At a Press Conference in London today, the Royal Shakespeare Company announced its five-year strategy and its Winter 2013 season. The headline announcement was that David Tennant will return to the RSC to play Richard II in their 2013 Winter Season. The news, though exciting to hear officially, had been circulating for some time. Richard II will be a short six-week run in Stratford from 10th October until 16th November. The production then transfers to the Barbican from 9th December until 25th January 2014.
Looking at reactions to the news on Twitter and other Social Media, the casting news has been very well received and it signals a change of direction from the Michael Boyd years. There was some relish in the announcement that David Tennant would be returning to the RSC, rather than a sense of playing down his celebrity status and attempting to focus on ensemble as a core value. Clearly there will be anxieties around managing the booking process, the returns’ queue and managing the back stage experience again with Tennant’s return to Stratford, but that does provide the RSC with media stories that they can feed out during the run to keep themselves in the public eye. The shift from RST to Barbican will mean a move from the thrust stage to the proscenium arch. There seems to be no desire to want to replicate your theatre in another building here. In addition, the return to the Barbican reminds me of previous RSC seasons at the Barbican and that the promise of a London home might be closer. However, I am not so fixated on the London home because I have to travel a distance to both Stratford and London, though I am aware this will be good news for others.
Another announcement today was that Shakespeare’s plays won’t go on in the Swan for the immediate future. Instead the Swan will be the home for Shakespeare’s Contemporaries. This sounds like an exciting plan, and I look forward to future Swan productions, but as King John and Richard III were such a success last year, I was hoping for one or two Shakespeare productions in the Swan. Indeed, I had hoped that maybe Richard II would have gone into the Swan. It would work so well in the small intimate space. Though the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is supposed to be an intimate space, I sometimes feel dwarfed by the height of the stage, and its size, especially when it is over busy as in the Shipwreck season.
Furthermore, Greg Doran also announced that as part of his five-year strategy was to do the whole canon in five years. Will I finally get to see Two Noble Kinsmen at the RSC? It’s the last of my complete works.
Further Information RSC Press release