Latest Press Releases


Casting details are announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions of King John and A Museum in Baghdad opening in the Swan Theatre this winter.

King John by William Shakespeare
Directed by Eleanor Rhode

Thurs 19 September 2019 – Sat 21 March 2020

Press night: Thurs 26 Sept 2019, 7pm

Richard the Lionheart is dead. His brother, John, is King of England. Threatened from all sides by Europe, the English noblemen and even his own family, King John will stop at nothing to keep hold of his crown.

Shakespeare’s rarely performed tale of a nation in turmoil vibrates with modern resonance in this vivid new production by director Eleanor Rhode in her debut at the RSC. Eleanor’s recent work includes Rust for The Bush/Hightide, the UK premiere of Blue Door for Theatre Royal Bath, Boudica by Tristan Bernays for the Globe Theatre and Wendy and Peter Pan for the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.

Also making her RSC debut is Rosie Sheehy who will play the role of King John. Rosie’s TV work includes Wild Bill (42, Shiver & Anonymous); Call The Midwife (Neal Street Productions); Chernobyl (HBO Sky); DCI Banks IV (Left Bank Pictures). Her theatre credits include ANNA X (the Vaults); The Wolves (Theatre Royal Stratford East); The Whale (Theatre Royal Bath); Uncle Vanya* (Theatre Clwyd/Sheffield Theatres); Escape the Scaffold ( Theatre 503/ The Other Room); Strife (Chichester Festival Theatre); Bird (Royal Exchange Manchester/Sherman Theatre); The Hairy Ape (The Old Vic); and Chicken (Plaines Plough).

Further cast includes: David Birrell (King of France), John Cummins (Pembroke), Houda Echouafni, Ali Gadema (Essex), Nicholas Gerard-Martin (Chatillon), Zed Josef (Robert Faulconbridge), Nadi Kemp-Sayfi (Blanche), Tom McCall (Hubert), Katherine Pearce (Cardinal Pandulph), Richard Pryal (Austria), Zara Ramm (Lady Faulconbridge), Bridgitta Roy (Elinor), Corey Montague-Sholay (Salisbury), Charlotte Randle (Constance) with further cast to be announced.

Joining Eleanor Rhode on the creative team are Max Johns (Designer), Lizzie Powell (Lighting Designer), Will Gregory (Music), David Gregory (Sound), Tom Jackson Greaves (Movement) and Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown (Fights).

King John will be filmed for later broadcast to cinemas as part of our Live From Stratford-upon-Avon series.

A Museum in Baghdad
 by Hannah Khalil
Directed by Erica Whyman

Fri 11 October 2019 – Sat 25 January 2020
Press night: Tues 22 October, 7pm

A story of treasured history, desperate choices and the remarkable Gertrude Bell.

In 1926, the nation of Iraq is in its infancy, and British archaeologist Gertrude Bell is founding a museum in Baghdad. In 2006, Ghalia Hussein is attempting to reopen the museum despite the looting during the war.

Collapsing the decades that separate them, these two women seek the same prize: to create a fresh sense of unity and nationhood, to make the world anew through the museum and its treasures. But in such unstable times, questions remain. Who is the museum for? What rights do we have to try and shape someone else’s history? And why does that matter when people are dying? Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman (Romeo and Juliet and Miss Littlewood, 2018) directs this imaginative new play.

Returning to the RSC following roles in Revolt She Said, Revolt Again, Cymbeline, Measure for Measure, The School For Scandal, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Broken Heart, Emma Fielding will play English archaeologist and diplomat Gertrude Bell in Hannah Khalil’s compelling new play about treasured history, desperate choices and the value of culture.

Making her RSC debut in the role of Iraqi archaeologist Ghalia Hussein is Rendah Heywood, whose previous work in theatre includes: The Kitchen, Rocket to the Moon Philistines, The Rose Tattoo and Therese Raquin for the National Theatre, Attempts On Her Life (BAC), The Grievance Club (Samuel French OOB Festival, NYC), Refugia (Guthrie Theatre) and This Time (Off Broadway).

Further casting includes David Birrell (Leonard Woolley), Houda Echouafni (Layla/Chorus), Ali Gadema (Kidnapper/Chorus), Zed Josef (Salim), Nadi Kemp-Sayfi (Nasiya/Chorus), Debbie Korley (Sam York), Richard Pryal, Zara Ramm, Riad Richie (Mohammed) and Rasoul Saghir (Abu Zaman).

Joining Erica Whyman on the creative team are Tom Piper (Designer), Charles Balfour (Lighting Designer) Oguz Kaplangi (Music), Tanushka Marah (Movement) and Nina Dunn (Video).

A Museum in Baghdad was co-commissioned by the RSC and the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.


For further information on the RSC Winter 2019 season, please contact:

Kate Evans 01789 412622 or 07920 244434

For review tickets, please contact Dean Asker

For press images, please register free of charge at

Booking information:

BOOKING: 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.

Miranda Curtis - Season Supporter, Swan Theatre Winter 2019

King John is supported by RSC Production Circle member Marcia Whitaker

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

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

The RSC Key and BP £5 tickets for 16-25s - supported by BP



BP support for UK Arts & Culture: 

In the UK, BP is a major supporter of the arts with a programme that spans over 50 years. BP’s investment in long term partnerships with the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House, and the Royal Shakespeare Company represent one of the most significant long-term corporate investments in UK arts and culture

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 annually through 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


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