Winter at the RSC

Published: 10 January 2012
Reporter: Peter Lathan


The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced its winter 2012/2013 season in Stratford.

In the Royal Shakespeare Theatre two productions will run in repertoire. The season opens in October with a new adaptation of Russell Hoban’s classic children’s story The Mouse and His Child, adapted for the stage by Tamsin Oglesby and directed by Told By An Idiot’s Co-Artistic Director, Paul Hunter, who directed the RSC’s recent Young People’s Shakespeare production ofThe Comedy of Errors. It will run alongside The Merry Wives of Windsor, further details of which are to be announced.

In the Swan the company will present A World Elsewhere, a trilogy of newly-adapted international plays, in repertoire from November. Curated by Chief Associate Director Gregory Doran and Associate Director, Roxana Silbert, the ambition of the season is to explore what was going on in the rest of the world in Shakespeare’s lifetime.

Doran will open the season with a play which is sometimes referred to as the Chinese Hamlet, which traces its origins to the 4th century BC, The Orphan of Zhao. This is a tale of self-sacrifice and revenge and was the first Chinese play to be translated in the West, in an adaptation by Voltaire. This production, based in part on a version by Ji Junxiang, published in 1615, is adapted by James Fenton.

The second play in the season is an adaptation by Adrian Mitchell of Alexander Pushkin’s play, Boris Godunov. In fact, it was Mitchell’s final project, completed before his death in 2008. Inspired by Macbeth, its subject is the ruthless Boris Godunov, Tsar of Russia from 1598 to 1605, who was rumoured to have murdered the Tsarevich Dmitry in order to seize power. It will beMichael Boyd's final production as Artistic Director of the RSC before he steps down at the end of 2012.

The final Stratford play will be a new version of Brecht's Galileo by Mark Ravenhill. Roxana Silbert will direct what will be her final production as RSC Associate Director before she takes up her new position as Artistic Director of Birmingham Rep.

However there will also be a London production under the A World Elsewhere banner: Anjin: The English Samurai tells the story of William Adams, the first Englishman in Japan, who was shipwrecked off the coast in 1600. He arrived at a pivotal moment in Japanese history, and became close to the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The play is co-authored by Mike Poulton and Sho Kawai and will have a cast of British and Japanese actors. This production, directed by Gregory Doran, builds on a long relationship between the RSC, Thelma Holt and the Japanese media company Horipro. Inh Japanese and English with surtitles, it transfers direct from Tokyo to Sadler’s Wells for just ten performances in January 2013.

Michael Boyd, RSC Artistic Director, said, "Hot on the heels of the enormous ambition of the World Shakespeare Festival, this winter season will be my last with the RSC, although I and our team of associates will be planning further into 2013 to give my successor breathing room as they take over the helm. A World Elsewhere builds on our commitment to internationalism and puts great writing at its heart. With work from some of the best classical and contemporary writers from Shakespeare, Brecht and Pushkin to Mark Ravenhill, James Fenton and Adrian Mitchell, we have shaped a season which offers provocation and celebration in equal measure."

A full range of supporting events and exhibitions will be announced later.