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King John to rule at the RSC in Stratford

Published: 12 September 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

Shakespeare's rarely-performed history play King John, which tells the story of the monarch's reign from 1199 to 1216, is to be presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford.

The plot involves John becoming King of England after the death of his brother Richard the Lionheart. Threatened from all sides by Europe, the English noblemen and even his own family, King John will stop at nothing to keep hold of his crown.

Rosie Sheehy will make her RSC debut in the title role of King John while Eleanor Rhode will direct her first production for the company.

Sheehy played Sonia in Peter Gill’s version of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya at Theatr Clwyd in 2017, Grace in Escape the Scaffold by Titas Halder at Porter's, Cardiff, also in 2017, and Mildred Douglas in Eugene O'Neill’s The Hairy Ape at the Old Vic in 2015.

Rhode was at the helm of Ella Hickson’s adaptation of J M Barrie’s Wendy and Peter Pan at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh in 2018 and Boudica by Tristan Bernays at Shakespeare's Globe in 2017.

The cast also features Michael Abubakar (The Bastard), Sarah Agha, David Birrell (King of France), John Cummins (Pembroke), Houda Echouafni, Ali Gadema (Essex), Nicholas Gerard-Martin (Chatillon), Zed Josef (Robert Faulconbridge), Nadi Kemp-Sayfi (Blanche), Brian Martin (Lewis the Dauphin), Tom McCall (Hubert), Corey Montague-Sholay (Salisbury), Katherine Pearce (Cardinal Pandulph), Richard Pryal (Austria), Zara Ramm (Lady Faulconbridge), Charlotte Randle (Constance) and Bridgitta Roy (Elinor).

Singer-songwriter Will Gregory, who with Alison Goldfrapp formed electronic pop group Goldfrapp in 1999, will compose the music.

The creative team also includes Max Johns (designer), Lizzie Powell (lighting designer), David Gregory (sound), Tom Jackson Greaves (movement) and Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown (fights).

King John runs in the Swan Theatre, Stratford from Thursday 19 September until Saturday 21 March 2020.