RSC to Offer Winter Season in the West End, Including Tennant-Stewart Hamlet

News   RSC to Offer Winter Season in the West End, Including Tennant-Stewart Hamlet
The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced the transfer of three productions from Stratford-upon-Avon to the West End's Novello Theatre, where the current RSC stagings of Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Taming of the Shrew will play a December 2008 to March 2009 season.
David Tennant will star in Hamlet with the RSC
David Tennant will star in Hamlet with the RSC

Two new RSC commissions will premiere at the historic Wilton's Music Hall in November 2008.

In a press statement, Michael Boyd, RSC artistic director, commented, "Greg Doran's A Midsummer Night’s Dream combines wide-eyed fairy magic with obscene humour in a production which speaks vividly to adults and young people alike. RSC alumni, David Tennant, Patrick Stewart and Penny Downie are coming back to the Company, bringing new experience and perspectives, to work with Greg on Hamlet. And Conall Morrison's terrifying reading of Shrew explores the deep seams of fear and anger which can be at the heart of sexual relationships in a riotously playful production. The RSC wants to connect contemporary people with Shakespeare and engage with the world as we know it, mining Shakespeare for inspiration but also drawing from contemporary writers and artists to re-examine his work. That's why I'm particularly pleased that we can present two new works alongside the Shakespeare repertoire. Adriano Shaplin's new play The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes was completed during his time as writer in residence, working in the rehearsal room directly with the Histories company, exploring epic theatre-making and grappling with the clash between art and science. Marina Carr has drawn on the universal themes from King Lear as the starting point for her two-hander, The Cordelia Dream. Both will be cross-cast from the Stratford ensemble, allowing our actors to flex their muscles on both Shakespeare and contemporary writing."

Gregory Doran's production of Hamlet, which begins its Stratford-upon-Avon season July 24 (prior to an official opening on Aug. 5) and will run in rep there to Nov. 15, will transfer to the Novello from Dec. 3, 2008-Jan. 10, 2009, with a press night on Dec. 9.

David Tennant takes the title role with Patrick Stewart and Penny Downie as Claudius and Gertrude, and Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius. The cast also includes David Ajala (Reynaldo), Sam Alexander (Rosencrantz/Second Gravedigger), Edward Bennett (Laertes), Ricky Champ (Lucianus) Ewen Cummins (Barnardo), Robert Curtis (Francisco), Tom Davey (Guildenstern), Peter De Jersey (Horatio), Samuel Dutton (Lord), Ryan Gage (Osric), Mariah Gale (Ophelia), Mark Hadfield (Gravedigger), Jim Hooper (Priest), Keith Osborn (Marcellus), Roderick Smith (Lord and Captain), Andrea Harris (Lady), Riann Steele (Lady) and Zoe Thorne (Lady and Player) and John Woodvine (Player King).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, also directed by Doran, is a revival of his 2005 production, and will run in London Jan. 15-Feb. 7, 2009 (with press night on Jan. 20). The cast includes David Ajala (Cobweb), Sam Alexander (Philostrate/Fairy), Edward Bennett (Demetrius), Ricky Champ (Snout), Ewen Cummins (Snug), Robert Curtis (Theseus/Fairy), Tom Davey (Lysander), Peter de Jersey (Oberon), Joe Dixon (Bottom), Kathryn Drysdale (Hermia)Samuel Dutton (Mustardseed/Puppeteer), Mariah Gale (First Fairy /Peasblossom), Ryan Gage (Flute), Andrea Harris (Titania), Mark Hadfield (Puck) Jim Hooper (Starveling), Keith Osborn (Egeus/Fairy), Roderick Smith (Quince), Riann Steele (Hippolyta/Fairy) Zoe Thorne (Moth) and Natalie Walter (Helena). Connall Morrison's production of The Taming of the Shrew will run Feb. 12-March 7, 2009, with a press night on Feb. 17. Stephen Boxer and Michelle Gomez head the cast as the warring Petruchio and the "Shrew" Kate, with a cast that also includes Arsher Ali (Huntsman/Servant/Philip), Jade Anouka (Lady in Waiting/Servant/Nicholas), William Beck (Grumio), Keir Charles (Tranio), John Paul Connolly (Tailor), Simon Darwen (Haberdasher/Servant), Adrian Decosta (Huntsman/Servant/Nathaniel), Leonard Fenton (Vincentio), James Garnon (Curtis/Player), Amanda Hadingue (Lady/Widow), David Hargreaves (Baptista), Amara Karan (Bianca), Sean Kearns (Hortensio), Jack Laskey (Biondello), Patrick Moy (Lucentio), Will Sharpe (Bartholomew/Joseph), Peter Shorey (Gremio/Player) and Larrington Walker (Merchant).

Two new plays by Adriano Shaplin and Marina Carr will premiere at Wilton's Music Hall cast with actors from the Stratford company. Shaplin's The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes, which the author will co-direct with Elizabeth Freestone, runs from Nov. 12-Dec. 6 (with press night on Nov. 18). In this history play, set in London in 1658, the Civil War is over, the king has been executed, Oliver Cromwell has closed the theatres and the talk in the coffee houses is of revolution. Meanwhile England's most famous philosopher is poised to do battle with a faction of young scientists. The cast includes Arsher Ali, William Beck, Stephen Boxer, Keir Charles, John Paul Connolly, Simon Darwen, Adrian Decosta, Leonard Fenton, James Garnon, Amanda Hadingue, Jack Laskey, Will Sharpe, Peter Shorey, Larrington Walker and Angus Wright.

Carr's The Cordelia Dream, to be directed by Selina Cartmell, will run Dec. 11, 2008-Jan. 10, 2009 (with a press night on Dec. 16). In this two hander, a musician and his rival, a younger woman, played respectively by David Hargreaves and Michelle Gomez, are having a long-awaited conversation. As they spit their mutual malice with precision they question the hatred that has fuelled their desire to outdo each other in pursuit of art.

Public booking opens on Sept. 12. Tickets for the Novello can be booked via the Novello Theatre box office at 0844 482 5135, and for Wilton's Music Hall via the RSC ticket hotline at 0844 800 1118. For more information visit

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