THE RSC marks the 600th anniversary of Agincourt as part of its winter season.
Artistic director Gregory Doran’s continues through Shakespeare’s Histories with Henry V, with Alex Hassell, who played Prince Hal in Henry IV Parts I and II, taking the title role of the monarch who led England to victory in the Battle of Agincourt. The production runs from September 12 to October 25.
The season will also see a return of Jonathan Munby’s production of Ella Hickson’s Wendy & Peter Pan as the family Christmas show. It runs from November 17 to January 31.
Two new plays premiere in the Swan Theatre.
Hecuba by Marina Carr, directed by Erica Whyman (September 17 to October 17), is a re-imagining of Euripides’ tragedy based on Queen Hecuba, wife of King Priam of Troy and mother of Hector, Paris and Cassandra. Erica Whyman will direct this re-imagining of Euripides’ great tragedy,
Fast forward to the 18th century, and Queen Anne by Helen Edmundson, directed by Natalie Abrahami (November 19 to January 23) tells the story of another queen, Queen Anne, and her very close relationship with the Duchess of Marlborough.
Staying in the 18th century, William Congreve’s Love for Love, directed by Selina Cadel (October 28 to January 22)
is the first RSC staging of the Restoration comedy in which love for love is stronger than love for money.
And further ahead in 2016, Antony Sher will be taking to the RST in the title-role of King Lear.
Mr Doran said: “Our winter season pits love against war. We mark the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt with Henry V, continuing our journey through Shakespeare’s History Plays and exploring Prince Hal’s new-found power and responsibility as King of England, following the death of his father, King Henry IV.
“Taking a look at conflict through other eyes, we have commissioned Marina Carr to write a play about the defeated queen, Hecuba, wife of King Priam of Troy and mother of Hector, Paris and Cassandra. Erica Whyman will direct this re-imagining of Euripides’ great tragedy, which considers what price we are prepared to pay for victory.
“We will follow this in the Swan Theatre with two fascinating plays, celebrating the 18th Century. First is the extraordinary story of another queen, Queen Anne, and her very close relationship with the Duchess of Marlborough. Helen Edmundson weaves a tale of secrets and intrigue in her new play, directed by Natalie Abrahami.
“Queen Anne will play in repertoire with William Congreve’s Love for Love, directed by Selina Cadell. We have never performed this before – and indeed have only ever staged one Congreve play. I am delighted we continue to use the Swan stage to bring lesser-known classics to a contemporary audience.
“I am also very pleased that we are finally getting underway with the reinstatement of The Other Place. We are delighted to have been awarded an Arts Lottery grant of £3m. Thanks to this generous grant and the support of a number of key donors, we aim to reopen The Other Place as part of our 2016 programme, marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. We have also announced a new collaboration with the University of Birmingham and their Shakespeare Institute. We have had a long and happy association with the Institute and this new arrangement will bring their students closer to our creative teams and help make our R&D programme sing.
“We want to make Stratford the most exciting destination in the UK for audiences of all kinds in 2016 and this marks a key moment on that journey, along with the restoration and new exhibition planned for the Swan Wing.
“Meanwhile, we have a rich programme for 2015. I am rehearsing Death of a Salesman, with Antony Sher, Harriet Walter and Alex Hassell, which opens in April to mark the centenary of Arthur Miller’s birth. We are coupling this with King Lear in 2016, with Antony Sher playing both tragic leads.
“Death of a Salesman is without doubt, in my mind, the greatest American play of the 20th Century. One of the reasons I feel justified in presenting this greatest of American tragedies in our main house on Shakespeare’s Birthday this year, is that it sits in its rightful place on our stage alongside Shakespeare’s greatest works. By linking it with King Lear, in sequence, with the same leading actor, and director, we assert that. After the success of Dominic Cooke’s production of The Crucible in 2006, I am delighted to be presenting Arthur Miller on the RST stage in this centenary year.”
Visit www.rsc.org.uk for full details.