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Dateline: 3rd February, 2005

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RSC Casting for Summer 2005

The RSC Ensemble will perform four of Shakespeare’s Comedies in the 2005 Season in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

As before, the Ensemble Company is rehearsing and training together for a period twice as long as is normal in the UK. The aim is to create an environment for the actors to test ideas and rigorously investigate the complexities of Shakespeare’s work and the areas focusing on the Comedies in particular. This year, artist development will be more varied and include sessions focusing on text, gender, acrobatics and singing as well as other theory and practical sessions on the history of Comedy in theatre.

Gregory Doran

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Gregory Doran

Previews from 31st March 2005

Associate Director Gregory Doran’s last production for the RSC was Venus and Adonis, a masque with puppets narrated by Michael Pennington, which opened at the Little Angel Theatre in London before transferring to The Other Place in Stratford in 2004. He also heads up the Gunpowder Season of plays in the Swan theatre and will direct Sejanus; his Fall, the third production in that Season. The BBC4 documentary A Midsummer Night’s Dreaming, based on Greg’s research on the play, was aired on 21st December 2004.

Amanda Harris returns to the RSC to play the Queen of the Fairies, Titania. Her last RSC role was Emilia in Greg Doran’s production of Othello in the 2003/4 season. Joe Dixon also makes his return to the company playing Oberon. Joe last appeared with the RSC in the Jacobean season and also in Titus Andronicus in the 2003 season. His recent work includes Cruel and Tender at the Young Vic.

RSC Associate Artist Malcolm Storry also returns to the company to play the weaver Bottom. Malcolm’s last role for the RSC was Prospero in Michael Boyd’s production of The Tempest at the Roundhouse in 2002.

Trystan Gravelle continues his work with the RSC Ensemble by rejoining the company to play Lysander. Trystan played Benvolio in last season’s Romeo and Juliet and Fortinbras in Hamlet (also understudying the title roles).Oscar Pearce also continues with the company to play Demetrius after performing in the Spanish Golden Age season.

The cast also includes: Jamie Ballard (Flute), Peter Bankole (Fairy), Alice Barclay (Fairy), Paul Chahidi (Quince), Edward Clayton (Snug), Tom Hodgkins (Egeus), Bettrys Jones (1st Fairy), Sinead Keenan (Hermia), Geoffrey Lumb (Fairy), Chris McGill (Fairy), Caitlin Mottram (Helena), Miles Richardson (Theseus), David Rogers (Snout), Bridgitta Roy (Hippolyta), Jonathan Slinger (Puck), and Patrick Waldron (Starveling).

The production is designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis with lighting designed by Tim Mitchell. Music is composed by Paul Englishby and movement by Michael Ashcroft. This is the same creative team that worked together on Greg Doran’s production of All’s Well that Ends Well in 2004. Stewart W Fraser is the production’s puppeteer.

Michael Boyd

Twelfth Night
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Michael Boyd

Previews from 22 April 2005

RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd directs this dark comedy for the first time for the company. His production of Hamlet with Toby Stephens in the title role opened the RSC’s London season at the Albery theatre in November 2004.

Kananu Kirimi returns to the RSC to play Viola. Her last role for the company was as Ariel in Michael Boyd’s production of The Tempest and Marina in Pericles at the Roundhouse/RST in 2002. Other recent work includes A Raisin in the Sun (Young Vic), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Liverpool Everyman) and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre (2004).

Nicky Henson returns to the RSC to play Sir Toby Belch. He last appeared with the company in The Merry Wives of Windsor and As You Like It in the 1985/6 season. His long career in theatre, TV and film includes Shine On Harvey Moon, Jumpers (Ambassadors/Broadway 2004), Frame 312 (Donmar 2002) and the most recent Mike Leigh film Vera Drake (2004).

After appearing in Macbeth and Hamlet in the 2004 Tragedies season Richard Cordery, Meg Fraser, Forbes Masson and John Mackay continue with the ‘rolling ensemble’ to play Malvolio, Maria, the clown Feste, and Sir Andrew Aguecheek respectively.

The cast also includes: Peter Bygott (Fabian), Eke Chukwu (Attendant), Barnaby Kay (Orsino), Aislin McGuckin (Olivia), Neil McKinven (Antonio), Alan Morrissey (Curio), Christopher Obi (Sea Captain), Barrie Palmer (Officer), Christopher Robert (Priest), Gurpreet Singh (Sebastian), Sally Tatum (Maid) and Kevin Trainor (Valentine).

