Later this year, the three Shakespeare productions from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) summer 2019 Stratford season transfer to the Barbican from 26 October 2019. The company features 27 actors, who each appear across two of the three productions:
- As You Like It, directed by Kimberley Sykes
- The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Justin Audibert
- Measure for Measure, directed by Gregory Doran
Gregory Doran, RSC artistic director, said about the season: “This season we have worked particularly hard to assemble a company which reflects the nation in ways it has never done before. We have introduced a 50/50 gender balanced ensemble across the entire season for the very first time and brought together talent from all corners of the United Kingdom, reflecting both the ethnic, geographical and cultural diversity of Britain today and those artists that are underrepresented on our stages.
“We want to create a season of work which places contemporary audiences at its heart, which speaks directly to the present moment… The stories Shakespeare tells may have been written down hundreds of years ago but they’re happening now, to all of us.”
Toni Racklin, Barbican head of theatre, added: “We’re delighted to welcome the RSC back to the Barbican, its London home. We’re looking forward to presenting this exciting combination of plays for which the RSC has assembled a group of actors, representative of our nation and particularly relevant in a megacity like London.”
As You Like It
26 October 2019 to 18 January 2020 (press night is 29 October)
Following her roles in Dido, Queen of Carthage, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra in 2017, Lucy Phelps plays Rosalind in Kimberley Sykes’ production of As You Like It which opens the season. She is joined by David Ajao as Orlando, whose previous productions for the RSC include The Merchant of Venice, Othello and Hecuba. There will be a Chilled Performance of As You Like It on 5 December, the first of its kind at the Barbican.
The Taming Of The Shrew
5 November 2019 to 18 January 2020 (press night is 7 November)
Having last been at the RSC in 2017 to direct Snow in Midsummer in the Swan Theatre, Justin Audibert returns to direct a staging of The Taming of the Shrew, set in a world in which women hold the power. In a cast where women play roles written as men, and men play roles written as women, Claire Price plays Petruchia and Joseph Arkley plays Katherine.
Measure For Measure
12 November 2019 to 16 January 2020 (press night is 14 November)
Last to join the repertoire will be Measure for Measure, directed by RSC artistic director Gregory Doran. Sandy Grierson, who played the roles of Faustus and Mephistopheles in Maria Aberg’s 2016 production of Dr Faustus, plays Angelo, and following his performance as Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, Antony Byrne returns to play The Duke. They are joined by Lucy Phelps in the role of Isabella.
The three productions will be going on tour to Salford in 2019, before visiting Canterbury, Plymouth, Nottingham, Newcastle upon Tyne and Blackpool in 2020.
Alongside the season, Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning and RSC Education will collaborate on a conference aimed at teachers from early years to Key Stage 3. The conference will take place at the Barbican on 10 January 2020.