THE collaborative, cross-cast company is announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) productions of As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew and Measure for Measure, playing in a newly reconfigured Royal Shakespeare Theatre next summer.
All three productions will then tour in repertoire for the first time to six regional theatres in 2019 and 2020. The actors will each appear in two of the three plays performed as part of the Summer 2019 repertoire.
Gregory Doran, Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, said: “Hamlet says the point of theatre is “to hold a mirror up to Nature”. If as a young person you don’t see your reflection in that mirror, why should you engage in that cultural offer?
“So this season we have worked particularly hard to assemble a company which reflects the nation in ways it has never done before. We have introduced a 50/50 gender balanced ensemble across the entire season for the very first time and brought together talent from all corners of the diversity of Britain today and those artists that are underrepresented on our stages.
“We want to create a season of work which places contemporary audiences at its heart, which speaks directly to the present moment.”
AS YOU LIKE IT – 14th February-31st August
(Broadcast Live from Stratford-upon-Avon 17th April)
Following her roles in Dido Queen of Carthage, Julius Caesar and Antony & Cleopatra in 2017, Lucy Phelps returns to play Rosalind in Kimberley Sykes’ new production. She will be joined by David Ajao as Orlando whose previous productions for the RSC include The Merchant of Venice, Othello and Hecuba.
The full cast includes Charlotte Arrowsmith (Audrey), Patrick Brennan (Corin), Graeme Brookes (Charles/Forester), Antony Byrne (Duke Senior/Duke Frederick), Richard Clews (Adam), Tom Dawze (William), Amelia Donkor (Silvia), Laura Elsworthy (Phoebe), Sandy Grierson (Touchstone), Emily Johnstone (Amiens/Le Beau), Alex Jones (A Lord), Karina Jones (Martext), Sophie Khan Levy (Celia), Sophie Stanton (Jaques), Aaron Thiara (Jaques de Bois/Dennis) and Leo Wan (Oliver).
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW – 8th March-31st August
(Broadcast live from Stratford-upon-Avon on 5th June)
Claire Price will play Petruchia and Joseph Arkley will play Katherine in Justin Audibert’s reimagined staging of The Taming of the Shrew and will do so among a cast where women play the roles written as men and men play those written as women.
The full cast includes Charlotte Arrowsmith (Curtis), Hannah Azuonye (Pedant), Melody Brown (Vincentia), Richard Clews (Grumio), James Cooney (Bianco), Amelia Donkor (Hortensia), Laura Elsworthy (Trania), Amanda Harris (Baptista), Emily Johnstone (Lucentia), Alex Jones (Haberdasher), Alexander Mushore (Servant), Michael Patrick (Tailor), Sophie Stanton (Gremia) Aaron Thiara (Servant of Petruchia) Amy Trigg (Biondella) and Leo Wan (Widower).
MEASURE FOR MEASURE – 28th June-29th August
(Broadcast live from Stratford-upon-Avon on 31st July)
Sandy Grierson, who took on the roles of Faustus and Mephistopheles in Maria Aberg’s 2016 production of Dr Faustus, will play Angelo in Gregory Doran’s new staging of Measure for Measure.
Following his performance as Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, Antony Byrne returns to play The Duke. They are joined by Lucy Phelps in the role of Isabella.
Full casting for Measure for Measure includes David Ajao (Pompey), Joseph Arkley (Lucio), Hannah Azuonye (Lady), Patrick Brennan (Abhorson/Friar Thomas), Graeme Brookes (Mistress Overdone/Barnadine), Melody Brown (Justice), James Cooney (Claudio), Tom Dawze (Froth), Amanda Harris (Provost), Karina Jones (Sister Francisca), Sophie Khan Levy (Mariana), Alexander Mushore (Gent), Michael Patrick (Elbow), Claire Price (Escalus) and Amy Trigg (Juliet).
Look out in a few weeks for my review of As You Like It.