RSC to cross-cast three plays in summer 2019

Published: 10 September 2018

Three plays will be cross-cast by the Royal Shakespeare Company and will be presented in a newly reconfigured Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford during summer 2019.

As You Like It will be directed by Kimberley Sykes while Justin Audibert will be at the helm of The Taming of the Shrew and the company’s artistic director Gregory Doran will take care of Measure for Measure.

Doran said, “this season reflects the power of storytelling in its most essential form, with the actor at the centre of the work. With Justin Audibert and Kimberley Sykes, I’m creating a company which reflects the nation in terms of gender, ethnicity, regionality and disability—27 actors who will all appear in two out of the three plays.

“We’re also making some exciting changes to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium specifically for this season by extending the audience further round the stage at the circle levels, creating new perspectives on the action, truly exploiting the unique qualities of our thrust stage and showing our work in a completely new way.”

All three shows will then tour in repertoire to six regional theatres—“something that is rarely achieved with large-scale productions”, added Doran.

“Meanwhile in the Swan Theatre, we’ll celebrate two important anniversaries. To mark 25 years since the first democratic elections in South Africa, we’re thrilled to be staging the world première of a play by John Kani.

“John started to write it when he was playing Caliban in 2009 opposite Antony Sher as Prospero in The Tempest. The resulting play, Kunene and the King, will be directed by Janice Honeyman, and features both these extraordinary South African actors.

“We’ll also mark 250 years since David Garrick’s famous Shakespeare Jubilee in 1769 which launched Stratford as the epicentre of the Shakespeare industry.

“We’re staging two plays in which Garrick enjoyed two of his most successful roles. Both are Restoration plays, a comedy and a tragedy: The Provoked Wife by John Vanbrugh and Venice Preserved by Thomas Otway.”

As You Like It will run from 14 February until 31 August 2019. The Taming of the Shrew takes to the stage from 8 March until 31 August and Measure for Measure runs from 28 June until 29 August.

Kunene and the King can be seen in the Swan Theatre from 21 March until 23 April. The Provoked Wife takes to the stage from 2 May until 7 September and Venice Preserved runs from 24 May until 7 September.

Steve Orme