Will Gregory to compose music for RSC’s King John

Published: 17 July 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

Challenge: Will Gregory

Singer-songwriter Will Gregory will compose the music for a new production of William Shakespeare’s rarely performed tale of a nation in turmoil, King John.

Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp formed electronic pop group Goldfrapp in 1999. They have released seven albums and have been nominated for the Mercury prize, multiple Grammy awards and won an Ivor Novello for “Strict Machine”.

Gregory’s first opera Picard in Space premièred at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2011 and he also wrote part of the score for the National Theatre of Scotland's James III, the third in the James Plays trilogy, in 2016 which was subsequently performed nationally.

He said, “I think Shakespeare is still one of the most important voices across all the arts. His work has a musical dimension for me. His poetry manages to condense meaning in a supercharged way that sits outside reality and we understand it with some part of our eternal self that has nothing to do with the everyday.

“I love the challenge of writing music for the stage. Hopefully, the score will add a fourth dimension to the audience’s experience of watching King John, like an extra cast member that Shakespeare might have added, had he been familiar with a synthesiser!”

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