The Royal Shakespeare Company will focus its programming in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon over the coming year, with the Swan Theatre and The Other Place remaining closed until 2022.
This Winter, small-scale socially distanced performances will take place in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and be streamed into homes. The Company will also stage free outdoor activity and plans to reopen its West End hit, Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre, London as soon as it is financially viable.
The announcement comes as formal consultation begins with the RSC’s permanent workforce, and the Company recognised trade unions and staff representatives. The consultation process is a result of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and covers a range of proposals from redundancies to changes in terms and conditions of employment. Although the final number of redundancies will not be known until the end of the formal consultation process,158 people are currently in roles at risk. Through redeployment into existing and newly created roles, together with voluntary redundancy, the RSC hopes to reduce the number of people leaving the Company due to compulsory redundancy to below 90, at most a 17% reduction in the workforce. The consultation is expected to conclude in early December.
With the end of the Company’s free, outdoor Summer performances, the RSC will stage a programme of live performances in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in December and January. The events will see the return of socially distanced, reduced capacity audiences to the RST for the first time since March, with events being streamed to enable people further afield to take part. Full details will be announced at the beginning of November.
Planning also continues for the full re-opening of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Spring 2021 with full-scale productions of The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors, when it is hoped that social distancing restrictions will be eased.
The production of The Magician’s Elephant, due to open in November 2021, is planned to go ahead as announced in the RST. Tickets are currently on sale. The new family musical, based on Kate DiCamillo’s novel, is directed by Sarah Tipple with music and lyrics by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler.
The ongoing closure of the Swan Theatre means that The Wars of the Roses Parts 1 & 2, which had already been rescheduled from this autumn until autumn 2021, will now be delayed, hopefully to open in 2022. The staging of the three parts of Shakespeare’s Henry VI will be performed as a landmark event alongside Richard III journeying headlong through one of the most turbulent times of English history.