RSC’s winter season promises magic

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The RSC has announced details of its Winter 2016 Season this morning.

New productions of King Lear, Cymbeline and The Tempest will run from September at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Meanwhile The Swan Theatre celebrates its 30th anniversary year by revisiting two of its original first-season productions, The Two Noble Kinsmen by Shakespeare and Fletcher, and The Rover by Aphra Behn. Also running will be a a new work by award-winning playwright Anders Lustgarten, The Seven Acts of Mercy.

An undoubted highlight will be the new production The Tempest, which is being created as the company’s festive family show, and promises to be a sensational multi-media affair employing computer-generated imagery (CGI) and other special effects.

The Tempest will be directed by Gregory Doran, the RSC’s artistic director and will star Simon Russell Beale as the sorcerer Prospero.

Computer giant Intel and digital special effects company Imaginarium Studios (which is part owned by Gollum actor Andy Serkis) are working with the RSC on The Tempest.

Speaking of the production, Greg said: “Inspired by the spectacular masques of Shakespeare’s day, we have set ourselves the challenge of creating the most technologically advanced production we have ever staged in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, working with Intel and The Imaginarium Studios.  We will blend ancient theatre skills with innovative digital technology to conjure up Prospero’s island, inhabited by fantastical characters, in Shakespeare’s most magical late play The Tempest.”

He continued: “I cannot think of a clearer way of showing the ‘infinite variety’ of Shakespeare’s work and the inspiration he has provided over the centuries. Shakespeare is for everyone and we want to share his legacy with the widest possible audience.  His inheritance is for the many, not the few.”

Greg also directs King Lear, with his partner, Antony Sher, taking the lead role. The actor’s last performance at the theatre was as Willy Loman in Greg’s production of Death of a Salesman, which Greg has likened to Shakespeare’s Lear tragedy.

For more on the RSC’s Winter Season, see this Thursday’s Herald.