David Tennant, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen: The best photos from the RSC's public archive

As the RSC releases production images of over 200 shows to the public, we delve into the archives to bring you a blast from the past

The Royal Shakespeare Company have made over 3,000 images from 200 productions available to the public for free. You can view and download them here, but we've delved into the archive to bring you a glimpse of the photos now available at your fingertips.

One of the earliest shots is this one from the 1936 production of The Merchant of Venice

Photo by Ernest Daniels © RSC

This is the court scene from Ben Iden Payne's production.

Henry V leads his troops into battle in 1937

Photo by Ernest Daniels © RSC

Ben Iden Payne directed Clement McCallin as the titular character.

John Gielgud as Cassius in 1950

Photo by Angus McBean © RSC

This production of Julius Caesar was directed by Anthony Quayle and Michael Langham.

Laurence Olivier in John Gielgud's production of Twelfth Night

Photo by Angus McBean © RSC

Olivier played Malvolio in Gielgud's 1955 production.

Peggy Ashcroft as Rosalind (disguised as Ganymede) in As You Like It

Photo by Angus McBean © RSC

Glen Byam Shaw's production ran in Stratford in 1957.

Laurence Olivier stars in Peter Brook's Coriolanus

Photo by Angus McBean © RSC

Peter Woodthorpe, Robert Hardy and Harry Andrews appear in this shot of the market place from 1959.

Peter Brook's A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1970

Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC

Can you spot Ben Kingsley's Demetrius dangling in the background?

Judi Dench as Beatrice in John Barton's Much Ado About Nothing

Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC

Benedick was played by Donald Sinden in the 1976 show.

Ben Kingsley as Othello in 1985

Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC

Kingsley wore traditional Moorish costume in Terry Hands' production.

Fiona Shaw and Brian Cox in Jonathan Miller's The Taming of the Shrew

Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC

The pair played Katherina and Petruchio in the 1988 production at the Barbican.

Mark Rylance's Hamlet approaches Peter Wight's Claudius in 1989

Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC

Wight is currently playing Polonius in Robert Icke's production of Hamlet at the Harold Pinter.

Simon Russell Beale as Ariel in 1993

Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC

Sam Mendes directed this 1993 production of The Tempest.

A young David Tennant as Romeo

Photo by Robert Workman © RSC

Alexandra Gilbreath was Tennant's Juliet in Michael Boyd's 2000 production.

Hannah Barrie spits at Jonathan Slinger in Richard III

Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC

Michael Boyd's 2000 production features Barrie as Lady Anne and Slinger as Richard.

The Ninagawa Company's Titus Andronicus run in 2006pe

Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC

Yukio Ninagawa's production was described as "murderous mayhem", but the director steered clear of using stage blood

Patrick Stewart and Harriet Walter share a moment in Antony and Cleopatra

Photo by Pascal Molliere © RSC

The pair starred in Gregory Doran's production in 2006.

Sylvester McCoy, Ian McKellen and Ben Meyjes in 2007

Photo by Manuel Harlan © RSC

McKellen played the titular character in Trevor Nunn's King Lear.