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RSC’s Romeo and Juliet to be screened on BBC Two

Published: 1 February 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Karen Fishwick (Juliet) and Bally Gill (Romeo) in the RSC’s 2018 production Credit: Topher McGrillis

The Royal Shakespeare Company's 2018 production of Romeo and Juliet is to be broadcast on BBC Two at 2PM on Tuesday 9 February as part of the BBC's Lockdown Learning Shakespeare Week. The production will then be available on the BBC’s iPlayer for two months.

The BBC will also run two episodes of Shakespeare Unlocked, a collaboration between the RSC and BBC Teach in which actors from previous RSC productions explore language and characters in key scenes from Macbeth (2PM on Monday 8 February on BBC Two) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (2:15PM on Thursday 11 February, BBC Two). There will also be Shakespeare-focused episodes of Bitesize Daily featuring readings from RSC alumni including Niamh Cusack, Natalie Simpson and Jamie Wilkes.

Directed by RSC deputy artistic director Erica Whyman, the production of Romeo and Juliet being screened on BBC Two features Bally Gill as Romeo, a role for which he won the Ian Charleson Award in 2019, and Karen Fishwick as Juliet.

Originally staged at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, the show transferred to the Barbican in November 2018. The company then embarked on an extended national tour of the UK in 2019.

Whyman said, "sadly our theatres are currently closed but I hope that this broadcast will inspire students and offer them a deeper understanding of Shakespeare's revolutionary love story. We were so struck by Shakespeare's timeless understanding of all the ways adults can let their young people down, and that seems even more urgent now. The broadcast adds to the vast range of resources the RSC is offering to students currently learning at home, and to teachers looking to create lesson plans to deliver online."

The professional cast also includes Afolabi Alli (Paris), Donna Banya (Gregory), Stevie Basaula (Sampson), Ishia Bennison (nurse), Katy Brittain (Friar John / apothecary), Raif Clarke (Peter), Beth Cordingly (Escalus), Paul Dodds (Montague), Josh Finan (Benvolio) Andrew French (Friar Laurence), Mariam Haque (Lady Capulet), Michael Hodgson (Capulet), Charlotte Josephine (Mercutio), John Macaulay (Cousin Capulet), Tom Padley (Balthasar), Sakuntala Ramanee (Lady Montague), Raphael Sowole (Tybalt) and Nima Taleghani (Abraham).

The broadcast of Romeo and Juliet features young chorus members from Hall Green Secondary School, Birmingham.

Romeo and Juliet is designed by Tom Piper, with lighting by Charles Balfour. Music is by Sophie Cotton and movement by Ayse Tashkiran.