THE RSC has unveiled its summer season for 2015 in Stratford and beyond.
Next year will feature a Venice season including The Merchant of Venice and Othello, and Arthur Miller’s modern classic Death of a Salesman, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the American playwright.
Polly Findlay will direct the Merchant of Venice – her first Shakespeare production for the RSC, and following on from her acclaimed Arden of Faversham, currently playing in the Swan Theatre as part of The Roaring Girls season.
Othello will be directed by Iqbal Khan, whose last production for the RSC was a celebrated Much Ado About Nothing set in India. After more than a decade working in film and television on projects from Star Wars to Holby City, Hugh Quarshie returns to the RSC to play the title role, with Lucian Msamati as the evil Iago.
Artistic director Gregory Doran will direct Death of a Salesman – Miller’s 1949 Pulitzer prize-winning play about failed dreams and thwarted ambition. Antony Sher will take the role of Willy Loman, the downtrodden salesman of the title.
The Swan will host three contemporary takes on classic plays exploring the idea of the ‘outsider’. Former RSC artistic director Trevor Nunn returns to direct Ben Jonson’s satirical comedy Volpone, while Justin Audibert and Matthew Dunster make their RSC directing debuts with Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta, with its themes of racism and revenge, and John Ford’s rarely-performed revenge tragedy Love’s Sacrifice.
The company will also be reaching out.
A new ‘First Encounter with Shakespeare’ tour: The Famous Victories of Henry V will visit schools and theatres across England in a new production specially for young people aged eight and upwards.
And further ahead the RSC will also be busy on A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation, which will see 13 UK partner theatres, amateur theatre-makers and schoolchildren work with the RSC on a national tour to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016.
An hour-long edit of the Dream will be released so schools all over the UK can create their own productions as part of the celebrations.
A professional RSC company will tour A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation in the spring and summer of 2016. In every location, a new group of amateur performers will play Bottom and the mechanicals and local schoolchildren will play Titania’s fairy train.
The RSC has also confirmed it will be working in partnership with the BBC for the 2016 anniversary.
Mr Doran said: “I am looking forward to a summer of great theatre. We have a fantastic programme for 2015 with some truly exciting actors and directors on board.
“We mark the Arthur Miller centenary with one of the greatest plays of the 20th century, Death of a Salesman, and we have taken Venice as a starting point for the summer season.
“We have programmed main stage work which draws on our heritage as the world’s greatest Shakespeare company, and we celebrate the Swan Theatre as the home of work by Shakespeare’s contemporaries, with powerful plays from Marlowe, Ford and Jonson, which resonate with Shakespeare’s themes and the Venice setting as they too explore the idea of the outsider.
“We are proud to be a national company with our heart firmly in the Midlands, and I’m especially thrilled that we have combined two years of touring with a really bold programme to stage A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a play with and for the nation for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016.”
Visit www.rsc.org.uk for further details.
Hugh Quarshie returns to the RSC to play Othello. (s)