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RSC announces 2021 winter season and plans for staging shows this year

The company's plans will also depend on government guidelines and strategies for reopening

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre
© RSC, photo by Sara Beaumont

The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced its plans for both staging shows later this year and its 2021 winter season.

The venue's programme for late 2021 will open with brand new musical The Magician's Elephant in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, running from Thursday 14 October 2021 to Saturday 1 January 2022. Penned by Nancy Harris (book/lyrics) and Marc Teitler (music/lyrics), the piece is directed by Sarah Tipple with design by Colin Richmond and lighting by Oliver Fenwick.

The show is adapted from prize-winning children's author Kate DiCamillo's novel, and follows a young boy, Peter, who is conjured from the sky.

In the Swan Theatre, the company will present Shakespeare's The War of the Roses plays (created from Henry VI parts one, two and three) in two parts from Friday 24 September to Saturday 1 January 2022. Directed by Owen Horsley with Gregory Doran, they will have design by Stephen Brimson Lewis, costume by Hannah Clark, music by Paul Englishby and fight choreography by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown.

As part of its "Shakespeare for Everyone" series, a new production of Twelfth Night directed and edited by Robin Belfield will head out on tour from September 2021.

In a statement, the company also said that it "fully intends to re-open the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) with new events and re-scheduled performances of The Winter's Tale and The Comedy of Errors as soon as that proves possible". Both shows, which were ready for staging when the lockdown began, will be mounted before the end of the year if it proves financially viable to do so.

Plans for the summer of 2021 are to be announced.

The company added: "The RSC very much hopes for positive news in the coming weeks on the reopening roadmap and on the distribution of the extremely welcome £1.57bn government rescue package for arts and culture."

Artistic director Gregory Doran said: "‘While we continue to explore every opportunity to open our Stratford buildings as soon as we possibly can, ideally later this year, I am pleased to share this hopeful news of the confirmed schedule for our Winter 2021 season.

"Since first closing our doors back in March, we have continued to do everything we possibly can to support our audiences through lockdown and to engage and entertain our communities across the UK and beyond. Of course, nothing can or should replace the live theatre experience, which continues to be much missed by audiences everywhere."

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