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Download cast images for The Provoked Wife and Venice Preserved

Royal Shakespeare Company Associate Artist Alexandra Gilbreath returns to the company in Phillip Breen’s riotous new production of John Vanbrugh’s restoration comedy The Provoked Wife. Alexandra last appeared at the RSC as feisty courtesan Angellica Bianca in the 2016 production of The Rover by Aphra Behn. Other leading roles for the RSC include Hermione in The Winter’s Tale, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Rosalind in As You Like It, Kate in The Taming of the Shrew and Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Alexandra will be joined by Caroline Quentin who will return to the company to play Lady Fanciful. Caroline was last seen at the RSC starring as Lady Sarah Hotham alongside Mark Addy as Sir John Hotham in Phillip Breen’s 2017 production of The Hypocrite in a co-production with Hull Truck as part of Hull’s UK City of Culture. Famous for her roles in Men Behaving Badly (TV/BBC) and Jonathan Creek (BBC) Caroline first appeared at the RSC in the original production of Les Misérables (1985).    

RSC Associate Artist Jonathan Slinger returns to play Sir John Brute. His numerous RSC credits include the title role in Hamlet, Prospero in The Tempest and Lenny in The Homecoming. Jonathan played the title roles in both Richard II and Richard III as part of Michael Boyd’s Histories Cycle, which saw him nominated twice for Best Actor in the Evening Standard Awards in 2008. Other theatre credits include playing Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Absolute Hell at the National Theatre and Fanny and Alexander at the Old Vic.

Phillip Breen (The Hypocrite, The Shoemaker's Holiday, The Merry Wives of Windsor) directs the outspoken Restoration romp that shocked 17th century society.

The production is designed by Mark Bailey, with lighting by Tina MacHugh, music by Paddy Cunneen, sound by Dyfan Jones, Movement by Ayse Tashkiran and fights by Renny Krupinski.

Following her roles in A Life of Galileo, Written on the Heart and Measure for Measure, Jodie McNee will play Belvidera in a new version of Thomas Otway’s Venice Preserved, a savage political thriller and a love story of breath-taking intensity directed by Prasanna Puwanarajah 

Driven by love and revenge, two disaffected noblemen join a revolutionary movement to overthrow the corrupt leaders of their failed city state. But the conspirators they join are as corrupt as those in power, and their friendship is torn to pieces in the furnace of love in this fast-paced new version of Otway’s restoration tragedy.

This will be Prasanna’s first time directing for the RSC, having previously acted in Gregory Doran’s Twelfth Night in 2010, the National Theatre/s production of Absolute Hell and in the hit TV shows Doctor Foster and Patrick Melrose. 

The production is designed by James Cotterill with lighting design by Jack Knowles, sound by George Dennis, fights by Kate Waters and video by Nina Dunn.

Notes to Editors:

For further information, please contact 01789 412622

For press tickets please contact 01789 412660

To book tickets call 01789 331 111 or online at 


The Provoked Wifeby John Vanbrugh
Directed by Phillip Breen
2 May – 7 September 2019
Press night: Thursday 9 May 2019, 7pm

Venice Preserved by Thomas Otway
Directed by Prasanna Puwanarajah
24 May – 7 September 2019
Press night: Thursday 30 May 2019, 7pm

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

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

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

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

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