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Monday, 09 January 2012 20:58

LONDON: Royal Shakespeare Company Announces Winter 2012/13 Season and More


{module ad_left_body}HIGHLIGHTS

·        The Mouse and his Child by Russell Hoban, adapted by Tamsin Oglesby and directed by Paul Hunter - a brand new production for families in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which plays in repertoire with a new production of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor

·        ‘A World Elsewhere’ season in the Swan Theatre explores the rest of the world in Shakespeare’s time, with three world premieres:

o   The Orphan of Zhao, attributed to Ji Junxiang, adapted by James Fenton and directed by RSC Chief Associate Gregory Doran

o   Pushkin’s Boris Godunov, adapted by Adrian Mitchell and directed by Michael Boyd

o   Brecht’s Galileo, in a new translation by the RSC’s new Writer in Residence, Mark Ravenhill, and directed by RSC Associate Director, Roxana Silbert

·        Major new RSC touring and education partnership for 2012-15

o   Growing the Learning and Performance Network with five partner theatres – Hull Truck Theatre Company, Newcastle Theatre Royal, York Theatre Royal, Hall for Cornwall, Nuffield Theatre, Southampton

o   and a new Young People’s Shakespeare production of King Lear, adapted and directed by Tim Crouch, for young audiences aged 8 and upwards

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Following the World Shakespeare Festival, the RSC’s winter season opens in October with a family show - a new adaptation of Russell Hoban’s classic children’s story The Mouse and His Child. Acclaimed as one of the classics of 20th century children’s literature, The Mouse and His Child is a moving story about two clockwork mice thrown on a scrap heap who then have to begin a dangerous quest for a place to belong. It is adapted for the stage by Tamsin Oglesby and will be directed by Told By An Idiot’s Co-Artistic Director, Paul Hunter, who directed the RSC’s recent Young People’s Shakespeare production of The Comedy of Errors.

This continues the RSC’s long tradition of creating and staging new adaptations of much-loved childhood tales – including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, The Heart of Robin Hood, and Matilda The Musical, the RSC’s award-winning adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book (currently playing in the West End).

The Mouse and His Child will play in repertoire with the light-hearted Shakespeare comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor, further details of which to be announced.

Swan Theatre – ‘A World Elsewhere’ 

Meanwhile, the Swan Theatre premieres a trilogy of newly-adapted international plays, in repertoire from November, under the banner ‘A World Elsewhere’ (a quote from Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, sharply reminding Rome’s citizens that there are other countries and cultures apart from their own). Curated by Chief Associate Director Gregory Doran and Associate Director, Roxana Silbert, the ambition of the season is to explore what was going on in the rest of the world in Shakespeare’s lifetime.

Gregory Doran will open the season with a startling discovery. Sometimes referred to as the Chinese Hamlet, and tracing its origins to the 4th century BC, The Orphan of Zhao is a powerful tale of self-sacrifice and revenge. It became the first Chinese play to be translated in the West, in an adaptation by Voltaire.  This production, based in part on a version by Ji Junxiang, published in 1615, is adapted by James Fenton.

Next to Russia, and an adaptation by Adrian Mitchell of Alexander Pushkin’s play, Boris Godunov. Pushkin is thought by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the father of Russian Literature. He wrote Boris Godunov in 1825, inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Its subject is the ruthless Boris Godunov, Tsar from 1598 to 1605, who was rumoured to have murdered the Tsarevich Dmitry in order to seize power. Michael Boyd will direct what will be the culmination of a thread of Russian work he has initiated in the past few years (The Grain Store/The Drunks) and his final production as Artistic Director of the RSC before he steps down at the end of 2012. This will be the first time this adaptation has been staged.  It was Adrian Mitchell’s final project, completed before his death in 2008.

Then to Italy, for Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo, which will play in repertoire in a new translation by Mark Ravenhill, who has recently been appointed the Company’s latest Writer in Residence. Arguably, Brecht’s greatest play, Galileo explores the confrontation of religious fundamentalism and scientific evidence, through the trial of the great scientist and philosopher Galileo in 1616. Roxana Silbert will direct what will be her final production as RSC Associate Director before she takes up her new position as Artistic Director of Birmingham Rep.

