The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced casting for its upcoming Henry VI Part One: Open Rehearsal Project, which invites online audiences inside the full rehearsal process of the production from today (1 June) until 18 June.
The process culminates in a live rehearsal room run-through of the play which will be broadcast live on 23 June at 7pm and available on demand until midnight on 25 June.
The cast is led by Mark Quartley as King Henry VI, alongside Jamie Ballard (Talbot), Michael Balogun (Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York), Mariah Gale (Margaret), Mark Hadfield (Winchester) and Amanda Harris (Exeter).
The company also includes: James Cooney (Alencon), Marty Cruickshank (Reignier), Oliver Johnstone (Suffolk), Mimî M Khayisa (Somerset), Anna Leong Brophy (Burgundy), Chris Middleton (Duke of Gloucester), Lily Nichol (Joan la Pucelle), Bridgitta Roy (Warwick), Liyah Summer (Bastard of Orleans) and Jamie Wilkes (Charles, the Dauphin).
Directed by Owen Horsley, the production features music by Paul Englishby, movement by Polly Bennett and fights by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown.
Taking place every weekday from today, the daily schedule is:
10-10.30am Take part in a warm up
12-1.30pm Watch actors grapple with the text and put the play on its feet live from the rehearsal room (45-90 min sessions)
6-6.30pm Watch the company chat in the Green Room and ask them your questions
RSC artistic director Gregory Doran said: "Emerging from the pandemic, we know we can reach world-wide audiences through our work online. We also know that there's a strong appetite from those who can't join us in Stratford but want to feel part of the RSC.
"This project opens up the process of theatre-making to audiences like never before. It's a voyage of discovery, which we hope will yield some perhaps surprising insights into the ways plays get rehearsed, and give the opportunity for anybody to benefit from the training that exists here at the RSC, growing their own skills or just discovering something new."
Director Owen Horsley added: "We will not be taking Henry VI Part One into a theatre for a live audience but who knows, maybe one day will be able to offer both – an open rehearsal and then an opportunity to step into the theatre to see the production that you witnessed being made. As we return to the act of making theatre again in person, I think it is a great moment to rethink how we do that."