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The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) today (Tuesday 2 June 2020) issued a further response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the continuing lockdown, alongside Government advice that social distancing will need to remain in place for some time, the Company has made the difficult decision to postpone all remaining planned performances of The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors and all other ticketed events scheduled to take place during the summer season, which was due to end on 3 October 2020.

Planned performances in the autumn and winter have also been postponed or cancelled including:

  • The Wars of The Roses Part 1 and Part 2 - postponed from autumn 2020 until autumn 2021
  • The new family musical The Magician’s Elephant - postponed from winter 2020 until winter 2021
  • The First Encounters with Shakespeare tour of Twelfth Night - postponed until 2021
  • The RSC Barbican annual residency for 2020 - cancelled
  • Matilda The Musicalwill remain closed in line with other West End theatres
  • All other events cancelled, including RSC Summer School

The Company is currently actively exploring the possibility of re-opening the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) in the autumn with new events and re-scheduled performances ofThe Winter’s TaleandThe Comedy of Errors. Both productions were due to open in the RST this spring and further details will be announced over the coming months. The ability to stage the productions in the autumn is dependent on government advice on social distancing and whether it is financially viable for the Company to open its theatres and perform to audiences.

Whilst physically closed to audiences and visitors, the Company’s extensive online performance, event and education activity continues including:

  • Partnering with BBC Culture in Quarantine to bring six of the nation’s best-loved Shakespeare titles to audiences for free between now and September.
  • Free educational activities and resources for any young person in the country including #RSCHomeworkHelp and a partnership with BBC Bitesize Online.
  • Productions to view on Marquee TV, the on-demand streaming service for arts and culture and through BritBox.

More information can be found at

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director and Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director, said:

“These are the most difficult times for all theatres and arts venues, whether big or small. It is incredibly sad to see our theatres and those of our partner theatres around the country closed at this time. We continue to do everything we can to bring them back to life as soon as possible, so we can welcome back our audiences to share the experience of live theatre with them. We can only do this when it is safe and when social distancing restrictions are lifted, making it financially viable for us to do so. Alongside our colleagues across the industry, we can and want to play a crucial role in the recovery of the country.

“We have had to terminate contracts and furlough 90% of employees, and we continue to explore every possibility to secure income from government schemes. We are grateful for the government support to date and for the continuing generosity of our donors and audiences, and we are asking people to consider donating to give us the best possible chance of reopening. To secure the future of the RSC for everyone we need financial support until we can start earning our own income again as our reserves will not last indefinitely.

“We’re in the process of rescheduling our 2020 Winter Season, moving it from this year to 2021, whilst hoping there may be a possibility of reopening this autumn in Stratford-upon-Avon in some form. This would ideally be with our delayed summer schedule. Sadly, moving our Summer Season means we have had to take the difficult decision to cancel our Barbican residency this autumn. We are sorry to be unable to share our work with London audiences in 2020 and look forward to returning to the Barbican with some exciting plans for our season there in 2021.

“Since we closed our doors, we have received support through messages and donations from the public, our audiences and supporters. We thank everybody for those messages of support. We are also grateful for the commitment and understanding of our staff, most of whom cannot be at work now. The hunger for the arts during the crisis is there for all to see. Theatre and the arts give strength to people in difficult times, they lift the spirits and bring a sense of community, which is desperately needed right now. We are determined to be back with live performances, and we are looking forward to when that time comes.”

Ticket buyers will be contacted directly by RSC Box Office staff in performance date order rotation to discuss their donation, (to Keep Your RSC), refund and exchange options. Customers will be contacted no later than during the week they were due to visit and are asked to not contact the Box Office at this time.


For further information contact Head of Media and Communications or Media and Communications Manager.

With thanks to our supporters

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

The RSC is generously supported by RSC America

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

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

The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors are supported by RST Season Supporter Charles Holloway.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre productions sponsored by Darwin Escapes

The Wars of the Roses is supported by RSC Production Circle Members Agnieszka and Witold Balaban, The Hitz Foundation, Marcia Whitaker and Kathleen J. Yoh

The Magician's Elephant is supported by RSC Production Circle members Elizabeth Boissevain and Andrew Jeffreys

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

ICBC (London) proudly supports the Royal Shakespeare Company

The work of the RSC Education Department is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Adobe, GRoW @ Annenberg, The Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Samsung, The Schroder Foundation, The 29th May 1981 Charitable Trust, The Polonsky Foundation, The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, Teale Charitable Trust, The Grimmitt Trust, TAK Advisory Limited and Stratford Town Trust.

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

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 annuallythrough 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

To keep your RSC and support our mission to transform lives through amazing experiences of Shakespeare and live theatre, please consider donating.

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