The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced details of its Winter 2020 programme.
- Tales for Winter: (Your Place or Ours) – a season of epic tales for extraordinary times performed live from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) in Stratford-upon-Avon
- Planned in-person events up until 12 December now to be live-streamed only, with audiences welcomed back to the RST from 19 December
- RSC welcomes David Walliams and Guy Chambers for the official launch of The Boy in the Dress cast album, live streamed from the RST to homes
- Troy Story directed by artistic director Gregory Doran: an epic re-telling of the story of the Trojan War in five parts
The full programme of events was due to be performed to a reduced-capacity, socially-distanced audience in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with many performances being streamed to enable people further afield to take part.
Following the latest government announcement, the RSC will now offer live-stream only versions of all shows taking place between 5 and 12 December 2020 which will be available for one week after broadcast, with a view to welcoming audiences back to the theatre from 19 December.
RSC artistic director Gregory Doran said:
“As the global pandemic continues to prevent us being with one another in ways we could never have imagined, we need stories now, more than ever before. They help us to make sense of the world around us and to bring us together as a community, to celebrate, commiserate, reflect and rebuild.
“Tales for Winter is about storytelling, the most essential act of theatre. It is a reminder of where we were when we closed our doors back in March and an opportunity to look forward with hope and optimism to the future. It explores both the epic and the intimate; the majestic poetry of ancient Greece passed down through the generations, the festive fireside tunes and tales that sustain us through the long midwinter months, the timeless plots of William Shakespeare’s plays and the quick-witted, beautifully crafted storytelling of David Walliams.”
Royal Shakespeare Theatre – Online (and in-person from 19 December):
Running over six weekends from 5 December 2020 to 23 January 2021, Tales for Winter (Your Place or Ours) will welcome audiences back to the RSC with a series of stripped back warm-up events, celebrating the essence of live theatre: an actor, a stage and a story.
Performed by a company of RSC Actors against the backdrop of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Tales for Winter is, at its heart, a celebration: of the essential joy of storytelling and of the transformative power of live theatre.
Launching on 5 December, the opening weekend will look back on the most recent story to be brought to life on the RST stage, David Walliams’ The Boy in the Dress.
One year on from the opening of the RSC’s hit musical The Boy in the Dress in Stratford-upon-Avon, Walliams will visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on 5 December to read from his original book. He will be joined by songwriter and musician Guy Chambers alongside members of the original cast and creative team for the launch of the official cast album.
On 12 December, online audiences are invited to join members of the RSC Acting Company on an epic journey through the twists and turns of ancient Troy with a dramatic re-telling of the history of the Trojan war in five parts, based on the Greek classics – The Iliad, The Odyssey and The Aeneid – from translations by John Dryden and Alexander Pope.
Weaving together a patchwork of sources, RSC artistic director Gregory Doran retells the story of the Trojan War. Across one day, RSC Actors recount Troy Story in five live-streamed parts.
In-person events in December:
Looking ahead to Christmas, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre will host a weekend of music and reflection on 19 and 20 December. Festive Tales will feature carols, songs and festive readings celebrating the spirit of Christmas and the Royal Shakespeare Community.
Subject to the latest government guidance, this weekend will see reduced-capacity, socially-distanced audiences return to the RST for the first time since the theatre closed its doors in March, and will also be live streamed for audiences to enjoy from home.
Looking ahead – January 2021:
In January, Tales for Winter continues with a weekly programme of online performances inspired by the work of former Children’s Laureate and best-selling author Michael Morpurgo who has joined the Royal Shakespeare Company to present a special series of preview events inspired by his new book, Tales from Shakespeare.
Readings include a one-off recording of Twelfth Night by Michael Morpurgo and a weekly programme of in-person and online events for schools and families.