Politics to take centre stage

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Peter Schrank's cartoon of former PM Tony Blair will feature in the RSC exhibition.

SHAKESPEARE’S plays have long shaped the way we understand and engage with contemporary politics, and nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the works of political cartoonists.

Celebrating more than two centuries of political cartoons inspired by Shakespeare, and to coincide with its forthcoming Rome season, the Royal Shakespeare Company opens a new free exhibition, Draw New Mischief, from Saturday, 25th February, in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s PACCAR room.

The exhibition will include historical works from key political moments in time such as the 1846 cartoon The Fall of Caesar, showing Prime Minister of the day, Robert Peel, who had just been forced to resign, as Caesar being murdered by his former allies.

It runs until 15th October.

Alongside the exhibited works, the Royal Shakespeare Company has commissioned five current cartoonists to create new works that use Shakespeare’s Rome plays to respond to political events happening during the time of the exhibition.

These new cartoons will be produced and exhibited over the period of the exhibition from February 2017.

The commissioned artists are Steve Bell, one of the Guardian’s chief cartoonists; Christian Adams, a political cartoonist at the Telegraph; Ann Telnaes a political cartoonist at the Washington Post; Victor Ndula, a political cartoonist for the Kenyan national newspaper the Star; and Lorna Miller, a political cartoonist whose work has appeared in Private Eye and the Morning Star.