The Royal Shakespeare company has today confirmed full performance dates for its previously scheduled productions of The Magician’s Elephant and The Wars of The Roses Part 1 and 2 which will now take place in Winter 2021.
The productions, which were originally due to run from October 2020 – Jan 2021, were postponed due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, which included the temporary cancellation of all RSC performances, events and other activities.
The Company fully intends to re-open the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) with new events and re-scheduled performances of The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors as soon as that proves possible. Both productions were in rehearsal and due to open in the RST this spring. Further details will be announced soon, but this remains dependent on government advice on social distancing and on whether it is financially viable for the Company to perform to audiences inside our theatres. The RSC very much hopes for positive news in the coming weeks on the reopening roadmap and on the distribution of the extremely welcome £1.57bn government rescue package for arts and culture.
Gregory Doran, Artistic Director, said: ‘While we continue to explore every opportunity to open our Stratford buildings as soon as we possibly can, ideally later this year, I am pleased to share this hopeful news of the confirmed schedule for our Winter 2021 season. Since first closing our doors back in March, we have continued to do everything we possibly can to support our audiences through lockdown and to engage and entertain our communities across the UK and beyond. Of course, nothing can or should replace the live theatre experience, which continues to be much missed by audiences everywhere. Alongside our colleagues across the industry, we can and want to play a crucial role in the recovery of the country, knowing how valuable the arts are to our collective wellbeing, whether giving strength in difficult times, helping us to tell our own stories or simply lifting the spirits for a few hours. We very much look forward to welcoming audiences back to our buildings and to share this live experience with them.
Commenting on the programme, Gregory added: “Every time the RSC mounts Shakespeare’s early history plays, they strike a powerful chord. If you want to understand the dangerous world we live in, with its divisive politics, the rise of demagoguery and the threat of despotism, then you need look no further than The War of the Roses Part 1 and 2. This ferociously vivid account of the brutal struggle for the English Crown will without doubt strike different resonances deep in its audiences’ consciousness today. I’m thrilled to be working alongside Owen Horsley once more, who I last worked with on the RSC’s King and Country cycle, to bring this dynamic story of power and corruption, saints and psychopaths, of then and now, to life afresh in a newly configured Swan auditorium in 2021.
“Meanwhile in the RST, we continue to platform the most exciting voices of today with the premiere of our new family musical, The Magician’s Elephant. Sarah Tipple will direct, who was my invaluable Associate Director on last year’s much-loved production of The Boy in the Dress, The beautifully crafted storytelling of Kate DiCamillo’s novel combined with Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler’s idiosyncratic ear for music and lyrics are the perfect marriage for this darkly comic fairytale which, at its heart, is a celebration of human imagination and the miracle of surviving adversity.”
Flexible Bookings, Exchanges and Refunds:
For bookings made throughout 2020 for future performances, audiences can book their tickets with confidence knowing that if they are unable to attend a performance for any reason, they can exchange their tickets up to 2 hours before the performance or event start time, at no extra cost.
Tickets can be exchanged for another performance with seats at the same price or for an RSC Gift Voucher which can be used as part or full payment against future ticket purchases or memberships, ether online, in person or over the telephone. RSC Gift Vouchers are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.
Unless a performance is cancelled, tickets cannot be refunded once a purchase has been made.
This policy is for performances in Stratford-upon-Avon only and for Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre in London. Terms and conditions for performances outside of Stratford-upon-Avon may vary. Similarly, the above service is not available if you book your tickets through a ticket agent or for tickets for non-RSC productions.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
The world stage premiere of The Magician’s Elephant, a new musical adaptation by Nancy Harris (book/lyrics) and Marc Teitler (music/lyrics) of prize-winning children’s author Kate DiCamillo’s novel, builds on a successful tradition of new work created by the RSC for family audiences at Christmas.
The Magician’s Elephant tells the story of orphan Peter Augustus Duchenne, who lives a frugal life in the lonely town of Baltese. Then one day, a magician conjures an elephant from the sky. The animal’s appearance sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that it changes Baltese forever. Peter is catapulted into the quest of his life, overturning everything he ever thought he knew, and discovering that happiness can come from the most unexpected places.
This new adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s heart-breaking and darkly magical children’s book by Nancy Harris (book/lyrics) and Marc Teitler (music/lyrics) will be directed by Sarah Tipple, Associate Director to Gregory Doran on The Boy in the Dress based on the novel by David Walliams. The production will feature design by Colin Richmond whose previous RSC credits include Wendy and Peter Pan and Vice Versa, with lighting by Oliver Fenwick.
The production will run from Thursday 14 October 2021 to Saturday 1 January 2022.
Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler said: ”We were hugely excited by the epic world Kate DiCamillo created in The Magician’s Elephant - its fluid, unexpected leaps, larger-than-life characters and darkly comic, fairy tale quality immediately suggested a highly musical and visual approach to the story-telling. And while we're thrilled at the prospect of creating a mesmerising theatrical experience for RSC audiences, it's the emotional truth and compassion at the heart of the story that really resonates with us and is what makes it an urgent and hopeful one for our time.”
Kate DiCamillo said: “The story of The Magician’s Elephant began, for me, with a vision of a magician on a stage conjuring an elephant — a real elephant — by mistake. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but that image of the two of them together on a stage haunted me. Imagine, then, how thrilled I am to have the brilliant Royal Shakespeare Company make that image that haunted me come to life on a stage. I wrote The Magician’s Elephant during a dark time, personally, and it seemed miraculous to me that the story could lead me through grief and to the other side of it — to love and forgiveness. I hope and believe with all of myself that this production will inspire those same feelings of love, forgiveness (and joy) in audiences.”
