RSC delivers new musical and Wars of the Roses for winter 2020


A new musical and The Wars of the Roses come to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) this winter, the company has just announced.

The Magician’s Elephant, a new musical adaptation by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler based on the international, best-selling novel by Kate DiCamillo, and directed by Sarah Tipple will run at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 29th October to January 2021.

In the Swan Theatre, Owen Horsley and Gregory Doran will co-direct The Wars of the Roses Part 1 and Part 2 – which will be Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 told in two parts. This runs from 10th October to 2nd January 2021.

Meanwhile the RSC First Encounters with Shakespeare series returns in September with a new production of Twelfth Night, directed and edited by Robin Belfield.

The Magician’s Elephant tells the story of orphan Peter Augustus Duchenne, who lives a frugal life in the lonely town of Baltese. Then one day, a magician conjures an elephant from the sky. The animal’s appearance sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that it changes Baltese forever. Peter is catapulted into the quest of his life, overturning everything he ever thought he knew, and discovering that happiness can come from the most unexpected places.

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said: “When I became Artistic Director, I wanted to stage every Shakespeare play in the canon once. We are more than two thirds of the way through that journey, which will conclude at the end of 2021.

“We began with Richard II in 2013, developing the History cycle with the two Henry IVs and Henry V. We played all four shows as one cycle in London and New York, and took the productions to China, the first time the plays had ever been performed there. This journey now continues with The Wars of the Roses, our two-part staging of Shakespeare’s epic history cycle which he wrote as Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3. If you want to understand the dangerous world we live in, with its divisive politics, the rise of demagoguery and the threat of despotism, then you need look no further than Shakespeare’s early history plays.

“The beautifully crafted storytelling of Kate DiCamillo’s The Magician’s Elephant and the mischievous comedy of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Robin Belfield ensure that Shakespeare’s spirit of interrogation, invention and creativity is alive and well in the most exciting creative voices of today.”

For more on this story and the Herald interview with Gregory Doran, see Thursday’s newspaper.