For the first time the Royal Shakespeare Company will tour three productions in repertoire to six regional theatres, playing for two weeks in each venue.  As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew and Measure for Measure will visit Salford in September 2019, and then Canterbury, Plymouth, Nottingham, Newcastle upon Tyne and Blackpool in early 2020.  Performance dates at the end of the release.

The productions originally open in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, running between February and August 2019.

The company will feature 27 actors, who will each appear in two of the three productions.  As You Like It is directed by Kimberley Sykes, The Taming of the Shrew by Justin Audibert, and Measure for Measure by RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran.  Set design for all three productions is by Stephen Brimson Lewis, Director of Design for the RSC.

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said: “We have worked hard to assemble a company of actors which reflects the nation in ways it has never done before. Featuring a 50/50 gender balanced ensemble, we have brought together talent from all corners of the United Kingdom, reflecting both the ethnic, geographical and cultural diversity of Britain today and those artists that are underrepresented on our stages. We want to create a season of work which places contemporary audiences at its heart, which speaks directly to the present moment.”

Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director, added: “We want as many people as possible to see our work, and we really believe Shakespeare should be for everyone, so taking plays around our nation is an essential part of what we do. I’m delighted that this new tour will give audiences the chance to see not just one production, but our wonderful company of actors in three very different plays.  My Romeo and Juliet is currently making its way around the UK, as is our award-winning Matilda The Musical, and later this year we will take our First Encounters with Shakespeare production of The Merchant of Venice into regional theatres and schools, ensuring we are a truly national theatre company.”

AS YOU LIKE IT
Following her roles in Dido Queen of Carthage, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra in 2017, Lucy Phelps returns to play Rosalind in Kimberley Sykes’ production of As You Like It. She will be joined by David Ajao as Orlando whose previous productions for the RSC include The Merchant of Venice, Othello and Hecuba. 
The full cast includes Charlotte Arrowsmith (Audrey), Patrick Brennan (Corin), Graeme Brookes (Charles/Forester), Antony Byrne (Duke Senior/Duke Frederick), Richard Clews (Adam), Tom Dawze (William), Amelia Donkor (Silvia), Laura Elsworthy (Phoebe), Sandy Grierson (Touchstone), Emily Johnstone (Amiens/Le Beau), Alex Jones (A Lord), Karina Jones (Martext), Sophie Khan Levy (Celia), Sophie Stanton (Jaques), Aaron Thiara (Jaques de Bois/Dennis) and Leo Wan (Oliver).
Stephen Brimson Lewis will design the set for As You Like It with Bretta Gerecke designing both costumes and lighting in a first for the RSC. Music is composed by Tim Sutton, with sound by Jonathan Ruddick and movement by Ayse Tashkiran. Fights by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown. Puppetry Director and Co-Designer,  Mervyn Millar.

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
Claire Price plays Petruchia and Joseph Arkley plays Katherine in Justin Audibert’s reimagined staging of The Taming of the Shrew and will do so among a cast where women play the roles written as men, and men play those written as women. 
The full cast includes Charlotte Arrowsmith (Curtis), Hannah Azuonye (Pedant), Melody Brown (Vincentia), Richard Clews (Grumio), James Cooney (Bianco), Amelia Donkor (Hortensia), Laura Elsworthy (Trania), Amanda Harris (Baptista), Emily Johnstone (Lucentia), Alex Jones (Haberdasher), Alexander Mushore (Servant), Michael Patrick (Tailor), Sophie Stanton (Gremia) Aaron Thiara (Servant of Petruchia) Amy Trigg (Biondella) and Leo Wan (Widower).
The set for The Taming of the Shrew is designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis with costume design by Hannah Clark and lighting by Matt Peel. Music is composed by Ruth Chan, sound by Claire Windsor, and movement by Lucy Cullingford. Fights are by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE
Sandy Grierson, who took on the roles of Faustus and Mephistopheles in Maria Aberg’s 2016 production of Dr Faustus, will play Angelo in Gregory Doran’s staging of Measure for Measure. Following his performance as Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, Antony Byrne returns to play The Duke. They are joined by Lucy Phelps in the role of Isabella.
Full casting for Measure for Measure includes David Ajao (Pompey), Joseph Arkley (Lucio), Hannah Azuonye (Lady), Patrick Brennan (Abhorson/Friar Thomas), Graeme Brookes (Mistress Overdone/Barnadine), Melody Brown (Justice), James Cooney (Claudio), Tom Dawze (Froth), Amanda Harris (Provost), Karina Jones (Sister Francisca), Sophie Khan Levy (Mariana), Alexander Mushore (Gent), Michael Patrick (Elbow), Claire Price (Escalus) and Amy Trigg (Juliet).
The set and costumes for Measure for Measure are designed by RSC Director of Design, Stephen Brimson Lewis, with lighting by Simon Spencer. Music is composed by Paul Englishby. Sound is by Steven Atkinson, and fights are by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown.

Grand Theatre Blackpool
Wednesday 25 March – Saturday 4 April 2020
Box Office: 01253 290190
www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk
On sale: 5 February 2019
 

For further information please contact:
Dean Asker, RSC Press Office
01789 412660, 0778 9937759
dean.asker@rsc.org.uk

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