Merry Wives The Musical’s mooted transfer would precede the London arrivals of King Lear and The Seagull, starring Ian McKellen and directed by former artistic director Trevor Nunn, both of whom are returning to the RSC after absences of more than 15 years (See News, 23 May 2006). King Lear, which starts performances on 24 March 2007, is the final production in the RSC’s year-long Complete Works Festival. It continues in rep with The Seagull (from 17 April) in Stratford’s temporary Courtyard Theatre until late June, after which it embarks on a national tour including dates in the US. Once that concludes, it should at last be London bound, perhaps in late 2007 or early 2008. Current artistic director Michael Boyd promises that his mammoth Histories cycle will also be mounted in the capital. The two-and-a-half year project culminates in Stratford in December 2007 when all productions will be up and running in the Courtyard, a single 35-strong company performing the complete cycle - eight plays, totalling 24 hours of Shakespeare - for the first time in the RSC’s history. The RSC last staged the cycle in 2000/1, although with multiple companies, theatres and directors. This time, one company performs all eight plays all under Boyd’s direction. Londoners should have their shot at experiencing the marathon in spring 2008.