The production is designed by RSC Associate Designer Tom Piper who has designed all of Michael Boyd’s previous productions at the RSC. The composer is John Woolf.

Nancy Meckler
The Comedy of Errors
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Nancy Meckler

Previews from 15 July 2005

Press night: 27 July, 7pm

Nancy Meckler’s production of The House of Desires for the RSC transferred to The Playhouse theatre in London in January this year. She is also Artistic Director of the Shared Experience Company.

The cast includes Alice Barclay (Lady), Suzanne Burden (Adriana), Christopher Colquhoun (Antipholus of Ephesus), Richard Cordery (Egeon), Joe Dixon (Antipholus of Syracuse), Tom Hodgkins (Doctor Pinch), Frances Jeater (Emilia), Bettrys Jones (Lady), Sinead Keenan (Courtesan), Kananu Kirimi (Luciana), Forbes Masson (Dromio of Ephesus), Neil McKinven (Solinus), Christopher Obi (Merchant), Oscar Pearce (Angelo), Jonathan Slinger (Dromio of Syracuse) and Kevin Trainor (Messenger).

Other parts will be played by members of the company.

The production is designed by Katrina Lindsay with lighting by Tim Mitchell and music composed by Ilona Sekacz.

Dominic Cooke
As You Like It
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Dominic Cooke

Press night: 17 August, 7pm

RSC Associate Director Dominic Cooke’s last production for the RSC was Macbeth as part of 2004’s Tragedies season in the RST and Albery theatre. He also headed up the company’s inaugural New Work Festival which will be repeated in October this year in Stratford. Most recently he directed By the Bog of Cats with Holly Hunter in the West End. He will soon be directing The Magic Flute for Welsh National Opera in Cardiff.

Lia Williams makes her RSC debut as Rosalind. Her numerous roles have included Skylight (RNT/Broadway), The Celebration/The Room (Almeida), The Homecoming (The Gate/West End/New York), Mappa Mundi (RNT) and Eccentricities of a Nightingale (Dublin Gate).

The cast also includes Jamie Ballard (Silvius), Peter Bygott (Corin), Paul Chahidi (Touchstone), Edward Clayton (Sir Oliver Martext), Meg Fraser (Audrey), Trystan Gravelle (Jacques de Boys), Amanda Harris (Celia), Nicky Henson (Dukes), John Mackay (Oliver), Chris McGill (Forest Lord), Alan Morrissey (Dennis), Caitlin Mottram (Phebe), Joseph Mydell (Jaques), Miles Richardson (Le Beau), David Rogers (Charles the Wrestler), Gurpreet Singh (Amiens/Hymen), Sally Tatum (Hisperia) and Patrick Waldron (Adam).

The production is designed by Rae Smith with lighting by Paul Arditti and music by Gary Yershon.

Gunpowder at the Swan theatre

Following the Olivier award-winning season of Jacobean plays in 2002, Gregory Doran has assembled another dynamic selection of rarely performed work, including Shakespeare’s banned play, a black comedy, a discovery play, a political thriller and concluding with an explosive new play by Frank McGuinness, especially commissioned for the Swan theatre, to mark the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. This year, the artist development programme includes opportunities for the Gunpowder company of actors to also attend training sessions during the rehearsal period.

Thomas More
By William Shakespeare, Anthony Munday, Henry Chettle
Directed by Robert Delamere

Previews from 9 March 2005

Written between 1592 and 1595, Shakespeare’s ‘banned’ play, in collaboration with Munday and Chettle, tells of the race riots and dissent in London at the time and Thomas More’s attempts to quell the uprising. His pleading for racial harmony begins his rise to political prominence but ultimately leads to his downfall.

Robert Delamere previously directed A Russian in the Woods for the RSC (2001). His other recent productions include Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Donmar), Whistling Psyche and The Earthly Paradise at the Almeida (2004).

The cast is led by Nigel Cooke in the title role of Thomas More. Nigel’s last RSC appearance was in Greg Doran’s production of Macbeth (which was also made into a film in 2000). Other recent work includes The Permanent Way (RNT 2003), All My Sons (RNT 2001), Feelgood (Hampstead/Garrick, 2001).

