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RSC’S CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED PRODUCTION OF ROMEO AND JULIET RETURNS TO BBC TWO AS PART OF BBC LOCKDOWN LEARNING


“A fresh, fleet, blade-sharp revival.”
Daily Telegraph,★★★★ 

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) 2018 production of Romeo and Juliet will be broadcast on BBC Two at 2pm on Tuesday 9 February as part of the BBC’s Lockdown Learning’s Shakespeare Week.  The production will then be available on BBC iPlayer for 60 days.  

The BBC will also run two episodes of Shakespeare Unlocked, a much-loved collaboration between the RSC and BBC Teach where actors from previous RSC productions explore language and characters in key scenes from Macbeth (Monday 8 February, 2pm, BBC Two) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Thursday 11 February, 2.15pm, BBC Two). There will also be Shakespeare focussed episodes of Bitesize Daily featuring readings from RSC alumni such as Niamh Cusack, Natalie Simpson and Jamie Wilkes. 

The Romeo and Juliet broadcast adds to a vast range of other free Shakespeare-related resources that the RSC is offering to students currently learning at home, and to teachers looking to create lesson plans to deliver online. Full details here 

Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, the production of Romeo and Juliet being screened on BBC Two features Bally Gill as Romeo, a role for which he won the Ian Charleson Award in 2019, and Karen Fishwick as Juliet.   

Originally staged at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in Spring 2018, the show transferred to the Barbican in November of the same year. The Company then embarked on an extended national tour of the UK in the Spring of 2019, which included visits to Norwich Theatre Royal, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, Nottingham Theatre Royal, Blackpol Grand Theatre, New Theatre, Cardiff and Glasgow Theatre Royal. 

This production of Romeo and Juliet first aired on the BBC in 2020 as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine programme running across television, radio and online.  

Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC, said: “I’m delighted that our production of Romeo and Juliet is getting another showing on BBC Two as part of the BBC’s Lockdown Learning Shakespeare Week. Here at the RSC we know that seeing Shakespeare brought to life on stage is crucial for anyone studying his plays. Sadly, our theatres are currently closed, but I hope that this broadcast (which will also be on BBC iPlayer for 60 days) will inspire students and offer them a deeper understanding of Shakespeare’s revolutionary love story. We were so struck by Shakespeare’s timeless understanding of all the ways adults can let their young people down, and that seems even more urgent now. The broadcast adds to the vast range of resources the RSC is offering to students currently learning at home, and to teachers looking to create lesson plans to deliver online.” 

Bally Gill - who plays Romeo - made his RSC debut as part of The Other Place Mischief Festival in 2016. In 2017, he appeared in Vice Versa, Salome and Coriolanus. His other credits include The Island Nation (Arcola Theatre), A Local Boy (The Arts Theatre), Dinner with Saddam (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Bureau of Lost Things (Theatre 503) and NW (BBC/Mammoth Screen). 

Karen Fishwick made her RSC debut playing Juliet in 2018. Previous credits include Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (National Theatre of Scotland/Live Theatre), Glasgow Girls (NTS/Citizens), Hansel and Gretel (Citizens Theatre), The Caucasian Chalk Circle, A Christmas Carol (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh), Badults (BBC Three), James Kirk's Comedy BlapsThe Illuminati (The Comedy Unit) and Tides and Telegrams (for The Winter Tradition). 

The professional cast also includes: Afolabi Alli (Paris); Donna Banya (Gregory); Stevie Basaula (Sampson); Ishia Bennison (Nurse); Katy Brittain (Friar John/Apothecary); Raif Clarke (Peter); Beth Cordingly (Escalus); Paul Dodds (Montague); Josh Finan (Benvolio); Karen Fishwick (Juliet); Andrew French (Friar Laurence); Bally Gill (Romeo); Mariam Haque (Lady Capulet); Michael Hodgson (Capulet); Charlotte Josephine (Mercutio); John Macaulay (Cousin Capulet); Tom Padley (Balthasar); Sakuntala Ramanee (Lady Montague); Raphael Sowole (Tybalt) and Nima Taleghani (Abraham). 

During the run of Romeo and Juliet the professional cast were joined by young people from across the UK aged 12 – 18 who shared the role of the Chorus. All 140 young people who participated in Romeo and Juliet are students in the RSC’s existing network of Associate Schools across the UK.  The broadcast of Romeo and Juliet features young chorus members from Hall Green Secondary School, Birmingham. 

Romeo and Juliet is directed by Erica Whyman and designed by Tom Piper, with lighting by Charles Balfour. Music is by Sophie Cotton and movement by Ayse Tashkiran.  

BBC Lockdown Learning is the BBC’s largest ever education offer, bringing the best of their factual, drama and science output to TV alongside the specially curated Bitesize Daily TV shows, and supported by a host of home learning content from BBC Bitesize. 

For more press information please contact:
Dean Asker
Senior Media Relations Officer, Royal Shakespeare Company
0778 9937759, dean.asker@rsc.org.uk 

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Associate Schools Programme is the RSC’s partnership programme with regional theatres and schools across England. The ambition of the Associate Schools Programme is to bring about a significant change in the way young people experience, engage with, and take ownership of the work of Shakespeare. Through the programme teachers learn to explore Shakespeare with their students in the way actors do in a rehearsal room, using dynamic, active approaches. The programme is open to secondary, primary and special state schools in England and the RSC seek to recruit schools that serve areas of relatively high socio-economic deprivation. 

The Royal Shakespeare Company is a charity and our mission is to transform lives through amazing experiences of Shakespeare and great theatre. To make a gift to the RSC, visit https://www.rsc.org.uk/support/make-a-donation/ 

 

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 Education 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, The John S Cohen Foundation, Teale Charitable Trust, The Grimmitt Trust, George Fentham Birmingham Charity, The Misses Barrie Charitable Trust and TAK Advisory Limited. 

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.www.artscouncil.org.uk 

 

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. Registered charity no. 212481 rsc.org.uk 

We recognise the climate emergency and work hard to embed environmental sustainability into our operations, creative work and business practice and have made a commitment to reduce continually our Carbon Footprint. We have measures already in place from green electricity to replace energy consuming equipment with high efficiency, using low carbon equipment, and delivering programmes to raise environmental awareness across the RSC. We acknowledge that sharing our work with audiences across the world will involve travel and that we need to mitigate the impact of that on our carbon footprint. 

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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