It’s an accepted cliché that, whatever the prevailing political mood there is a Shakespeare play that adequately reflects, comments on or holds a mirror up to it. Like all the best clichés it has become so ingrained in the consciousness of theatregoers because it is largely true.
What you do get from the trilogy day though is a huge sense of occasion, and the undeniable truth of the significance of what has been achieved here. Unabashedly all-female productions of Shakespeare, shaking up a (male dominated) establishment that still can’t quite let these things happen without a range of think-pieces.
Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres Robert Hastie has announced his inaugural season for 2017, which includes, at the Crucible, his own productions of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and The Wizard of Oz, major class revivals of Desire Under the Elms and Uncle Vanya, two world premieres and a regional premiere.
The Donmar will break out beyond its Covent Garden home, opening a new, in-the-round, 420-seat temporary theatre at King’s Cross in association with Theatre Tracks, immediately adjacent to King’s Cross station and directly accessible from King’s Boulevard. The Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Harriet Walter in an all-female company will play a 13-week repertory season, from 23 September to 17 December 2016, of three productions – revivals of the sell-out Julius Caesar and Henry IV and a new production of The Tempest, all set in a women’s prison. On special Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy days, all three plays will be performed back to back.