And finally, in London, under the umbrella of ‘A World Elsewhere’, a spectacular Japanese epic, especially commissioned for ‘A World Elsewhere’. Anjin: The English Samurai tells the story of William Adams, the first Englishman in Japan, who was shipwrecked off the coast in 1600. He arrived at a pivotal moment in Japanese history, and became close to the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The play is a major Anglo-Japanese cultural event, co-authored by Mike Poulton and Sho Kawai and with a cast of British and Japanese actors. This production, directed by Gregory Doran, builds on a long relationship between the RSC, Thelma Holt and the Japanese media company Horipro. The production is spoken in both Japanese and English with surtitles and transfers direct from Tokyo to Sadler’s Wells, for just ten performances in January 2013.

A full range of supporting events and exhibitions will be announced in due course.

RSC touring and education partnership 2012 - 2015

From April 2012, the RSC begins a new touring and education partnership with five regional theatres: Hull Truck Theatre Company, Newcastle Theatre Royal, York Theatre Royal, Hall for Cornwall and Nuffield Theatre, Southampton

The partnership will grow the success of the RSC’s Learning and Performance Network (LPN), which currently has nearly 400 schools in areas of social and economic disadvantage, teaching Shakespeare in active ways which inspire young people.  The partner theatres will use the successful ‘hub school and cluster’ model, developed by the RSC for the LPN, to run three-year programmes with schools in Hull, Middlesbrough, York, Cornwall and Southampton, offering training, development and performance opportunities for artists, students and teachers, supported by RSC practitioners. 

It will also allow the RSC to take its work right into the heart of communities, into both schools and local theatres. Building on the success of recent Young People’s Shakespeare tours of Hamlet and The Comedy of Errors, a new RSC YPS production of King Learwill tour all five locations this autumn (dates to be announced). Adapted and directed by Tim Crouch, this latest 70-minute production will be an explosive introduction to Shakespeare for students who are least likely to access this work. As previously announced, this production will also play in New York in a collaboration with Park Avenue Armory. The RSC has been creating these edited versions of Shakespeare’s plays for young audiences aged 8 and upwards since 2008, as a way of transforming student experiences of Shakespeare.

Headline activities for the programme include:


-        Professional development of teachers and theatre staff through the RSC’s post-graduate qualification (PG Cert) in teaching Shakespeare and school-based training provided by RSC practitioners. 

-        Young People’s Shakespeare King Lear residency at partner theatre and hub school


-        All the hub and cluster schools work with the RSC and their local partner theatre on a collaborative artist-led project.


-        Each group of schools runs a local Shakespeare performance festival, hosted by the partner theatre, to share and celebrate what they’ve learnt.  Lead teachers will work with the RSC and the partner theatre to develop work which will come to Stratford as part of the RSC’s national Learning and Performance Network celebrations

Michael Boyd, RSC Artistic Director, said:

“Hot on the heels of the enormous ambition of the World Shakespeare Festival, this winter season will be my last with the RSC, although I and our team of associates will be planning further into 2013 to give my successor breathing room as they take over the helm.  ‘A World Elsewhere’ builds on our commitment to internationalism and puts great writing at its heart.  With work from some of the best classical and contemporary writers from Shakespeare, Brecht and Pushkin to Mark Ravenhill, James Fenton and Adrian Mitchell, we have shaped a season which offers provocation and celebration in equal measure.

