Casting has been announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s highly anticipated stage premiere of Robert Harris’ Roman trilogy, Imperium, which will be led by Olivier and Tony Award winner Richard McCabe (The Audience) as Cicero, Siobhan Redmon as his wife Terenia and Joseph Kloska as his servant Tiro.
Following his acclaimed RSC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (2013/14), Mike Poulton turns his pen to the thrilling world of Ancient Rome with a brand-new version of Robert Harris’ best-selling Cicero novels. This epic event will be staged as six plays, presented in two performances, each with two intervals, and will be directed by RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran. Imperium runs in rep in the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from 16 November 2017 to 10 February 2018, with a press day on 7 December 2017.
The role of Marcus Tullius Cicero is played by Richard McCabe. Richard trained at RADA and is an RSC Associate Artist, and has appeared in countless productions for the company. He was last with the RSC as an older Romeo opposite Kathryn Hunter in Ben Power’s A Tender Thing. Richard won both Tony and Olivier awards for his performance as Harold Wilson opposite Helen Mirren in Peter Morgan’s play The Audience (pictured above). Previous theatre includes Turgenev’s Fortune’s Fool at the Old Vic, and Jim Hacker in Yes, Prime Minister which played the Apollo and Gielgud Theatres in the West End. Recent TV credits include Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, David Hare’s Collateral, Harlots, Poldark, Peaky Blinders and Wallander. Recent film work includes The Little Stranger, Goodbye Christopher Robin, Mindhorn and Eye in the Sky.
Siobhan Redmond will play opposite him as Cicero’s spirited wife Terentia (as well as playing Calpurnia and Servilia). Siobhan is also an RSC Associate Artist whose many past RSC productions include Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night and Dunsinane. Her huge variety of appearances on radio, film and television recently included The Replacement. She was awarded an MBE for services to drama in 2013.
The role of Cicero’s faithful servant Tiro who narrates their adventures is played by Joseph Kloska. Last at the RSC in The Christmas Truce in 2014, he also appeared in David Edgar’s Written on the Heart in Stratford and in the West End in 2011. Joseph’s recent work in TV and film includes Jane Eyre, Cinderella, Happy Go Lucky and the Netflix series The Crown, and on radio included regular appearances with the BBC Radio Drama Company.
The cast also includes: Nicholas Boulton (Celer/Cassius), Guy Burgess (Sura/Lepidus), Daniel Burke (Sosithius/Marcus), Jade Croot (Tullia), Peter De Jersey (Caesar/Calenus), Joe Dixon (Cataline/Antony), John Dougall (Lucullus/Brutus/Suca/Lepidus), Michael Grady Hall(Cato/Hirtius), Oliver Johnstone (Rufus/Octavian), Paul Kemp (Quintus), Patrick Knowles(Cethegus/Dolabella), Hywel Morgan (Hybrida/Popilius), Lily Nichol (Pompeia/Flavia), Piero Niel Mee (Clodius/Agrippa), David Nicolle (Crassus/Pansa), Patrick Romer (Isauricus/ Piso), Jay Saighal (Numitorius/Decimus), Christopher Saul (Pompey/Murena/Trebonius/Isauricus Jnr), Eloise Secker (Clodia/Fulvia) and Simon Thorp (Catulus/Casca).
Other parts will be played by members of the company.
Part I: Conspirator
Cicero is elected consul by a unanimous vote of the Roman people. Catiline, his aristocratic rival, is furious in defeat and refuses to accept the results of the election. He swears a blood oath to destroy Cicero, murder the government, and take Rome by force. Behind the conspiracy, Cicero suspects, lurks Julius Caesar – young, ruthless, popular with the Roman mob and greedy for absolute power. As law and order begins to break down, who controls the mob controls Rome: Cicero, Catiline, Caesar or the charming but vicious playboy, Publius Clodius?
Part II: Dictator
Cicero has retired from politics. Julius Caesar – dictator, and commander of Rome’s armies – is assassinated. Cicero sees his death as an opportunity to restore the Republic but the assassins, Brutus and Cassius, dither as power in Rome begins to fall into the lap of Mark Antony.
Determined to prevent Antony imposing a military dictatorship on Rome, Cicero forms an unlikely alliance with the 19-year-old great-nephew and heir of Julius Caesar. Confident that he can control the boy and use him to destroy Mark Antony, Cicero sets out to save the Republic.
The productions are designed by Anthony Ward with lighting by Mark Henderson. Music is composed by Paul Englishby, with sound by Claire Windsor. Movement by Anna Morrissey and voice work by Kate Godfrey.