Written and directed by Laurence Boswell, the 'fairytale thriller' Beauty and the Beast opens at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on 10 December 2004. The fourth family show presented by the RSC, it follows The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Secret Garden and Alice in Wonderland. Casting has to be announced.
In the previously announced All's Well That End Well, Dame Judi Dench - returning to Stratford for the first time in some 25 years - will be joined by Claudie Blakely (as Helena), Jamie Glover (Bertram) and Guy Henry (Parolles). The production, directed by Gregory Doran, runs in the Swan from 11 December 2003 to 7 February 2004 (previews 3 December), after which it will transfer to the West End's Gielgud Theatre.
And in Doran's 400th anniversary production of Othello, playing at the Swan from 18 February to 3 April 2004 (previews 11 February), Sello Maake ka Ncube's Othello and Antony Sher's Iago will be joined by Lisa Dillon (Desdemona) and Ken Bones (Brabantio). After its straight run at Stratford, the production will embark on a five-week tour of Japan.
Taking their lead from Othello, the newly formed RSC Core Ensemble embark on a repertoire of four more of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Spanish Golden Age: Shakespeare's Contemporaries
The Spanish Golden Age season in the Swan Theatre will be curated by RSC associate director Laurence Boswell (whose recent high-profile West End credits include This Is Our Youth, Up for Grabs and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg) and performed by a separate 20-strong ensemble (See The Goss, 13 May 2003). It builds on the success of the Olivier Award-winning season of rarely performed Jacobean plays, which transferred to the West End earlier this year.
New Work Festival
The aim of the New Work Festival is challenge contemporary writers "to examine the lyricism, ambition and themes of the RSC's house playwright" (Shakespeare). Dominic Cooke, drawing on his experience developing new work at the Royal Court, heads up the two-week season, which will become an annual fixture in the RSC's Stratford calendar.
Full details of the 2004 event will be released in the new year, but amongst the premiere projects already confirmed are: Poor Beck by the RSC's current, 24-year-old writer in residence Joanna Laurens (whose second play, Five Gold Rings, premieres at the Almeida in December 2003); Midwinter by former writer in residence Zinnie Harris (Further Than the Furthest Thing); and Pontius Pilate, a devised work, inspired by the book by Anne Wroe and directed by Michael Boyd.
- by Terri Paddock
See Also, Today's Other News: "Boyd Sets New Work & Tragedies for RSC Ensemble"