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The Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place today (Friday 29 October) in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.  The event was chaired by Nigel Hugill at what was his last AGM before Shriti Vadera took over as the RSC’s new Chair.  The AGM included a performance of Quiet performed by Alex Munden from the RSC’s multi award-winning Matilda The Musical which began its life in Stratford-upon-Avon and now celebrates its tenth year in the West End.  Pre-recorded speeches from Hamlet and The Winter’s Tale were performed by RSC Associate Artists Adjoa Andoh, and Noma Dumezweni before colleagues received their Long Service Awards.

The RSC reflected on a year like no other. In March 2020 the Company swiftly responded to the emerging pandemic creating a programme of activity that allowed the Company to best serve its audiences and the many communities it works with across the country.

Previously filmed productions were made available to everyone for free through the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine project, and during Winter 2020, performances were streamed from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, including Michael Morpurgo’s Tales from Shakespeare, particularly for young people and their families.  These performances were also made available free to schools.  

In March 2021, in a pioneering collaboration with Manchester International Festival, Marshmallow Laser Feast and Philharmonia Orchestra, the RSC presented Dream, bringing performance and gaming technology together to explore new ways for audiences to experience live theatre.

Over 6,000 people joined the Company’s outdoor socially distanced pop-up Shakespeare performances throughout the summer, and Erica Whyman directed The Winter’s Tale on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage.  Reimagined for the screen and broadcast on BBC Four, then on iPlayer, the production was originally intended to play in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 2020.  It reached audiences of over 87,500.

One of the Company’s main aims was to support students and young people throughout the year with a myriad of educational resources.  The RSC’s award-winning Shakespeare Learning Zone received 1,797,387 visits to the online site over the year. Other initiatives included Homework Help, where students were invited to submit questions about performing and Shakespeare, which were then answered by RSC Actors, including Adjoa Andoh, Paapa Essiedu and David Tennant.

Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director, said:

‘Throughout the pandemic our focus has been to support those communities we work with daily within all the constraints Covid-19 presents. Whether young people learning from home, teachers adapting to a new teaching environment, people locked down in their homes or artists losing their livelihoods, we supported them through one of the most challenging periods of our time, whilst doing all we could to ensure the strong survival of the theatre industry and the RSC. We worked with audiences, young people, teachers and many communities across the UK and beyond to deliver activity as we all wrestled with the impact to our daily lives.

‘With thanks to all who have supported us including through the loan from the Culture Recovery Fund, the funding of Arts Council England and the generosity of thousands of donors and our sponsors’.


After ten years Nigel Hugill formally completed his term as RSC Chair at the AGM and was  succeeded by Shriti Vadera.  Shriti is Chair of Prudential plc and was previously Chair of Santander UK, and served on the Boards of Astra Zeneca and BHP. Shriti has over 35 years of experience spanning public and private sectors, domestically as well as internationally. She served as a Minister in the Cabinet Office and in the International Development and Business Departments from 2007-2009 and was on the Council of Economic Advisers, HM Treasury from 1999-2007.  After leaving government she served as an adviser to the G20, and to governments across the globe. She started her career as an investment banker. (see previous announcement HERE)

Former Chair, Nigel Hugill said,

‘It has been an absolute privilege to chair the RSC over the past ten years.  Even the most challenging of recent circumstances only served to propel our enduring commitment to education and growing expertise in digital to the fore.  Moreover, with The Comedy of Errors now touring regionally, Matilda the Musical and The Mirror and the Light in London, and a characteristically inventive The Magician's Elephant as Christmas show in Stratford, ours is a performing organisation coming back strongly off our heels, not our knees’. 

Shriti Vadera, RSC Chair added,

‘I am very grateful to Nigel Hugill for his commitment, care and extraordinary contribution to the RSC for over a decade.  He has steered the Company through the most difficult period of Covid and left the RSC in resilient shape.  Through long-term, steady and regular decisions taken under Nigel’s chairmanship, the RSC has a physical estate in very good shape, especially The Other Place, Swan Wing and Costume Workshop and has become the leading cultural education organisation in the country.   