“We open in October with our second family show in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with a playful and moving production of The Mouse and His Child, adapted by Tamsin Oglesby from the late Russell Hoban’s story, which will be a tribute to his story-telling genius. This will be Paul Hunter’s second production for the RSC, following his successful Young People’s Shakespeare production of The Comedy of Errors, which played in the repertoire of our long ensemble in Stratford, London and New York.  The Mouse and His Child will play in repertoire over the winter with a new production of The Merry Wives of Windsor

“Meanwhile, in the Swan Theatre, from November, we celebrate the world elsewhere in Shakespeare’s time, in a season curated by Gregory Doran and Roxana Silbert.  As part of this season, I will be directing Pushkin’s Boris Godunov.  Adrian Mitchell’s vivid new version has been on my desk since 2008 and I’ve been eager to explore this play by Russian’s great writer for many years.  Roxana will direct Mark Ravenhill’s powerful new translation of Brecht’s Galileo, confronting head on the clash between science and religion and the ability of new ideas to reshape the world.  Greg will direct The Orphan of Zhao, the first Chinese play known in Europe, often referred to as a Chinese Hamlet.

“I am also announcing a brand-new partnership with five leading regional theatres which will help us nurture excellence in the teaching of Shakespeare and extend our Young People’s Shakespeare ambitions to reach new audiences both inside and outside the classroom. Working with Hull Truck Theatre Company, Newcastle Theatre Royal, York Theatre Royal, Hall for Cornwall and Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, we will be able to take the RSC right into the heart of communities who wouldn’t ordinarily have easy access to our work.  We’ll also learn a lot from our partners, who are already making an extraordinary commitment to schools, Shakespeare and their own audiences.”

Vikki Heywood, RSC Executive Director, said:  “The RSC is on great form.  We had fantastic summer and winter seasons last year, with critical acclaim for two brand new productions Written on the Heart and The Heart of Robin HoodMatilda The Musical opened in the West End to a £4m advance and we’re delighted to see such an extraordinary critical and audience response, with standing ovations at every performance.  The show has already won Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards and the Theatre Awards UK in 2011 and we hope for more in 2012.  We are looking forward to an Olympic-sized summer, with the World Shakespeare Festival garnering interest from across the globe and offering audiences an exciting and diverse programme right across Britain, connecting the RSC to a world fascination with and celebration of Shakespeare.”

Teresa Threadgall, Head of Learning at Newcastle Theatre Royal, said: “This is a very exciting partnership for us and we are looking forward to working with the RSC on various collaborative projects both in the Theatre Royal and also across the communities of the North East.  It’s a great opportunity for us to build on and apply extra resource and fresh knowledge to the work we already have underway in the wider community.”

Polly Agg-Manning, Head of Education, Hall for Cornwall: “We are thrilled to be working with the RSC again. This is a fantastic opportunity for schools and for the theatre and something I am extremely proud to be doing.”



Booking information

Box Office: 0844 800 1110

Full RSC Members web booking opens Monday 27 February 2012

Full RSC Members phone booking opens Wednesday 29 February 2012

Associate RSC Members postal and web booking opens Monday 12 March 2012

Associate RSC Members phone booking opens Wednesday 14 March 2012

Public Booking opens Monday 26 March 2012

Website and social media

Follow the RSC on Twitter:  @theRSC

Follow the RSC Press Office on Twitter:  @RSCPress

And on Facebook at

Individual Production Twitter hashtags:

The Mouse and His Child - #RSCMouse

The Merry Wives of Windsor - #RSCWindsor

The Orphan of Zhao - #RSCZhao

Boris Godunov - #RSCGodunov

Galileo - #RSCGalileo

Notes to Editors

The RSC Literary Department is generously supported by The Drue Heinz Trust.

The RSC Ensemble is generously supported by The Gatsby Foundation and the Kovner Foundation.

The RSC Writer in Residence programme is generously supported by the Columbia Foundation Fund of The Capital Community.

Cross are the exclusive pen partner of the RSC in support of new writing.

The RSC Education Department is generously supported by the Clore Duffield Foundation and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.


Tamsin Oglesby

Tamsin is currently under commission to the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Hampstead Theatre.

Writing Credits include: Really Old Like 45 (The National Theatre), The War Next Door (The Tricycle), Only the Lonely (Birmingham Rep), US and Them (Hampstead Theatre), Olive (National Theatre's Shell Connections initiative), My Best Friend Hampstead Theatre / Birmingham Rep) and Two Lips Indifferent Red (Bush Theatre - optioned by Miramax).

