Additionally, it has been more than ten years since she last appeared with the company anywhere (London, in Peter Shaffer’s The Gift of the Gorgon). Her last Stratford stint was in one of Shakespeare’s less frequently performed plays, as Imogen in Cymbeline. With All’s Well That Ends Well she returns with another rarely staged drama. All’s Well’s Countess is one of the few important Shakespeare ladies she hasn’t yet tackled.
Luring back Dench is all part of new RSC chief Michael Boyd’s grand plan to make the company an attractive place for actors again. By devoting more time to rehearsal and research, he hopes to create an environment where actors can learn something about themselves as well as the parts they play. Dench is clearly impressed by his talk, as are other returning stars such as Toby Stephens and Corin Redgrave (the former coming back to play Hamlet, the latter for King Lear).
All’s Well officially opens on Dec. 11, running at Stratford’s Swan Theatre until Feb. 7, 2004. It will then move to London’s Gielgud Theatre from Feb. 18 to April 24 (thanks to commercial producers Bill Kenwright and Thelma Holt).
The cast also includes Claudie Blakley, Shelley Conn, Aimee Cowen, Tim Delap, Chris Geere, Jamie Glover, Colm Gormley, Guy Henry, Charles Kay, Arthur Kohn, Mark Lambert, Jane Maud, Brendan O’Hea, Miles Richardson, Oliver Senton, Gary Waldhorn and Sarah Jane Wolverson. Gregory Doran directs, with designs by Stephen Brimson Lewis, costumes by Deirdre Clancy, lighting by Paul Pyant and music by Paul Englishby.
For ticket information call (0)870 609 1110 or visit www.rsc.org.uk(http://www.rsc.org.uk/)