The Royal Shakespeare Company is marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016 with a far-reaching national and international programme of productions and collaborations, celebrating the world’s most famous playwright.
Highlights include a live broadcast on BBC2, on Shakespeare’s birthday of April 23, the company’s first major tour to China next February and a return to New York in March 2016.
At Stratford-upon-Avon RSC associate artist, David Tennant will host the live TV broadcast.
There will be a full repertoire of Shakespeare productions, including Antony Sher playing King Lear, alongside plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries in the Swan Theatre and free family events taking place in and around the RSC’s theatres throughout the year.
In London King And Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings plays at the Barbican Theatre from November to January when all four of Gregory Doran’s productions of Richard II, Henry IV Parts I & II, and Henry V play in repertoire for the first time, with most of the original cast.
The RSC and Barbican Cinemas will host ‘RSC Shakespeare on Film’ alongside the season, celebrating classic productions from the archives while Matilda The Musical continues to perform at the Cambridge Theatre.
Nationally, in February, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation, begins a unique tour of every UK nation and region, in collaboration with 13 partner theatres.
Amateur companies selected from each of these places will join the RSC core cast to play Bottom and the Mechanicals, alongside local school children playing Titania’s fairy train.
The production plays in Stratford-upon-Avon at the start and end of the tour, culminating in June with Midsummer celebrations across the town. The entire project will be broadcast for Inside Out on BBC1.
Every school in the UK is being invited to be part of the RSC’s Dream Team 2016 by staging their own production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The RSC will provide schools with a free one-hour edit of the play, a specially-composed score and other supporting resources. The Dream Team will culminate in special celebrations in Stratford and across the UK from Midsummer’s Day to the end of term.
The RSC is making an historic tour in February to the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, Shanghai Grand Theatre and Hong Kong Arts Festival with Henry IV Parts I & II and Henry V.
It kicks off a 10 year cultural exchange collaboration with translations of Chinese classics into English and performance-based translations of Shakespeare’s plays into Chinese, starting in the rehearsal room of Henry V.
In America the Brooklyn Academy of Music will host King and Country from March to April with all four History plays – Richard II, Henry IV Parts I & II and Henry V.