Cast also includes: Barry Aird (Williamson), Teresa Banham (Lady More), Michelle Butterly (Doll Williamson), Nigel Betts (George Betts), Peter Bramhill (Lifter), Miranda Colchester (More’s daughter), Ewen Cummins (Lord Mayor), Ian Drysdale (Lincoln), Evelyn Duah (Lady Mayoress), Jon Foster (Sheriff), Geoffrey Freshwater (Sir Roger Chomley/Erasmus), Kevin Harvey (Francis de Barde), James Hayes (Sir Thomas Palmer), David Hinton (Sherwin/Faulkner), Michael Jenn (Earl of Surrey), Keith Osborn (Suresby), Fred Ridgeway (Clown Betts), Vinette Robinson (Lady Roper), Mark Springer (Caveler), Julian Stolzenberg (Master Roper) and Tim Treloar (Earl of Shrewsbury).

The production is designed by Simon Higlett who has collaborated with Robert on many of his previous productions. Lighting is by Wayne Dowdeswell with fights directed by Terry King.

A New Way to Please You
By Thomas Middleton, William Rowley, Philip Massinger
Directed by Sean Holmes

Previews from 16 March 2005

Written in 1632, this is an hilarious black comedy in which a law is passed stating that every man of eighty years and every woman at sixty should be ‘put down’ as they no longer have a use to society.

Sean Holmes returns to the RSC to direct. His last productions for the RSC were The Roman Actor (2002), and Richard III and Measure for Measure in 2003. Other recent productions include The Suitcase Kid, Singer and The Price with Warren Mitchell. He is also an Associate Director of the Oxford Stage Company.

The cast includes: Teresa Banham (Antigona), Nigel Betts (Cook/Lawyer), Ishia Bennison (Agatha), Michelle Butterly (Siren), Miranda Colchester (Eugenia), Peter de Jersey (Evander), Evelyn Duah (Hippolita), Jon Foster (Courtier), Geoffrey Freshwater (Creon), James Hayes (Lisander), David Hinton (Cratilus/Tailor), Jonjo O’Neill (Simonides), Keith Osborn (Lawyer/Butler), Fred Ridgeway (Gnotho), Vinette Robinson (Parthenia), Matt Ryan (Cleanthes), Mark Springer (Bailiff), Barry Stanton (Leonides) and Julian Stolzenberg (Courtier).

The production is designed by Kandis Cook whose recent RSC productions include the costume design for Bill Alexander’s King Lear last season. Lighting is by Wayne Dowdeswell with music by Chris Branch and Tom Haines. The Associate Director is Michael Ashcroft.

Believe What You Will
By Philip Massinger
Directed by Josie Rourke

Previews from 18 May 2005

A Middle Eastern leader comes out of hiding to reunite his people, but whichever state he turns to for safe harbour is threatened with sanctions by his enemy, the all-powerful Roman Empire. When he finally finds a state to grant him refuge, the super power threatens war.

Josie Rourke makes her RSC debut directing this discovery play written in 1631. Josie trained at the Donmar Warehouse where her previous productions include World Music (2004) and Frame 312. Her other work includes Kick for Touch (Sheffield Crucible), Crazyblackmuthaf***in’self, Children’s Day (Royal Court) and Romeo and Juliet (Liverpool Playhouse). Her most recent production was directing the world premiere of Steve Waters’ play The Unthinkable at the Crucible Studio, Sheffield.

The exiled King Antiochus is played by Peter de Jersey who returns to the RSC after 12 years. His previous productions for the RSC include The Odyssey (‘93), As You Like It (‘93) King Lear (‘91), The Last Days of Don Juan (‘91), Richard II (‘91), Antony and Cleopatra (‘92) and The Merry Wives of Windsor (‘92). He is widely known for his regular television appearances on both The Bill (‘03/04) and Holby City (’99/‘03).

The cast also includes: Barry Aird (Merchant), Teresa Banham (Cornelia), Peter Bramhill (Philoxenus), Michelle Butterly (Courtesan), Nigel Cooke (Marcellus/Stoic), Ewen Cummins (Merchant), Ian Drysdale (Chrysalus), Evelyn Duah (Prusias’ &Titus’ Queen), Kevin Harvey (Merchant), David Hinton (Hanno), Jonjo O’Neill (Prusias), Fred Ridgeway (Metellus), Matt Ryan (Sempronius), Mark Springer (Amilcar/Prologue), Barry Stanton (Berenthius), Julian Stolzenberg (Asdrubal) and Tim Treloar (Calistus/Demitrius).

