Behind the scenes at The Courtyard Theatre

Having received over 200 applications from across the UK, along with 6 partner theatres, we will work with the 96 selected amateur groups to supporting them with mentoring and workshops to create their own RSC Open Stages production in their own venue. The project began on the weekend of the 28 September 2013 when all 90 directors will came together for the first and only time in Stratford-upon-Avon to participate in two days of skills workshops led by our own team of theatre practitioners.

With productions taking place between April 2014 and April 2015 many of the are already in rehearsal, with several of the professional partner theatres running mentoring throughout the period with input from their own and the RSC's highly regarded theatre practitioners.

Just a few examples of the huge range of work being done by over 2,500 individual participants (the oldest being 80 and the youngest 8 years old), include the Royal Navy performing A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry V in a Norman Castle, a Gulf War set Titus Andronicus in Edinburgh, a female King Lear in London and Hamlet in the style of a Danish Crime Drama in St Andrews.

RSC Open Stages producer Ian Wainwright commented;
'The RSC is once again excited to continue to collaborate with just some of the million amateur theatre makers in the UK. The RSC understands the skill, commitment, energy and passion it takes to make theatre happen. We therefore have a huge respect for those DIY, grassroots theatre-makers who create theatre in their spare time often on very limited resources. Open Stages looks to share some of the processes, techniques and ideas of professional theatre making, while allowing us to learn about, and be inspired by the work of work of people with a real passion for the craft of theatre.'

The most popular of Shakespeare's plays to be performed by the participants is Macbeth with 7 productions followed Twelfth Night with 6 productions. Other productions include 6 modern plays inspired by Shakespeare and 16 new plays inspired by Shakespeare and written or devised by the amateur companies involved.

They will be performed across the UK in a vast number of venues including 35 Theatres, 10 Village Halls, 7 Parks & Gardens, 6 Castles, 6 Town Halls, 6 Pubs, 5 Churches, 4 School Halls, 2 Community Centres, 2 Country Houses, 2 Universities, 2 Arts Centres, 2 Museums, 2 Pavilions, 1 Warehouse, 1 Barn, 1 Library, 1 Cathedral, 1 Island, 1 Coffee Shop, 1 Wood, 1 Campsite, 1 Bookshop, 1 Hotel and 1 Graveyard.

Open Stages 2013 – 2016 will focus on learning, with each amateur company receiving training, director mentoring, feedback and support from the RSC and partner theatres. The project is part of the RSC's commitment to transforming the relationship between amateur and professional theatres.

Open Stages is the springboard for the recently announced Dream16, a nationwide tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream to celebrate the 400th anniversary of his death of Shakespeare on 23 April 2016. The production, which opens in Stratford-upon-Avon, will be co-produced with partner theatres and amateur companies in all twelve nations and regions of the UK. In every location, Bottom and the rude mechanicals will be played by a local amateur group and Titania's fairy train by local schoolchildren. 

A full list of productions their locations and how to get tickets will be posted here shortly   In the meantime for further information contact openstages@rsc.org.uk

Open Stages was origianlly establised to coincide with the RSC's World Shakespeare Festival. You can read a report on the background to the project below.

Download the Open Stages report 2011 to 2012>>

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Teaching Shakespeare