Chipo Chung is feminist leader Dido, Queen of Carthage at the RSC

The Rome Season at The Royal Shakespeare Company climaxes this September with Dido, Queen of Carthage, Marlowe’s dark tale of sacrifice and passion.

Directed by Kimberley Sykes this untold story of one of history’s greatest female leaders begins previews in the RSC Swan Theatre.

Playing Dido, the founder and first Queen of Carthage, is Chipo Chung.

Most recently Chipo has been at the Sheffield Crucible in Robert Hastie’s production of Julius Caesar playing Portia/Octavius.

Other theatre credits include Boys will be boys (Headlong/Bush Theatre) and The Haunting of Hill House (Liverpool Everyman).

Her TV credits include Thirteen (BBC), From Darkness (BBC) and Fortitude (Sky Atlantic).

Sandy Grierson returns to the RSC following the 2016 production of Doctor Faustus to play Aeneas.

His other theatre credits include the critically acclaimed Anything that gives off light, which was part of the Edinburgh international Festival.

Aeneas is a refugee in exile, fleeing a war-torn Troy and seeking new roots in Europe.

Shipwrecked in Carthage, the meddling gods intervene and they fill Queen Dido with all-consuming love for Aeneas.

The lovers must decide whether to follow their hearts or fulfil their political destinies. Dido, overwhelmed with passion, is propelled to her terrifying final act.

Director Kimberley Sykes said: “Dido is a play about a successful woman, powerful, in control, independent and foreign.

“She was a threat to the future of Rome, of the West, so she had to be destroyed, erased from history.

“It is an extraordinary story rarely told. And in our current climate of shutting down borders, fear of the ‘other’ and distrust of the people in power, I want to explore the play’s potent themes of human behaviour and political agendas”. 

Casting also includes: Ellie Beaven, Will Bliss, Andro Cowperthwaite, Nicholas Day, Waleed Elgadi, Ben Goffe, Kim Hartman, Amber James, Laura Kirman, Tom Lorcan, Tom McCall, Miles Mitchell, Lucy Phelps, Bridgitta Roy, Johnson Willis and Daniel York.

Dido, Queen of Carthage runs in the Swan Theatre from September 15 to October 28.

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