As the Royal Shakespeare Company continues its journey through the complete canon of Shakespeare’s work, Owen Horsley directs The Wars of the Roses with RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran, an epic event staging Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 in two performances to tell the vivid and enthralling story of the brutal struggle for the English crown.
The three Henry VI plays will be presented by one company of actors across two performances in a newly configured Swan Theatre from Friday 24 September to Saturday 1 January 2022.
The Swan Theatre auditorium will have an exciting new format for the staging of The Wars of the Roses with new grandstand seating and 100 standing arena spaces to give audiences the opportunity to immerse themselves in the action. Seating in Galleries 1 and 2 will remain unchanged. The story will conclude with Richard III, further details to be announced.
This epic journey through The Wars of the Roses will see Gregory Doran re-unite with director Owen Horsley, whose most recent productions for the RSC include a new adaptation of David Edgar’s post-war masterpiece Maydays in 2018 and a visually striking adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Salome in 2017. Owen last worked alongside Gregory between 2013-2015 as Associate Director on the critically acclaimed King and Country cycle featuring Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II and Henry V.
The Wars of the Roses will be designed by RSC Director of Design Stephen Brimson Lewis. He will be joined by Costume Designer Hannah Clark, whose recent credits for the RSC include Justin Audibert’s 2019 gender-flipped production of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. RSC Associate Artist Paul Englishby returns to compose the music with fights by Rachel Bown-Williams & Ruth Cooper-Brown.
On tour – Shakespeare for Everyone
For over a decade the RSC has been taking First Encounters productions - edited versions of the plays performed using Shakespeare’s original language - on the road into the heart of communities and they have been enjoyed by over 100,000 people to date. The work is rooted in a long-term commitment to different regions around the country made possible through deep partnerships with schools and theatres, providing pathways for young people, teachers, artists and schools to develop their skills and knowledge.
Building on the success of The Merchant of Venice in 2019, the RSC First Encounters with Shakespeare series returns with a new production of Twelfth Night directed and edited by Robin Belfield in September 2021.
The production will open in local schools before embarking upon a seven-week tour of partner schools and regional theatres across England.
This production will be created in collaboration with Creative Associates drawn from Regional Theatre Partners, our Associate Schools and our Youth Advisory Board, enabling young people to experience Shakespeare for the first time, not simply as audience members but as theatre makers too. The voices of the young people we work with is a key part of the process, with Robin Belfield and the creative team responding to their ideas, opinions and creativity. From the way the production addresses key themes that strike a chord with young lives, to the way we create the production with a determination to be as environmentally responsible as possible.
Continuing our commitment to make Shakespeare for everyone continues, all performances of Twelfth Night be ‘relaxed friendly’ performances offering a welcoming, safe environment for everyone to encounter Shakespeare for the first time.
RSC Director of Education, Jacqui O’Hanlon, said “Our national partnerships with schools and theatres are at the heart of our mission to make Shakespeare’s work with, by and for everyone. This production of Twelfth Night will take our work into communities across the country, inviting them to participate in the making of the play as well as experiencing live performance itself. We know this work creates the kinds of memories that last a life-time for children, their families and teachers. At a time when arts experiences are in jeopardy, we are looking forward to making this work in creative collaboration with children, teachers and artists across the country.”
ROYAL SHAKESPEARE THEATRE
The Magician’s Elephant
A new musical by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler
Book and Lyrics by Nancy Harris
Music and Lyrics by Marc Teitler
Thur 14 Oct 2021 – Sat 1 Jan 2022
Press performance: Tues 26 Oct, 7pm
“Magic is always impossible. That’s what makes it magic.”
Baltese is a town where nothing extraordinary ever happens. Recovering from a recent war, it is a lonely place, where young Peter lives a frugal life. Then one day, a magician conjures an elephant from the sky, whose appearance sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that it changes Baltese forever. Peter is catapulted into the quest of his life, overturning everything he ever thought he knew, and discovering that happiness can come from the most unexpected places.
This brand-new musical for all the family reminds us that even the impossible can be possible when we open our eyes and hearts to those around us
Director Sarah Tipple
Designer Colin Richmond
Lighting Oliver Fenwick
The Wars of the Roses Part 1 and Part 2
Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 told in two parts
Fri 24 Sept – Sat 1 Jan 2022 Press performances: Thu 14 Oct, 1pm (Part 1) and 7pm (Part 2)
The glorious Henry V is dead.
The new King is weak, manipulated by those on his own side and threatened with civil war by those in opposition. As the factions fight for power, England descends from decency into barbarism as all around the crown seek to seize it for their personal gain.
Filled with passion, politics and revenge, The Wars of the Roses is the ultimate saga. Experience the thrill of rebellion, the brutality of battle, the tension of intrigue and ambition without boundaries, as Shakespeare hurls you headlong through one of the most turbulent periods of English history.
The Wars of the Roses is supported by RSC Production Circle Members The Hitz Foundation and Marcia Whitaker.
Director Owen Horsley with Gregory Doran
Designer Stephen Brimson Lewis
Costume Designer Hannah Clark
Music Paul Englishby
Fights Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown