The RSC’s new winter 2018 season will include new productions of Troilus and Cressida, Tamburlaine, and Timon of Athens featuring Kathryn Hunter in the lead role).
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre season opens with artistic director Gregory Doran’s production of Troilus and Cressida (12 October to 17 November 2018), with music by virtuoso percussionist Evelyn Glennie. The piece will also be dedicated to John Barton, co-founder of the RSC, who sadly died last week.
Doran said: “John was both a great director and teacher and simply one of the greatest influences in the acting of Shakespeare of the last century.
“He always declared that his favourite play was Troilus and Cressida, which he first directed in 1960. When I told him I would be directing it this year, he shared some of his passion for the play with me. I regret that he won’t be around to tell me what I got wrong.”
The production will also bring “a gender-balanced cast to this testosterone-fuelled play on our main stage, exploring and challenging gender conventions for every character.” The production will be broadcast in cinemas on 14 November.
David Edgar’s acclaimed adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, will follow Troilus and Cressida in the main house (4 December 2018 to 20 January 2019).
The season in the Swan will begin with Tamburlaine (16 August to 1 December 2018), by Christopher Marlowe, directed by Michael Boyd, who returns to the RSC for the first time since stepping down as artistic director. Parts I and II have been edited by Boyd into a single production.
The production will run in rep with Tartuffe (7 September 2018 to 23 February 2019), a new version of Molière’s classic, by Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto, directed by Iqbal Khan and set in Birmingham’s Pakistani Muslim community.
The season concludes with Timon of Athens (7 December 2018 to 22 February 2019), with Simon Godwin directing Hunter in the title role. This will the first Shakespeare title to play in the Swan during the RSC’s current journey through the First Folio, and the first time the play has been performed in this space.
As part of a continuing programme to encourage young people to get involved with the RSC, there are a number of new audience initiatives.
Through First Encounters with Shakespeare, a new production of The Comedy of Errors will travel to schools and local theatres around the country.
Plus, as Doran explained: “We are making it even easier for first-time visitors to see our shows, with a new ‘First Time Fridays’ offer of two tickets at £10 each if you’ve never been to the RSC before.
“We are halfway through our project to stage every one of Shakespeare’s plays in the First Folio, presenting work in a radically different way and making every play an event and celebrating Shakespeare’s continuing relevance to a contemporary audience. We have staged 19 Shakespeare productions since 2013, reaching a worldwide audience of 2.1 million.”