Publications: Really Old Like 45 and My Best Friend are published by Oberon.  US and Them is published by Faber in individual volumes. Two Lips Indifferent Red is published by Faber in their Bush Theatre anthology, Lake of Rubies.

Previously Tamsin has worked as a director at the Royal Court, National Theatre Studio and extensively on the London Fringe.  She has written a number of radio plays and is currently developing one-off and series ideas for film and television.

Paul Hunter

Paul is a co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of Told By An Idiot Theatre Company.

RSC: The Comedy of Errors, Les Enfants du Paradis

Previous direction credits include: Signora Carras’ Rifles (Young Vic), Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle & Dick, Accidental Death of An Anarchist, The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Bolton Octagon), I’m A Fool To Want You, The Firework Maker’s Daughter, A Little Fantasy, Shoot Me In The Heart, I Weep at My Piano (Told By An Idiot), I Can’t Believe You Did That (Hope Street), The Opium Eaters (Brouhaha), The Underpants (Hope Street), Light is Night (Brouhaha: UK & International Tour), Ubu Roi (Kilburn Studio) and Honey Is Sweeter Than Blood (ICA).

Previous theatre credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare’s Globe), Rapunzel (Kneehigh/BAC/Tour), Under The Black Flag (Shakespeare’s Globe), Beauty & The Beast (Belgrade Theatre), The Water Engine (Young Vic / Theatre 503), Physick Lies A-Bleeding (Apothecary Hall), Oliver Twist (Lyric Theatre), The Firework Maker’s Daughter (Sheffield Crucible), I Can’t Wake Up (Told By An Idiot), The Red Shoes (Kneehigh Theatre) and Happy Birthday, Mister Deka D, Don’t Laugh – It’s My Life, You Haven’t Embraced Me Yet, I’m so Big and On The Verge of Exploding (Told By An Idiot).

Previous film and television credits include: After You’ve Gone, Absolute Power (BBC), The Only Boy For Me (Greenpoint Films/ITV1), Tunnel of Love (Thames/ITV1), Mitchell and Kenyon (BBC), Black Books (Assembly Film & TV/Channel 4), Hardware (Thames TV), Everything I Know About Men (BBC), My Family (DLT/BBC1) Music At The Close (Blink Productions), Absurd (Why Not Films), Vertical Hold (Independent) and Hanging Around (BBC).

Paul is the winner of the Jerwood Young Vic Award for Directing (2005) and of the Manchester Evening News Best Production for The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

Mark Ravenhill

 RSC Writer in Residence 2012

Mark Ravenhill is an internationally acclaimed playwright whose first full-length play, Shopping and Fucking, opened at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in 1996.

Recent works include: Mother Clap’s Molly House (National Theatre, 2001), Product (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 2005),The Cut (Donmar Warehouse, London, 2006), Citizenship (National Theatre, 2006), pool (no water) (Lyric Hammersmith, 2006), Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat (Edinburgh Festival, 2007), Over There (Royal Court /Schaubühne, Berlin, 2009), A Life in Three Acts, co-written and performed with Bette Bourne (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh / Konninklijke Schouwburg, The Hague / Soho Theatre, London, 2009 and St Ann’s Warehouse, New York, 2010), Nation adapted from the Terry Pratchett novel (National Theatre, 2009), Ten Plagues, a libretto for a new opera by Conor Mitchell (Royal Court, 2010 / Traverse Theatre 2011), Ghost Story (Playhouse: Live, Sky Arts, Riverside Studios 2010) and The Coronation of Poppea a libretto co-written with Alex Silverman (OperaUpClose, Kings Head Theatre, 2011).

Mark is currently under commission to the RSC and Hampstead Theatre and is writing a new libretto for the Norwegian National Opera. His plays are performed all over the world.

Last modified on Monday, 09 January 2012 21:01