The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) today released details of its Spring 2022 activity including Shakespeare returning to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage and the announcement of a ground-breaking national new writing project.
The Company re-affirmed its commitment to co-create theatre online, onstage and in classrooms as part of a nationwide Royal Shakespeare Community, working with over 200 Associate Schools and 12 regional theatre partners.
Michael Balogun and Akiya Henry play Benedick and Beatrice in a new production of Much Ado About Nothing directed by Roy Alexander Weise. Roy makes his RSC debut following the phenomenal success of Nine Night, Master Harold and the Boys (NT) and The Mountaintop. His production will be a futuristic take on humanity’s capacity for change, and for love.
Gregory Doran and Owen Horsley direct Henry VI: Rebellion followed by Wars of the Roses directed by Owen Horsley in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with a fresh new take on Henry VI Parts 2 & 3. The plays tell the story of a nation in crisis and recovery sharply resonant with our times today.
Henry VI: Rebellion; RSC Actors to perform alongside 96 members of the Royal Shakespeare Community including young performers from the RSC’s Next Generation Act young company, adults from RSC Shakespeare Nation participation programme and emerging professional performers.
37 Plays – an ambitious project to get the nation writing to create a new ‘Complete Works’. Working with the Company’s 12 regional theatre partners across the country, 37 Plays will invite new works by and for the nation celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s first folio.
First Encounters with Shakespeare: Twelfth Night chosen and created in collaboration with the RSC’s Associate Schools and regional theatre partners and guided by the concerns of young people. Touring communities nationwide in 2022.
RSC research with children and young people tells us that an education that includes arts and cultural subjects teaches critical thinking and increases emotional resilience.
450 young Shakespeare Ambassadors recruited – working with RSC Youth Advisory Board members at a regional and national level to develop arts rich schools and communities
Free and on demand for schools; Michael Morpurgo’s Tales from Shakespeare; including four new titles King Lear, Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Henry V & free school broadcast of Much Ado About Nothing announced.
Erica Whyman, Acting Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, said: “As we look beyond the pandemic with renewed confidence, we are clear what the Royal Shakespeare Company stands for. We play an important role in the UK’s creative and economic recovery, but we can only do that because we make theatre with an amazing range of young people and adults up and down the country.
This coming Spring is a celebration of working in collaboration, with our brilliant world-class artists, regional theatre partners, our nationwide network of Associate Schools, our Youth Advisory Board, and all the audiences we serve.
I have long admired Roy Alexander Weise and we look forward very much to his fresh take on the redemptive Much Ado About Nothing. Then we continue our journey through the canon with a double-bill of Henry VI Rebellion and Wars of the Roses, Shakespeare’s most audacious state-of-the-nation plays, created in a ground-breaking collaboration with young people and adults.
This commitment to making theatre with the nation is even more vividly expressed in 37 Plays – the most ambitious, public writing project in the Company’s history. After this last eighteen months, we all have a story to tell, and working together with our resilient theatre partners up and down the country we will set out to encourage everyone to find their voice. And we begin to look forward to 2023 when we will celebrate two remarkable collections of plays, Shakespeare’s First Folio, and the comedies, tragedies and histories of our time”
Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director added: ‘As we continue our recovery from the pandemic, and face head on the challenges that have arisen as a result, we look forward with optimism as we continue to create extraordinary experiences for and with people in Stratford-upon-Avon, in theatres and local communities around the country, in London and online.
‘We know that audiences hold our Swan Theatre in deep affection, and we are taking the opportunity of this moment of phased reopening to undertake some essential capital works during 2022 to the theatre. We need to stabilise the ceiling, ensure compliance of key equipment, and improve the environmental impact of the electrical infrastructure. We also hope to increase physical accessibility and refresh seating to improve audience comfort and will undertake this work during the spring and summer of 2022’.
‘We are very grateful to be able to look to the future thanks to the loan from the Culture Recovery Fund, the funding of Arts Council England and the generous support of thousands of donors and our sponsors. It is very much the start of our recovery and, as we make ambitious plans for 2022 and beyond, the support of our funders and partners for this work is vital and appreciated.’