IT HAS been a record year for The Royal Shakespeare Company in more ways than one.
At its annual general meeting on Thursday (September 24) it was revealed the company had sold more than 1.8million tickets for 28 productions and given a total of 2048 performances during the 2014/2015 season.
The company also reported a strong financial year with income of £63.9million – including public investment from Arts Council England of £15.8million.
More than 72,000 schools tickets, 19,000 family tickets and 20,000 £5 tickets for 16 to 25 year olds were sold.
It was also reported that its education programmes reached over 530,000 children and young people.
At the AGM students from Stratford College performed a verbatim theatre piece – devised by Aileen Gonsalves – which highlighted the impact of RSC Education’s work across the UK.
And it is now calling for every child to experience Shakespeare in the hope of inspiring and helping them to build confidence and language skills.
RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran said: “We know great Shakespeare teaching can inspire young people. Having had such success working with young people in the last year, we want to invite all schools across the country to join us to make 2016 a year to celebrate Shakespeare’s work with their students.
“They can mark the 400th anniversary in the classroom, by watching a free broadcast or a live performance, or taking part in our Dream Team initiative, which runs alongside our 2016 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation.
“Our successes in 2014/15 in reaching new audiences show his continuing appeal and the power of live theatre to inspire and challenge us.
As we prepare for 2016 and the biggest Shakespeare anniversary ever, we want to reach the widest possible audience, with thrilling, contemporary work – made in Shakespeare’s home town and shared across the world.”
And Stratford and China have already been making links thanks to the RSC.
Executive Director Catherine Mallyon joined the Chancellor George Osborne on a recent visit to China as the company announced details for its programme of international cultural, artistic and educational exchange.
The company also received a special ‘global icon’ award at Coventry and Warwickshire’s first Culture and Tourism Awards.
The Ricoh Arena and Coventry Cathedral were recognised while the Ricoh’s Alan Diaz received a special rising star prize.
The event was supported by Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
*DEDICATED Royal Shakespeare Company staff have been recognised for their long service.
A number of staff members were given awards for 20 or 30 years service at the company’s recent Annual General Meeting.
And company manager Michael Dembowicz and production manager Mark Graham were recognised for an impressive 40 years with the RSC.
Artistic director Gregory Doren said: “Congratulations and sincere thanks to everyone receiving their long service awards. Their skill and expertise can be seen on stages day in and day out by our audiences. They make a fantastic contribution to the RSC.”