms in the Land’, as well as a host of online activity
  • reaching over 1200 schools and over 500,000 young people through RSC Education programmes – over a third of the schools have above average percentages of students eligible for free school meals

And announced a strong financial performance:

  • overall income for the charity (excluding overseas activity in Australia for Matilda) was £69.1m
  • self-generated income was up to 78%, with box office revenue of £34m and trading income of £6.1m
  • fundraising income grew to £5.1m
  • Arts Council England investment remained static at £15.4m - the RSC is grateful to Arts Council England for its continued support. 
  • significant, but temporary, income from Matilda The Musical allowed further investment in the RSC’s charitable activities including Live From Stratford-upon-Avon, The Other Place, and an expanded programme of activity for Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary.  The remaining available surplus was transferred into reserves for investment in future artistic and other strategic projects

Gregory Doran and Catherine Mallyon said:

“Since Peter Hall founded the RSC in 1961, we have been driven by a belief that Shakespeare is for everyone. Peter knew that a deep engagement with Shakespeare’s work could be transformational and conveyed his passion through everything he did with and for the Company.  We mourn his death and pay tribute to his extraordinary achievements. We also lost Sir Christopher Bland earlier this year, a figure who presided over the Company’s more recent transformation.  His dedication to the Company was total, and it came with enormous intellect and great good humour. 

“Our artistic programme in the last year, marking Shakespeare’s 400thanniversary, has reflected that passion and we have reached more people than ever before, including a 12% increase in day visits to our Stratford home.  We have looked back at our theatre-making history with our wonderful family-friendly The Play’s The Thing exhibition in our recently restored Victorian Swan Wing and we have looked forward to the future, pushing theatrical boundaries with our ground-breaking production of The Tempest in collaboration with Intel and in association with Imaginarium Studios.


“Chinese actors have performed our new translations of King Lear and Henry V to audiences in Beijing and Shanghai. RSC actors thrilled New Yorkers with our ‘King & Country’ cycle. And children from Blackpool to Margate introduced their parents to Shakespeare’s work through their own performances, as part of our education programmes. Our ticket offers have allowed young people to attend for a fiver and we have continued to lead the way in welcoming the widest possible audience, with our ‘relaxed’ and BSL semi-integrated performances.


“We are a truly national company, with our heart in the Midlands and a collaborative hand extended to regional theatres, schools, artists and audiences everywhere.  We are very grateful to everyone who has supported our work in this special year.”


The RSC also announced the appointment of new Board members and Governors.  Simon Russell Beale, Paapa Essiedu, Clare Reddington and Sir Anthony Seldon joined the RSC Board. Lord Andrew Adonis, Elizabeth Boissevain, The Hon Rupert Carington and Lucy Williams became RSC Governors. See notes to editors for biographical info. 

For further information, please contact  01789 412667 or 01789 412668

For images, please register at

Link to Annual Review:



Notes to editors:

We are very grateful to the following partners for the generous support of our work:

The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

The work of the RSC Literary Department is generously supported by THE DRUE HEINZ TRUST

The redevelopment of the Swan Wing and The Play's The Thing exhibition are generously supported by the HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND

The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by THE GATSBY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION and THE KOVNER FOUNDATION


Live from Stratford-upon-Avon is generously supported by SIDNEY E. FRANK FOUNDATION

The restoration and redevelopment of the Costume Workshop is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND, with additional support from LYDIA AND MANFRED GORVY, THE BERNARD SUNLEY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION and other generous supporters.


The Hypocrite is a recipient of an EDGERTON FOUNDATION NEW PLAYS AWARD


Biographies for appointments to RSC Board and Governors:

Board Members:

Simon Russell Beale CBE is an RSC Associate Artist and most recently appeared with the RSC as Prospero in Gregory Doran’s production of The Tempest in 2016.  He won the first Ian Charleson Award in 1990 for his performances in RSC productions of The SeagullTroilus and Cressida and the title role of Edward II. He is also an associate of the National Theatre and has appeared in numerous film, radio and television roles, including Falstaff in the BBC’s 2012 productions of The Hollow Crown.  He was awarded a CBE for services to the Arts in 2003 and honoured as Cameron Mackintosh Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University in 2014.

Paapa Essiedu is an RSC Associate Artist and first appeared with the company in 2012 in The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Mouse and His Child, going on to understudy Edmund in Sam Mendes production of King Lear at the National Theatre.  He set up Invertigo Theatre Company with three co-founders, which won the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprises in 2012.  He returned to Stratford in 2016 to play the title role in Hamlet and Edmund in King Lear, winning Best Performance in a Play at the UK Theatre Awards for Hamlet and the Ian Charleson Award in 2017 for both roles.  He will reprise his award-winning role as Hamlet on tour in the UK and the US in 2018.

