The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced its Winter 2020 season.
- The Magician’s Elephant, a new musical adaptation by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler, based on the international, best-selling novel by Kate DiCamillo, directed by Sarah Tipple
- The Wars of the Roses, directed by Owen Horsley with Gregory Doran. An epic staging of all three parts of Henry VI across two performances
- Shakespeare for Everyone. First Encounters with Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, edited and directed by Robin Belfield
On announcing the season, RSC artistic director Gregory Doran said: “When I became artistic director, I wanted to stage every Shakespeare play in the canon once. We are more than two thirds of the way through that journey, which will conclude at the end of 2021.
“This journey now continues with The Wars of the Roses, our two-part staging of Shakespeare’s epic history cycle which he wrote as Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3. If you want to understand the dangerous world we live in, with its divisive politics, the rise of demagoguery and the threat of despotism, then you need look no further than Shakespeare’s early history plays.”
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
The world stage premiere of a new musical adaptation of The Magician’s Elephant, based on the novel by international best-selling author Kate DiCamillo, builds on a successful tradition of new work created by the RSC for family audiences at Christmas.
The Magician’s Elephant tells the story of orphan Peter Augustus Duchenne who lives a frugal life in the lonely town of Baltese. Then one day, a magician conjures an elephant from the sky. The animal’s appearance sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that it changes Baltese forever. Peter is catapulted into the quest of his life, overturning everything he ever thought he knew, and discovering that happiness can come from the most unexpected places.
This new adaptation by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler will be directed by Sarah Tipple, associate director to Gregory Doran on The Boy in the Dress.
The role of Peter will be played by Jack Wolfe, whose theatre credits include Sweeney Todd (Lyric Belfast), Pinocchio (National Theatre) and The Witcher (Netflix). The production will run from 29 October 2020 to 17 January 2021.
Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler said: “While we’re thrilled at the prospect of creating a mesmerising theatrical experience for RSC audiences, it’s the emotional truth and compassion at the heart of the story that really resonates with us and is what makes it an urgent and hopeful one for our time.”
Owen Horsley directs The Wars of the Roses with Gregory Doran, an epic event staging Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 in two performances.
The three Henry VI plays will be presented by one company of actors across two performances in a newly configured Swan Theatre from 10 October 2020 to 2 January 2021. The Swan Theatre auditorium will have a new format for the staging of The Wars of the Roses with grandstand seating and 100 standing arena spaces to give audiences the opportunity to immerse themselves in the action. Seating in Galleries 1 and 2 will remain unchanged. The story will conclude in 2021 with Richard III, further details to be announced.
This epic journey through The Wars of the Roses will see Doran re-unite with director Horsley, whose most recent productions for the RSC include a new adaptation of David Edgar’s Maydays in 2018 and an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Salome in 2017. Horsley last worked alongside Doran 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.
Shakespeare for Everyone
The RSC First Encounters with Shakespeare series returns in September 2020 with a new production of Twelfth Night, directed and edited by Robin Belfield.
The production will open at local schools followed by performances in the Swan Theatre, before embarking upon a seven-week tour of partner schools and regional theatres across England.
This production will be created in collaboration with the RSC’s Regional Theatre Partners and Associate Schools, enabling young people to experience Shakespeare for the first time, not simply as audience members but as theatre makers.
All performances of Twelfth Night will be chilled performances offering a welcoming, safe environment for everyone to encounter Shakespeare for the first time.
The Winter’s Tale on tour
Following its opening in Stratford-upon-Avon alongside The Comedy of Errors and Pericles this summer, The Winter’s Tale will embark on a national tour in January 2021. Confirmed venues include Salford Lowry in January 2021 and then Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, Canterbury Marlowe Theatre and Newcastle-upon-Tyne Theatre Royal.
As part of the RSC’s commitment to make Shakespeare for everyone, this season will see the RSC continue broadcasting every Shakespeare play in the canon to cinemas across the UK with a recorded performance of The Wars of the Roses Parts 1 and 2 scheduled for screening in 2021. Full details of future Live From Stratford-upon-Avon screenings to be confirmed.