The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced its 2010 Newcastle Season, which includes new productions of Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra and a brand new adaptation of Hamlet for young people. All of the productions will be performed at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. Hamlet will also tour to local schools.

The residency runs from 28 September to 16 October, and the production will be performed by the same 44 actors in the company who performed in the Newcastle season last year.

Romeo and Juliet
Tuesday 28 September to Saturday 2 October

Robert Goold directs Sam Troughton and Mariah Gale as Romeo and Juliet in the classic tale of two people falling in love. Impulsively they marry in secret, but in a divided city their innocent union is threatened by a bloody family feud.

Mariah Gale played Ophelia opposite David Tennant in Gregory Doran’s Hamlet which was screened on BBC1 on Boxing Day. Her credits include Celia in As You Like It and the Young People’s Shakespeare Comedy of Errors.

Sam Troughton’s other credits in the current RSC repertoire include The Winter’s Tale and Julius Caesar.

Mariah and Sam, in conversation with us, are excited by the challenges the new season will bring. Currently in rehearsals, they commented that there was a buzz around the company with the forthcoming opening of the new theatre in Stratford.

The change to the ensemble for the forthcoming season is also adding a new dynamic to the group.

The promised that the new production would bring something different, with Romeo and Juliet occupying a “different space” to the rest of the cast in regards to a contemporary or traditional style for the new production.

When asked if they were nervous about taking on such iconic roles, Sam admitted it was both exciting and daunting. Whilst everyone has an opinion and knows the roles of Romeo and Juliet, Sam admitted he was learning more about the characters has the rehearsal process progressed. Mariah agreed and appreciated audiences would turn up with their own ideas of the characters and this was something for them to challenge.

King Lear
Tuesday 5 October to Saturday 9 October 2010

David Farr directs Greg Hicks and Kathryn Hunter as Lear and the Fool respectively.

Greg Hicks played Leontes in The Winter’s Tale and the title role of Julius Caesar.

RSC Associate Artist Kathryn Hunter joined the ensemble in the summer of 2009 and has performed in two new plays for the company, The Grain Store and A Tender Thing.

Greg Hicks was keen to talk about the title role, a daunting prospect following in some mighty footsteps. He admitted Lear was a wonderful play but was stretching him to an extreme level like no other role.

He explained that Lear was an emotional and intense role, much harder then any other he’d taken on.

Hicks also revealed that Hunter would be playing the Fool as a male and was thrilled at playing opposite her.

Antony and Cleopatra
Tuesday 12 October to Saturday 16 October 2010

RSC Artistic Director, Michael Boyd, directs his third production with the RSC’s current ensemble.

Darrell D’Silva and Kathryn Hunter play the title leads in the tale of desire and duty.

D’Silva’s other current roles include Mark Antony in Julius Caesar.

Hamlet
Friday 8, Saturday 9 October at 10.30am and 11.00am

This brand new version of Hamlet has a running time of 70 minutes, condensed to provided an ideal first experience to Shakespeare for 8 to 11 year olds and perfect for families.

Dharmesh Patel showed clear enthusiasm for the production when asked about the new version for young people.

He explained the spine of the story remains the same and some classic scenes have had to go, including the scene made famous last year by David Tennant holding a skull.

The production is aimed at younger people and as such, Dharmesh explains, is more visual then verbal. Yet Dharmesh admitted that he was surprised by the level of understanding from the children who had already seen the production (currently on tour), proving that the condensed version wasn’t losing any of its meaning.

The RSC 2010 Season appears at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle from 28 September to 16 October 2010. Tickets can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21. For more information go to