The production is designed by Stephen Brimson-Lewis with lighting by Wayne Dowdeswell, fights directed by Terry King and movement by Michael Ashcroft.

Sejanus: His Fall
By Ben Jonson
Directed by Gregory Doran

Previews from 20 July 2005

Written in 1603, Ben Jonson’s political thriller follows the rise of Sejanus, Emperor Tiberius’ right hand man, who is ruthlessly working his way to the top, destroying everyone in his way. No-one can stop him, but his fall is inevitable.

Directed by RSC Associate Director Gregory Doran (who leads the Swan season), this political thriller will be the first time the RSC has staged a tragic play by Ben Jonson.

The cast also includes: Barry Aird (Laco), Ishia Bennison (Agrippina), Nigel Betts (Eudemus/Lepidus), Peter Bramhill (Rufus), Miranda Colchester (Livia), Nigel Cooke (Arruntius), Ewen Cummins (Varro), Peter De Jersey (Macro), Ian Drysdale (Latiaris), Jon Foster (Caligula), Geoffrey Freshwater (Silius), Kevin Harvey (Afer/Pomponius), James Hayes (Sabinus), Michael Jenn (Satrius), Jonjo O’Neill (Nero), Keith Osborn (Terrentius/Cordlus), Vinette Robinson (Lady), Matt Ryan (Prince Drusas), Barry Stanton (Tiberius), Tim Treloar (Natta).

Further casting to be announced.

The production is designed by Robert Jones with lighting by Wayne Dowdeswell and movement by Michael Ashcroft.

Speaking Like Magpies
By Frank McGuinness
Directed by Rupert Goold
World Premiere

Previews from 21 September 2005

Specially commissioned for the Swan theatre, Frank McGuinness’ new play deals with the background to the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Rupert Goold makes his RSC directorial debut with this production. He is Artistic Director at Northampton Theatres and recent work there includes Summer Lightning, Insignificance, Paradise Lost (2004); Othello, Waiting for Godot and The Weir (2003). He has also directed productions for several other theatres including the Birmingham Rep, Hampstead, The Gate and Salisbury Playhouse.

Cast from the Gunpowder Season Ensemble.

New Writing at The Other Place

Zinnie Harris
By Zinnie Harris
Directed by Zinnie Harris
World Premiere

Previews from 30 March 2005

A family is riven by intergenerational conflict when forced to resettle in an oppressive state. Solstice examines themes of faith and terror in a world slipping out of control.

Zinnie’s last play for the RSC, Midwinter, which she also directed, premiered in the 2004 New Work Festival in Stratford before transferring into Soho theatre in March 2005. Solstice can be seen as the ‘prequel’ to Midwinter in many ways. Her previous plays include Further than the Furthest Thing (2000) and Nightingale and Chase (2001).

The cast includes Suzanne Burden (Therese), Peter Bygott (Michel), Eke Chukwu (Sol), Frances Jeater (Hannah), Neil McKinven (Thomas), Alan Morrissey (Adie), Sally Tatum (Sita) and Kevin Trainor (Jean).

The production is designed by Tom Piper.

The American Pilot
By David Greig
Directed by Ramin Gray
World Premiere

Previews from 27 April 2005

A spy plane crash lands in a remote valley in a distant country. The local villagers take in the wounded pilot. The question is: what should they do with him? The American Pilot explores the way the world sees America and the way America sees the world.

David Greig’s last play for the RSC was Victoria which premiered in The Pit theatre in 2000. Other recent work includes When the Bulbul Stopped Singing (Traverse, 2004) and Caligula (Donmar 2003).

Ramin Gray makes his RSC debut directing this world premiere. He is an Associate Director of the Royal Court. His recent productions there include Terrorism (2003), Ladybird (2004) and Just a Bloke (Jerwood theatre Upstairs 2002).

The cast includes Peter Bankole (Soldier), Paul Chahidi (The Translator), Stewart W Fraser (Soldier), Amanda Harris (Sarah), Tom Hodgkins (A Farmer), Sinead Keenan (Evie), Geoffrey Lumb (Soldier), Chris McGill (Soldier), David Rogers (The Pilot), Jonathan Slinger (A Small Time Trader) and Malcolm Storry (The Captain).

The production is designed by Lizzie Clachan.



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©Peter Lathan 2005