The Royal Shakespeare Company has confirmed full performance dates for its previously scheduled productions of The Magician’s Elephant and The Wars of The Roses Part 1 and 2 which will now take place in Winter 2021.
The productions, which were originally due to run from October 2020 to January 2021, were postponed due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19, which included the temporary cancellation of all RSC performances, events and other activities.
Artistic director Gregory Doran said:
“While we continue to explore every opportunity to open our Stratford buildings as soon as we possibly can, ideally later this year, I am pleased to share this hopeful news of the confirmed schedule for our Winter 2021 season.
“Since first closing our doors back in March, we have continued to do everything we possibly can to support our audiences through lockdown and to engage and entertain our communities across the UK and beyond. Of course, nothing can or should replace the live theatre experience, which continues to be much missed by audiences everywhere.
“Alongside our colleagues across the industry, we can and want to play a crucial role in the recovery of the country, knowing how valuable the arts are to our collective wellbeing, whether giving strength in difficult times, helping us to tell our own stories or simply lifting the spirits for a few hours. We very much look forward to welcoming audiences back to our buildings and to share this live experience with them.”
The company intends to reopen the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) with new events and rescheduled performances of The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors as soon as that proves possible. Both productions were in rehearsal and due to open in the RST this spring. Further details will be announced soon, but this remains dependent on government advice on social distancing and on whether it is financially viable for the company to perform to audiences inside the theatres.
The Magician’s Elephant
(14 October 2021 to 1 January 2022, press night is 26 October, Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
This new adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s children’s book by Nancy Harris (book/lyrics) and Marc Teitler (music/lyrics) will be directed by Sarah Tipple, associate director to Gregory Doran on The Boy in the Dress based on the novel by David Walliams.
The Wars of the Roses
(24 September 2021 to 1 January 2022, press performances: 14 October, 1pm (Part 1) and 7pm (Part 2), Swan Theatre)
Owen Horsley directs The Wars of the Roses with RSC artistic director Gregory Doran, an epic event staging Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 in two performances to tell the vivid and enthralling story of the brutal struggle for the English crown.
The three Henry VI plays will be presented by one company of actors across two performances in a newly configured Swan Theatre. The Swan Theatre auditorium will have new grandstand seating and 100 standing arena spaces to give audiences the opportunity to immerse themselves in the action. The story will conclude with Richard III, further details to be announced.
Doran re-unites with Horsley, whose most recent productions for the RSC include a new adaptation of David Edgar’s post-war masterpiece Maydays in 2018 and an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Salome in 2017. Owen last worked alongside Gregory between 2013-2015 as associate director on the critically-acclaimed King and Country cycle featuring Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II and Henry V.
On Tour – Shakespeare for Everyone
For over a decade the RSC has been taking First Encounters productions – edited versions of the plays performed using Shakespeare’s original language – on the road into the heart of communities and they have been enjoyed by over 100,000 people to date.
Building on the success of The Merchant of Venice in 2019, the RSC First Encounters with Shakespeare series returns with a new production of Twelfth Night directed and edited by Robin Belfield in September 2021.
The production will open in local schools before embarking upon a seven-week tour of partner schools and regional theatres across England.