RSC invites audiences to rehearsals in summer programme

Published: 23 April 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Visualisation of the Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre where the RSC will stage The Comedy of Errors Credit: Andy Williams

The Royal Shakespeare Company has released details of its summer 2021 programme, which includes A Comedy of Errors, which had to be rescheduled because of coronavirus, and Henry VI Part One, with artistic director Gregory Doran inviting audiences to online rehearsals.

Doran said, “the RSC is reopening by sharing our work in new, creative and surprising ways. We want to respond to our changing world and the needs of our audiences with performances and experiences outdoors and online—opening up our rehearsal rooms for the first time.”

The Comedy of Errors will be staged in the Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre, an outdoor performance space in the Swan Theatre Gardens.

Doran added, “by creating an outdoor theatre space for The Comedy of Errors, we hope audiences will feel safe to return to the theatre with confidence. Our buildings will gradually come back to life and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre will be ready for indoor performances in the autumn.”

The Comedy of Errors, directed by Phillip Breen, will run from Tuesday 13 July until Sunday 26 September. It will then tour to theatres around the country including the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury from Wednesday 27 until Saturday 30 October.

Audiences will be invited to rehearsals of Henry VI Part One for three weeks, culminating in a complete rehearsal room performance which will be broadcast online on Wednesday 23 June at 7PM. Directors Doran and Owen Horsley will “reinvent the Henry VI plays afresh”, with Part One running from Tuesday 1 until Friday 25 June.

The RSC will also stage an online playmaking festival featuring 20 original digital commissions involving 600 young people aged from 5 to 18 from the company's national associate schools network and adults from the Shakespeare Nation community programme. From Monday 5 July, students will make short films based on a range of Shakespeare’s plays.

In the summer, there will also be an original performance from the RSC’s Next Generation ACT young company which will be inspired by Much Ado About Nothing.

The company will resume in-person performances on Friday 23 July with All Mirth and No Matter, a fusion of new writing and Shakespeare's text. The production will run in the Garden Theatre for two public performances.

The RSC will celebrate the arrival of summer with a series of free pop-up performances, interactive workshops and outdoor performances for families running for four weeks from Tuesday 27 July until Friday 20 August on the Bancroft Terrace and across the newly installed Garden Theatre.

The full programme is available at the RSC web site.