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Arthurian Tale Has Stage Premiere After 500 Years

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More than 500 years on, Morte d'Arthur, Thomas Mallory’s 15th-century literary epic about the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, will receive its stage premiere this summer care of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where it has been years in development.

The piece – adapted by Mike Poulton and directed by RSC chief associate Gregory Doran – will run in rep from 17 June to 28 August 2010 (previews from 11 June) at the Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, with Sam Troughton (currently starring as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet) as Camelot’s renowned ruler.

Troughton is joined in the cast by Forbes Masson as Merlin, Jonjo O'Neill as Launcelot and Kirsty Woodward as Guenever, as well as other members of the RSC’s current ensemble: Joseph Arkley, David Carr, Dyfan Dwyfor, Noma Dumezweni (Morgan Le Fay), Christine Entwisle, Mariah Gale, Gruffud Glyn, James Howard, Richard Katz, Debbie Korley, Dharmesh Patel, Peter Peverley (Mordred), Patrick Romer, David Rubin, Oliver Ryan, Simone Saunders and James Traherne.

Morte d'Arthur will be staged in three distinct acts over one evening. It’s designed by Katrina Lindsay, with lighting by Tim Mitchell, music by Adrian Lee, movement by Struan Leslie and puppetry by Steve Tiplady.

Speaking about the project, Doran said: “Malory wrote it whilst in prison during the time of the Wars of the Roses. It was printed by Caxton in 1485, and Shakespeare would have known of the work. This epic has therefore been at the centre of our culture for over 500 years, and it’s a project that’s been around at the RSC for a long time.” Warned by director John Barton that a dramatisation of the text would be “completely impossible”, Doran decided to go ahead.


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