TRIBUTE was paid to two giants of the RSC at the company’s AGM which also hailed the success of the year marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
In the past year the company has said farewell to founder Peter Hall, and former chairman Sir Christopher Bland, and their achievements were highlighted by artists director Gregory Doran and executive director Catherine Mallyon
They said: “Since Peter Hall founded the RSC in 1961, we have been driven by a belief that Shakespeare is for everyone. Peter knew that a deep engagement with Shakespeare’s work could be transformational and conveyed his passion through everything he did with and for the company. We mourn his death and pay tribute to his extraordinary achievements.
“We also lost Sir Christopher Bland earlier this year, a figure who presided over the company’s more recent transformation. His dedication to the company was total, and it came with enormous intellect and great good humour.
They also reflected on a highly successful year on and off stage for the RSC. The success was reflected financially with overall income for the charity reaching £69.1million, with 2.7million tickets sold worldwide.
They added: “Our artistic programme in the last year, marking Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, has reflected that passion and we have reached more people than ever before, including a 12 per cent increase in day visits to our Stratford home. We have looked back at our theatre-making history with our wonderful family-friendly The Play’s The Thing exhibition in our recently restored Victorian Swan Wing and we have looked forward to the future, pushing theatrical boundaries with our ground-breaking production of The Tempest in collaboration with Intel and in association with Imaginarium Studios.
“Chinese actors have performed our new translations of King Lear and Henry V to audiences in Beijing and Shanghai. RSC actors thrilled New Yorkers with our ‘King & Country’ cycle.
“And children from Blackpool to Margate introduced their parents to Shakespeare’s work through their own performances, as part of our education programmes.
“Our ticket offers have allowed young people to attend for a fiver and we have continued to lead the way in welcoming the widest possible audience, with our ‘relaxed’ and BSL semi-integrated performances.
“We are a truly national company, with our heart in the Midlands and a collaborative hand extended to regional theatres, schools, artists and audiences everywhere.
“We are very grateful to everyone who has supported our work in this special year.”
The company’s most successful ever production at the box office, Matilda the Musical, continues to delight audiences around the world, and has now been seen by 7million people. It has also won 86 international awards.
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