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The RSC’s young company, Next Generation Act, will see eight of its original members graduate from the programme this week, as they perform their take on Shakespeare’s well-known tragedy, Hamlet.

Directed by Paul Ainsworth, Shakespeare’s tragic tale of power, betrayal and revenge, will be performed in the Studio Theatre at The Other Place in Stratford-upon-Avon with three performances between the 28-29 July 2023. A key milestone in the evolution of the Next Generation programme, this production of Hamlet holds particular significance as eight of the original Next Generation Act company members turn 18 and automatically graduate from the programme this summer.

Next Generation is the RSC’s talent development programme for gifted young people from backgrounds typically underrepresented in theatre and the arts. The programme is made up of three strands: Next Generation Act, Backstage and Direct, allowing young people to explore whether a career in the industry could be for them.

The current Next Generation Act company consists of twenty-five 13-18 year olds from across the country drawn from our Associate Schools’ Programme.*

Paul Ainsworth, Next Generation Programme Developer and show Director, said:

“This production is particularly poignant because it’s the final show for eight of our original members. We started Next Generation Act back in 2017 and they joined us when they were just 12 and 13 years of age. We’ve watched them overcome all sorts of personal challenges including a global pandemic and grow into a truly extraordinary group young people who really do have the world at their feet. But their relationship with the RSC doesn’t end here. We’ll be staying in close contact to offer advice, practical support and encouragement as they take their next steps in life whether that’s within the industry or elsewhere.”

An abridged version seen through the eyes of the younger characters in the play, Next Generation Hamlet explores those in power and the impact that their actions have on the younger generation and inheritors of Shakespeare’s rotten state. The show also involves behind-the-scenes creatives drawn from Next Generation Direct and Next Generation Backstage.

Next Generation Hamlet will be performed on Friday 28 July in The Other Place at 2pm and again at 6.30pm. The final performance will take place on Saturday 29 July at 12pm.

Further details and ticketing information can be found at


For further information contact Jo Hammond at or on 07739 330294.


Notes to Editors.

About RSC Associate Schools Programme

The RSC Associate Schools Programme is the RSC’s long-term partnership programme with schools and regional theatre partners nationwide. Itaims to immerse teachers and students in a new approach to teaching Shakespeare, based on the way RSC actors and directors work in rehearsals.

About RSC Next Generation

From the first ever RSC young company of actors, to discovering the next generation of directors, managers and theatre specialists, RSC Next Generation, is a unique talent development programme that gives gifted young people from backgrounds currently underrepresented in theatre, the opportunity to gain experience and explore whether a career in the theatre is for them.

The programme has three strands;

ACT:  Up to 30 talented youngsters aged 13-18 will join RSC Next Generation to hone and develop their skills as actors.

DIRECT: This strand is for young people aged 18+ who demonstrate the obvious creative leadership and directing skills needed to take a play from page to stage.

BACKSTAGE: Each year up to50 students aged 13-18 are given a ‘Backstage Pass’ to discover what goes on behind the scenes to bring each production to life.


The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England

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

The RSC is generously supported by RSC America

The work of the RSC Learning and National Partnerships department is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Clore Duffield Foundation, The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, GRoW @ Annenberg, The Polonsky Foundation, Stratford Town Trust, LSEG Foundation, The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust, Teale Charitable Trust, The Grimmitt Trust, The Oakley Charitable Trust, and Misses Barrie Charitable Trust

RSC Next Generation is generously supported by the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, John S Cohen Foundation and Noël Coward Foundation                                                                                                                                 
Next Generation Act Company bursary places are generously supported by The Leverhulme Trust Arts Scholarship


Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)

The Royal Shakespeare Company is a theatre and learning charity that creates world class theatre, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world, performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as commissioning an exceptionally wide range of original work from contemporary writers.

We believe everybody’s life is enriched by culture and creativity. We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future.

We have one of the UK’s largest arts learning programmes, working with over 1,000 schools each year to broaden access to high quality arts learning and transform experiences of Shakespeare in schools. Through our national partnership programme with schools and regional theatres we target areas of structural disadvantage, including 26 areas of multiple deprivation across the country, from Cornwall to Middlesbrough. Research shows that our approaches to teaching Shakespeare support the development of reading and writing skills, accelerate language acquisition and development, raise aspirations and improve student attitudes to school and learning in general. They also foster well-being, self-esteem, empathy, resilience and tolerance and promote critical-thinking, creative, analytical, communication and problem-solving skills.

We are committed to being a teaching and learning theatre and we are the only arts organisation to have been awarded Independent Research Organisation status.  


Arts Council England

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


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