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Monday, 12 November 2012 20:36

Public Theater Partners with RSC and GableStage on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA

The Public Theater

THE PUBLIC THEATER,
MIAMI’S GABLESTAGE,

THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY 
TO PRESENT A RADICAL NEW EDIT OF

SHAKESPEARE’S

ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA

Directed and Edited by Tarell Alvin McCraney,

This International Collaboration Will Premiere at
Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2013
Before Engagements in Miami and New York in January 2014

November 12, 2012 – The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) announced an international collaboration today between Miami’s GableStage and the Royal Shakespeare Company to present Tarell Alvin McCraney’s radical new staging of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA. Directed and edited by McCraney, ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA will premiere at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Stratford-upon-Avon home in November 2013 before coming to the United States to play at Miami’s GableStage at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in January 2014 followed by The Public Theater in late January 2014.

McCraney is an artistic associate at the Royal Shakespeare Company and as part of his RSC residency in 2010 he was asked to create a radical new edit of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. He responded to the challenge by stripping down the text, reordering the scene structure and relocating the play. A Miami native, McCraney premiered his critically acclaimed plays The Brothers Size and The Brother/Sister Plays at The Public Theater in 2007 and 2009.

The cast for this new production of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA will be a mix of actors from the UK and the U.S., and will be set in the late 1700s against the backdrop of Saint-Domingue, on the eve of the Haitian Revolution against the French, bringing to light vivid historical parallels with the story of Antony and Cleopatra.  Casting will take place in London, New York and Miami for the show. (The actors will be appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and UK Equity).

“Taking this equal parts tragedy equal parts history and setting it in the budding racial politics of the New World, a history ripe with pirating and battles over loyalty, we heighten the forbidden and passionate love affair between the conqueror, Antony, and colonized, Cleopatra,” said Tarell Alvin McCraney.

“This is a thrilling partnership of theaters, who have come together to support one of America’s most exciting young artists as he takes on one of Shakespeare’s most powerful plays,”  said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “We know we will be working with Tarell for many years to come and we hope to continue to collaborate with our British colleagues in the RSC deep into the future; and we are delighted to welcome GableStage and Miami into our artistic lives.  This is a partnership created for all the right reasons, and we expect wonderful results.”

“I am delighted that we are able to continue our collaborations with some of the most exciting theatre makers in the U.S. and follow the U.S. openings of Julius Caesar and Matilda The Musical in spring 2013 with this new co-production of Tarell’s Antony and Cleopatra with GableStage and The Public Theater,” said RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran. “Tarell was an inspirational writer in residence with us and I’m so pleased that we are able to work with him and such great American theatre companies on a new project, presented in collaboration with The Ohio State University, who’ve recently become our presenting partner in the U.S.  I hope audiences on both sides of the Atlantic will enjoy this radical relook at a familiar story.”

"GableStage is genuinely thrilled to be involved in a collaboration with two of the leading presenters of Shakespeare's plays in the world. With Miami's own Tarell Alvin McCraney at the helm, providing an innovative and exciting edit of Antony and Cleopatra, we believe this project will be a transformative event for South Florida Theatre,” said Joseph Adler, GableStage Producing Artistic Director. “We are especially pleased that, in addition to performances for our subscribers and single-ticket buyers, we will be doing 10 special morning performances, enabling almost 20,000 Miami-Dade County Public School students to see this production free of charge."

TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY’s play The Brothers Size first premiered at The Public’s Under the Radar Festival in 2006 and was followed by a Public Lab production in 2007. His complete trilogy, The Brother/Sister Plays (comprised of: In the Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet), was produced at The Public in 2009. For the Royal Shakespeare Company, he was the RSC/ CAPITAL CENTRE Warwick International Playwright in Residence in 2009-2011 and is now an artistic associate. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Tarell is an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theater Company and in residence at New Dramatist Center in New York.  For the RSC he co-edited/directed the Young People's Shakespeare production of Hamlet, and wrote a new full-length play for the RSC’s acting ensemble, American Trade. His other plays include Choir Boy, Wig Out, and Head of Passes, which will receive its world premiere in 2013 in Chicago. McCraney was the recipient of London's Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright 2008, the inaugural New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award 2009 and the 2009 Steinberg Award. 

ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY is one of the best known theatre companies in the world, the RSC connects people with Shakespeare and aims to produce bold, ambitious work. As well as Shakespeare, its repertoire includes classical plays and new work by contemporary writers.  It is an ensemble company, with everyone from directors, writers and actors to production, technical and administrative staff playing their part in creating distinctive theatre.  The RSC’s home is in Stratford-upon-Avon and in 2010 the Company reopened the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres after a £112.8m transformation to bring actors and audiences closer together. The RSC also plays regularly in London, Newcastle upon Tyne and on tour across the UK and the world.  The RSC has a deeply held commitment to the development of theatre artists. It also runs a major education programme, working with schools and teachers to inspire a life-long love of Shakespeare in young people, and devises events and exhibitions for everyone to explore and participate in its work. The RSC celebrated its 50th birthday in 2011 and, in 2012, produced the biggest celebration of Shakespeare ever staged, the World Shakespeare Festival, as part of London 2012 Festival for the Cultural Olympiad.

GABLESTAGE is one of the leading theater companies in the Southeastern United States. The company produces a six-play mainstage season that has earned its reputation for presenting adventurous and challenging work by contemporary playwrights worldwide. Located in the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables since 1999, GableStage is led by Joseph Adler, Producing Artistic Director, now in his fifteenth season. Under his leadership, GableStage has been the recipient of 50 Carbonell Awards (South Florida’s annual theater awards) and 175 Carbonell Nominations, as well as winning the Carbonell Award for Best Play seven times and Best Musical Carbonell Award twice. GableStage’s touring productions of Shakespeare's plays have been seen by more than 1 million Miami-Dade County Public School students since the company was founded as Florida Shakespeare Theatre in 1979. GableStage is a non-for-profit organization committed to maintaining a leading voice for theater in the community and proactively providing opportunities for South Florida’s most gifted actors, directors, designers and technicians to develop their craft at the highest level.

ABOUT THE PUBLIC THEATER’S DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION

Completed in October 2012, the revitalization of The Public Theater’s downtown home at Astor Place physically manifests the Company’s core mission of sparking new dialogues and increasing accessibility for artists and audiences by dramatically opening up its landmark building to the street and community, and transforming the lobby into a public piazza for artists, students, and audiences. Designed by Ennead Architects and constructed by Westerman Construction, the project encompasses enhancements to the building’s interior and exterior while preserving the historic structure. Key elements of the design include infrastructure updates to the 158-year old building, as well as construction of new exterior entry stair and glass canopy; installation of ramps for improved accessibility; an expanded and refurbished lobby; the addition of a mezzanine level with a new lounge, The Library, designed by the Rockwell Group; expansion and remodeling of restroom facilities; and comprehensive exterior restoration, ensuring stability of the landmark façade.


ABOUT THE PUBLIC THEATER AT ASTOR PLACE

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public Theater is the only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare and the classics, musicals, contemporary and experimental pieces in equal measure. The Public continues the work of its visionary founder, Joe Papp, by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, and leading and framing dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day.  Creating theater for one of the largest and most diverse audience bases in New York City for nearly 60 years, today the Company engages audiences in a variety of venues—including its landmark downtown home at Astor Place, which houses five theaters and Joe’s Pub; the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to its beloved, free Shakespeare in the Park; and the Mobile Unit, which tours Shakespearean productions for underserved audiences throughout New York City’s five boroughs.  The Public’s wide range of programming includes free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company’s dedication to making theater accessible to all, new and experimental stagings at The Public at Astor Place, and a range of artist and audience development initiatives including its Public Forum series, which brings together theater artists and professionals from a variety of disciplines for discussions that shed light on social issues explored in Public productions.  The Public Theater is located on property owned by the City of New York and receives annual support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.  www.publictheater.org

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