The Royal Shakespeare Company is to return to Camden’s Roundhouse in November to present a repertoire of plays including Romeo And Juliet, Antony And Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and King Lear.
The season of shows, which also includes two productions – Hamlet and The Comedy Of Errors – aimed at young theatregoers, is presented by an ensemble of 44 actors who have been working on the productions since January 2009. It will hope to recreate the Laurence Olivier Award-winning success of The Histories, which played at the Roundhouse in 2008.
Speaking about the season, RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd said: “It is great to be returning to the Roundhouse where we had such success with The Histories cycle in 2008. London audiences will be able to see our ensemble in full flight – 44 actors pushing each other to set the bar of their achievements higher. From work of great emotion, elemental chaos and haunting tragedy, to moments of subversive wit and unabashed clowning, they have responded to a repertoire encompassing the broadest scope of human experience. When they touch down at the Roundhouse in our specially built auditorium in November it will mark a significant highpoint two years into their journey together.”
Romeo And Juliet, which stars Sam Troughton and Mariah Gale as the world’s most famous lovers and is directed by Laurence Olivier Award-winner Rupert Goold, opens the Roundhouse season. Darrell D’Silva and Kathryn Hunter play another set of lovers in the Boyd-directed Antony And Cleopatra. Boyd also directs pastoral comedy As You Like It.
Former Lyric Hammersmith Artistic Director David Farr transfers two productions, The Winter’s Tale and King Lear, in which Greg Hicks plays the aging monarch. Hicks also takes the title role in Julius Caesar, directed by Lucy Bailey, whose production of Macbeth recently showered audiences in gore at Shakespeare’s Globe.
The RSC London season will see a thrust stage constructed at the Camden venue, with a 750-seat auditorium wrapped around it, recreating the configuration of the RSC’s Courtyard theatre in Stratford, where the plays originated.
Speaking about the performance space, RSC Executive Director Vikki Heywood commented: “We are delighted to be reinstating our 750 seat ‘Roundyard’ auditorium inside the central columns of the Roundhouse which was such a sensational space for the Histories. This specially-constructed auditorium replicates our temporary theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, The Courtyard Theatre, which is itself a prototype for the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre due to open in late 2010. The intimate auditorium wraps the audience around three sides of a thrust stage, bringing everyone really close to the action.”