Six full-scale productions will transfer from the company’s Stratford-upon-Avon season: Rupert Goold’s production of Romeo and Juliet, artistic director Michael Boyd’s productions of Antony and Cleopatra and As You Like It; The Winter’s Tale and King Lear, both directed by David Farr; and Julius Caesar, directed by Lucy Bailey. There will also be two Young People’s Shakespeare Productions (YSP) of Hamlet and The Comedy of Errors, created especially for children’s and families.
The ensemble of actors who will bring the plays to London have been working together in Stratford since January 2009. They include: Greg Hicks (whose parts include the title roles in King Lear and Julius Caesar), Mariah Gale (Juliet), Sam Troughton (Romeo), Darrell D'Silva (Antony), Kathryn Hunter (Cleopatra), Noma Dumezweni, Geoffrey Freshwater, Forbes Masson, Jonjo O'Neill and Whatsonstage.com Best Actress Award winner for the Histories, Katy Stephens.
The RSC will once again construct a specially-built thrust stage with a 750-seat auditorium wrapped around it, within the columns of the iconic Roundhouse. The auditorium emulates Stratford’s temporary 1000-seat Courtyard Theatre where the productions originated and which is the template for what will be the new configuration of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage, due to reopen in late 2010.
The London openings schedule for the six full-scale productions is: Romeo and Juliet on 2 December (previews from 30 November); Antony and Cleopatra on 10 December (previews from 8 December); The Winter’s Tale on 16 December (previews from 14 December); Julius Caesar on 10 January (previews from 6 January); As You Like It on 17 January (previews from 13 January); and King Lear on 25 January (previews from 21 January). The productions have been developed throughout their time in the repertoire and are revised and re-rehearsed with each revival in Stratford, Newcastle, London and finally for next year’s residency in New York.