Both productions will premiere first in Stratford-upon-Avon in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Courtyard Theatre, respectively. Julius Caesar will begin performances in Stratford May 28, for a run through July 7, and Much Ado will run July 26-Sept. 15. The exact London dates are still to be announced, but the productions will be presented in straight, back-to-back runs.
Julius Caesar, directed by the RSC's chief associate director Gregory Doran, finds dark contemporary echoes in modern Africa. The cast will include Adjoa Andoh, Ray Fearon, Paterson Joseph, Jeffery Kissoon and Joseph Mydell. It will be designed by Michael Vale, with music by Akintayo Akinbode, lighting by Vince Herbert, sound by Jonathan Ruddick and fight direction by Kev McCurdy.
Much Ado About Nothing, to be directed by Iqbal Khan in his RSC directorial debut, will transpose Shakespeare's comedy of love and deceit to an Indian setting. It will feature Meera Syal as Beatrice.
In a press statement, Vikki Heywood, RSC executive director, commented, "I am delighted that the RSC is able to bring these two productions to the West End during the summer of 2012, with the generous support of BP, Founding Presenting Partner of the World Shakespeare Festival. The productions will join our What Country Friends Is This? season at the Roundhouse, as part of our contribution to the World Shakespeare Festival, for London 2012 Festival."
Sir Cameron Mackintosh, whose theatre group Delfont Mackintosh includes the Coward Theatre, added, "We are delighted to be hosting the RSC's West End contribution to the World Shakespeare Festival for the Cultural Olympiad with these two exciting productions. Not only is it a pleasure to be continuing our long standing relationship with the RSC but, personally, I am delighted that Meera Syal in Much Ado is to play Beatrice and is also this year's Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre for my Chair at Oxford University." RSC Members priority booking will open in February 2012, with public booking from March 2012. For details, visit www.rsc.org.uk.