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3rd Jul, 2022

Shakespeare connecting to younger audiences - RSC annual review

Ian Hughes 17th Nov, 2016 Updated: 17th Nov, 2016

SHAKESPEARE is increasingly connecting with younger audiences.

The Royal Shakespeare Company latest annual review shows the percentage of theatre-goers aged 16 to 44 who attended a performance in the past year was up a third. Those attending a production for the first time was also up a third in the year in which the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death was commemorated.

The company has been making a concerted effort to break down the barrier to the Bard – essentially how the plays were previously taught in the classroom – which has turned so many schoolchildren off Shakespeare.

That has included the highly popular free Schools’ Broadcasts – with three Shakespeare productions, supported by live Q&As with the creative teams – reaching 35,000 pupils in their classrooms across the country.

The company also continued to provide a positive first experience of Shakespeare to over 530,000 children in 1,800 schools through the RSC Education programmes.

And the company’s decade-long Learning and Performance Network continued to thrive with 11 regional theatres and over 500 primary, secondary and special schools in areas of disadvantage helping boost pupil confidence and engage hard to reach students – all with a little help from the Bard.

Artistic director Gregory Doran said: “As we celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare, never has he been more relevant.

“We are proud that this year we have shared his work and influence with a wider audience than ever before, giving more people the opportunity to be connected with his words.”

The RSC reached a global audience of over 6million through performances, events, activities, day visits, in cinemas, schools and online – which all helped towards another successful year financially.

Overall turnover income totalled £81.3million – up from £61.8m in the previous year. It was largely the result of the contniuing phenomenal success of Matilda the Musical as the show opened in Australia.

Box office revenue increased to £35.1m, trading income to £24.2m and fundraising to £3.7m.

The company produced 28 productions and co-productions, including seven Shakespeare plays and four new plays, which played in Stratford, London, on tour across the UK and around the world. In total 2.8m tickets were sold worldwide for 2,487 performances.

Executive Director Catherine Mallyon said: “We have had a successful year, buoyed by strong box office, commercial and philanthropic income, and the extraordinary phenomenon which is Matilda The Musical.

“All these factors have allowed us to invest in a broad, rich and contemporary body of work, which has drawn in new and more diverse audiences around the country and across the world.

“This has only been possible as a result of strong partnerships with artists, theatres, cultural organisations, schools, sponsors, supporters and investors who have brought their creative talents to bear on our shared mission to ensure Shakespeare is for everyone. We thank them all for their huge contribution.”

Visit www.rsc.org.uk/annual-review to read the full report.

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