Erica Whyman, Acting Artistic Director, has announced details of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s artistic programme for 2023.
In the year which marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the RSC will present a series of new artistic commissions which address the question of power, who holds it, who should, how does it change human beings, how might power shift and what could be transformed in our world as a result.
The season will feature ambitious re-imaginings of six Shakespeare titles led by a fresh slate of directors, four of whom will present work in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre for the first time.
The season includes five titles that would have been lost forever if the First Folio had not been published in 1623 and a new production of Hamlet, chosen by Next Generation Act, the RSC’s young company for talented young people from backgrounds under-represented in the arts.
The Tempest, Julius Caesar, Cymbeline, As You Like It and Macbeth will run consecutively from January to October 2023 in a break from the Company’s usual repertory model.
Public booking for The Tempest, Julius Caesar and Cymbeline opens on Monday 17 October. Tickets for As You Like It and Macbeth will be available from early 2023.
The RSC will also mark the official opening of submissions for its nationwide playwriting project; 37 Plays which will create a living folio of bold new work which captures the stories of our nation now.
Running in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from Thursday 26 January to Saturday 4 March, the season opens with Elizabeth Freestone’s The Tempest; an elemental tale of resource wars, revenge and renewal. Alex Kingston will return to the Company to play Prospero alongside Offie award-winning actress Jessica Rhodes, who makes her debut with the Royal Shakespeare Company playing Miranda.
Making his RSC debut is The Stage Debut award-winner (2019) and UK Theatre award-nominated Director Atri Banerjee with a visceral new production of Julius Caesar. The production premieres in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from Saturday 18 March to Saturday 8 April.
From there, the production will visit nine venues across the country including RSC Partner Theatres, marking the beginning of an ambitious three-year programme to expand the reach of our national touring footprint and place co-creation with the communities we serve at the heart of our theatre-making, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Venues include The Marlowe Theatre Canterbury, Hall for Cornwall, Truro, The Alhambra, Bradford, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, The Grand Theatre, Blackpool, Theatre Royal, Nottingham, Theatre Royal, Norwich, Theatre Royal in York and The Lowry, Salford.
The production will also feature a Community Leaders Chorus made up of six women from each location on the UK tour. The chorus will be recruited from their local communities, with a particular focus on female ‘Community Leaders’ such as teachers, support workers, campaigners, church leaders, volunteers and other women of influence. A local Musical Director will also be recruited at each venue to work with their group. The participants will work closely with professional RSC practitioners to develop their own leadership and other transferable skills and to explore in greater depth the nature of what makes a good leader today.
Gregory Doran (RSC Artistic Director Emeritus) will direct his 50th production for the Royal Shakespeare Company with a new staging of William Shakespeare’s dark fairytale Cymbeline.
Described as “one of the great Shakespearians of his generation” [Sunday Times], the production will mark a personal milestone for Gregory, who, in 2023, will complete his journey to direct every Shakespeare play featured in the first folio . The production will open on Saturday 22 April, ahead of the weekend of Shakespeare’s Birthday and runs until Saturday 27 May in the RST. Cymbeline is supported by ICBC (London).
This will be followed by Olivier award-nominated director, writer and dramaturg Omar Elerian’s playful and provocative take on Shakespeare’s joyous summertime comedy; As You Like It, which
In July 2023, Paul Ainsworth will direct the RSCs young company of 13-18 year olds recruited from across the country, to present their interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
In this abridged version, they will explore the unstable state of Denmark through the eyes of the younger generation in the play and how the actions of those in power effect the inheritors of the nation.
Award-winning director and site-specific theatre-maker Wils Wilson completes the line-up with a thrilling new interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The production will open in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Autumn 2023. Dates to be announced in, and on sale from, February 2023.
The RSC is the permanent home to one of the most significant Shakespeare and theatre collections in the world, with materials spanning from the 1600s to the present day. Among the highlights of the collection is a copy of the First Folio, one of only 234 surviving copies of the collection of Shakespeare’s plays published in 1623 that exist today.