‘I am delighted and honoured to be taking on the role of Chair today. The RSC is rooted in our history, but we strive to be dynamic, relevant and to have the courage to experiment, as our founders did. As a truly national company with a globally recognised brand, we will continue to work for a future dedicated to defining and redefining excellence in the arts, and touching and inspiring as many lives as we can’.


Each year at the AGM the RSC recognises the dedication of its staff members with Long Service Awards.  These Awards are presented to people who have reached 20, 30 or 40 years’ service with the Company. 

Erica Whyman, RSC Acting Artistic Director, said:

‘We are looking to our next chapter with energy and ambition.  We will continue to innovate, onstage and off, we will continue to fight to ensure every child has access to an arts-rich education, and we will grow and deepen the remarkable Royal Shakespeare Community of  artists, audiences and theatre-makers of all ages and from all backgrounds in all the communities we serve around our nation. We can do this because of the hugely skilled and generous colleagues who make the RSC what it is.

‘Congratulations and sincere thanks to everyone receiving their Long Service Awards.  With over 200 years of experience between them, their skill and expertise can be seen across the organisation every day.  The RSC is a teaching and learning theatre and we train the next generation of professional theatre makers both on the job and when inspiring and sharing knowledge with young people who may not know that theatre is a realistic career option for them’.

During the AGM long serving members of staff received their Awards including:

For twenty years’ service:

Debra Bailey from Broom, IT Services Administrator

Helen Hughes from Bidford-on-Avon, Head of Costume Painting and Dyeing

Lucien Riviere from Stratford-upon-Avon, Leadership and Governance Administrator

For thirty years’ service:

Alan Bartlett from Leamington Spa, Head of Technical Design

Darren Guy from Stratford-upon-Avon, Specialised Senior Stage Technician

Ross Kitching from Stratford-upon-Avon, Scenic Carpenter

Gavin Reeves from Stratford-upon-Avon, Scenic Carpenter

For forty years’ service

Michael Truscott, from Stratford-upon-Avon, Porter



For further information please contact:

Dean Asker, Senior Media Relations Officer

0778 9937759,


Jane Ellis, Head of Media and Communications

07966 295032,

Notes to editors:

Financial statement: this year’s Annual Review does not include a financial statement as the required timing of the AGM cannot accommodate the date for completion of the audit and finalisation of the financial statements.  The accounts have been approved for year ended 31 March 2020 and work started immediately, but later than usual, on 2021. The financial statement is expected to be released in early 2022.

Keep Your RSC supports our mission to create theatre at its best, unlocking Shakespeare and transforming lives. Thousands of generous audience members, trusts and foundations and partners supported Keep Your RSC in 2020 and, alongside a £19.4 million loan from the Culture Recovery Fund, we are thrilled to be welcoming audiences back. It will take time to recover, to reopen all our theatres, and many years to repay the loan and the support and generosity of our audiences is more important than ever. Please donate at

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

The work of the RSC Learning and National Partnerships Department is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Adobe, The Clore Duffield Foundation, The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, GRoW @ Annenberg, Samsung, The Polonsky Foundation, The Schroder Foundation, The Wyfold Charitable Trust, Stratford Town Trust, The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, Teale Charitable Trust, The Grimmitt Trust, George Fentham Birmingham Charity, and The Misses Barrie Charitable Trust.

The Winter's Tale was supported by RSC Season Supporter Charles Holloway and RSC Production Circle members Mark Thompson and Jane Blumberg-Thompson

Audience of the Future programme was funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Dream was generously supported by Miranda Curtis CMG, the Sidney E. Frank Foundation, Audrey Mandela and Sean Phelan, and was an EPIC MegaGrants recipient.

New work at the RSC is generously supported by The Drue and H.J. Heinz II Charitable Trust

Edwardian Hotels London - Preferred Hotel Partner for Matilda The Musical in London

RSC Teacher Resources are presented by Adobe


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