The Royal Shakespeare Company's recent season of five rarely performed Elizabethan and Jacobean plays will transfer to the West End's Gielgud Theatre next month for a limited seven-week season. The plays - Edward III, Eastward Ho!, The Roman Actor, The Island Princess and The Malconent - will run in repertory from 5 December 2002 to 25 January 2003.

The 28-strong company for the season - presented by RSC associate director Gregory Doran and, unusually for the RSC, produced in the West End by Bill Kenwright and Thelma Holt - is led by Antony Sher (pictured), David Rintoul, Claire Benedict and Joe Dixon. The period pieces originally ran together as a collective from April to July 2002 from at the Swan Theatre in Stratford, where they were highly acclaimed.

In the West End, Dominic Cooke's production of The Malconent by John Webster and John Marston opens the season on 5 December. It's joined: from 10 December by John Fletcher's The Island Princess, directed by Doran; from 13 December Philip Massinger's The Roman Actor, directed by David Hunt; from 17 December by Shakespeare's own Edward III, directed by Anthony Clark; and finally, from 20 December by Lucy Pitman-Wallace's production of Eastward Ho! by George Chapman, Ben Jonson and John Marston.

Currently at the Gielgud, Robin Lefevre's production of Brian Friel's Afterplay - starring Penelope Wilton and John Hurt - is booking up to 1 December 2002. The Dublin Gate transfer opened in the West End on 19 September 2002 (previews from 10 September).

- by Terri Paddock