Clare Reddington is Creative Director for Bristol’s Watershed and leads their creative technology, engagement and cinema teams, working with industry, academic and creative partners to support talent and champion new ideas. She joined Watershed in 2004 and leads the Pervasive Media Studio and Playable City. She has worked with HP Labs on a utility computing animation project SE3D, and then set up iShed (now renamed Watershed Ventures) in 2007 to initiate and support creative technology R&D. In 2008 she established The Pervasive Media Studio as a research lab exploring and producing media content, applications and services.

She is Executive Producer of REACT hub which is a collaboration between the UWE, Watershed and the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter; and is aVisiting Professor at University of the West of England. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Research Councils UK’s Digital Economy Theme, and Arts & Humanities Research Council’s Digital Transformation Theme. She is an international speaker and writer on collaborative innovation and digital technologies. She was previously Producer of the Cheltenham Festival of Science.

Clare sits on the Board of Theatre Bristol and has also just has been confirmed as Chair of Wise Children, the new theatre company led by Emma Rice (outgoing Globe AD and former RSC Director).  Clare is a passionate supporter of live theatre, and worked with the RSC on the recent production of The Tempest.


Sir Anthony Seldon has been Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham since 2015 and is a leading contemporary historian, educationalist, commentator and political author.  He was Master of Wellington College, one of Britain’s leading independent schools, until 2015.  He is an author or co-editor of over 40 books on contemporary history, politics and education, the first director of the Centre for Contemporary British History, co-founder of Action for Happiness, serves on the First World War Centenary Culture Committee, is Governor of 14-18 Now and a Trustee of Sam Griffiths Foundation. He has been an RSC Governor since 2011 and is a member of the RSC’s Education Advisory Board.


Lord Andrew Adonis was appointed as Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission in 2017, having been interim Chairman since 2015.  He is a former Labour politician who was Secretary of State for Transport, Ministers for Schools, Head of the No. 10 Policy Unit and senior advisor on education, public services and constitutional reform in Tony Blair’s government.  In Government he pioneered key public service reforms including the Academy programme.  After the 2010 General Election, he became Director of the Institute for Government.  He has written seven books, including on educational reform, and is a Trustee of the IPPR and the English National Ballet.  He has been a Life Peer since 2005. 

Elizabeth Boissevain (Liz) is the Chief Executive Officer of Oxford Business Group (OBG) which she co-founded with Andrew Jeffreys, her husband. OBG is a global publishing, research and consultancy company which publishes economic and political intelligence on the markets of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Liz has been a longstanding supporter of the RSC. She is a proactive ambassador of our work and a strong advocate, having hosted events and helped make introductions in the UK and US. Liz and Andrew have been Advisory Council members since 2011.  Liz is also an active supporter of both the National Theatre and the Hampstead Theatre. She is a member of the Flower family, generous benefactors, who donated the original land to the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre.

The Hon Rupert Carington has run his own financial advisory business since leaving Morgan Grenfell in 1987, after a career of 17 years including a period as Chief Executive of the Hong Kong office which was also responsible for China. He has considerable experience of the investment world having been Non-Executive Chairman of a number of international investment companies managed by Schroders, HSBC, and JP Morgan. He is active in Asia, the Middle East and the United States where he sits on main boards and advisory boards including those of First Eastern, SETE Technical Services, and Alger Associates Inc. (the US fund managementcompany) as well as several Family Offices.

He is based in Buckinghamshire where he has had a number of official appointments including that of High Sheriff. He currently runs the family property management company and is a Deputy Lieutenant of the County. Rupert is a longstanding RSC supporter, and an Artist Circle member. He is an active ambassador and advocate helping us secure introductions, including for our recent work in China.


Lucy Williams is the Head of Regulatory Compliance for HSBC UK, and was the first senior executive to relocate from London to Birmingham ahead of the opening of the bank’s new head office there. In 2015, HSBC announced it had chosen the city's Arena Central development in Broad Street to be the home of its new ring-fenced retail banking arm, later named HSBC UK, which is separated from its investment operations.

Lucy joined HSBC in June 2013 from Prudential plc where she was the Director of Group Compliance. Prior to that, she was Head of Compliance at Aviva Life UK. Her earlier career included a range of roles over some years at the Financial Services Authority, in the Markets Division and Retail Supervision, and managing ABN AMRO’s Government Affairs team in Brussels. She has been a Trustee of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra since May 2016 and serves on their audit and finance committee; and is also a Trustee of the Institute of Business Ethics.  She is a committed attendee at the RSC and has been a Full Member since 2013 and an Associate Member from 2005.


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.  


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.  


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.  Registered charity no. 212481


You might also like