Spring and summer season at the Royal Shakespeare Company features productions of Hamlet, Cymberline and Don Quixote with David Threlfall as Don Quixote and Rufus Hound as Sancho Panza.
The Stratford-upon-Avon venue will also play host to A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play For The Nation which will feature 14 amateur companies from every nation and region of the UK that will opens at the RSC in February before embarking on a nationwide tour.
The summer season continues with Hamlet (March 12-August 13), Shakespeare’s most famous and complex play, in a searing new production directed by Simon Godwin, with Paapa Essiedu in the title role.
Paapa Essiedu was last at the RSC playing Fenton in Philip Breen’s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Shakespeare’s romance, Cymbeline, moves into the main theatre from April 29.
Cymbeline rules a divided Britain. When Innogen the only living heir, marries her sweetheart in secret, Cymbeline banishes him. Distracted by Innogen’s marriage, Cymbeline is blind to the actions of a powerful figure behind the throne who is plotting to seize power by murdering them both.
Christopher Marlowe’s tale of vanity, greed and damnation, Doctor Faustus, comes to the Swan from February.
Faustus is a brilliant but embittered academic, a solitary scholar who has exhausted the confines of human knowledge. Frustrated with the futility of religion, law and science, he is desperate for a deeper understanding of the universe – and the worldwide fame it will bring him.
Risking everything, he conjures the demon Mephistopheles and asks him to strike a deal with Lucifer; twenty four years of absolute knowledge and infinite power in exchange for his soul.
Don Quixote, adapted by James Fenton from the novel by Miguel de Cervantes and, directed by Angus Jackson, also runs in rep from February.
After a lifetime of reading books on chivalry, Don Quixote decides to embark on a quest of his own and sets out to become a wandering knight, defending the helpless and vanquishing the wicked.
Hopelessly unprepared and increasingly losing his grip on reality, he travels across Spain with his faithful and equally ill-suited squire. With each calamitous adventure they experience, the romantic ideal of Quixote’s books seems further away than ever.
The season ends with Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist, directed by Polly Findlay, running from May.
When London is hit by an outbreak of the plague, the wealthy Lovewit flees to the country, leaving his townhouse in the hands of his trusted butler, Jeremy.
But no sooner has his master left, than Jeremy begins turning the house into a den of criminal activity.