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New outdoor Garden Theatre will allow return of RSC productions to Stratford

THE RSC will restart live performances in Stratford this summer at a specially constructed outdoor theatre in the Swan Gardens.

The Winter's Tale (45069801)
The Winter's Tale (45069801)

The first outdoor live production at the Garden Theatre will be The Comedy of Errors, directed by Phillip Breen.

The RSC has also announced that audiences will also be able to see another of its postponed major productions from 2020, The Winter’s Tale.

A filmed version of The Winter’s Tale, directed by Erica Whyman, RSC deputy artistic director, will be broadcast on BBC Four around Shakespeare’s birthday in April (transmission date TBC), and will then be available on BBC iPlayer.

The Winter’s Tale film adaptation forms part of BBC Lights Up, a season of plays for BBC TV and radio, produced in partnership with theatres across the UK.

Both The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors were due to begin performances in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in March and April last year when the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

Gregory Doran (45069790)
Gregory Doran (45069790)

Gregory Doran, RSC artistic director, said: “As we approach the anniversary of the temporary closure of theatres due to the pandemic, it is fantastic to announce future plans and look ahead to audiences returning to Stratford in the summer.

“Our doors closed as The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors were preparing to open. Both productions will now be seen by audiences one year on - The Winter’s Tale on screen into people’s homes via BBC Four and BBC iPlayer, and The Comedy of Errors opening our new Garden Theatre, where audiences can return to Stratford and see Shakespeare in the open air.

“It has been an incredibly tough year for all in the industry, including our freelance colleagues who make this industry tick. Despite having to postpone and cancel productions, we have continued to share Shakespeare online and outdoors, and support young people and teachers throughout the pandemic.

“These have and will continue to be challenging times, but we look forward with optimism. The outdoor theatre gives us the security that we can perform to good sized audiences as we emerge from the pandemic and prepare for news on the government roadmap’s ‘no earlier than’ dates.

“We’ve had extraordinary support, generosity and patience from our supporters and audiences, which has been a great source of encouragement as we have navigated the ups and downs of the year. Alongside our colleagues across the industry, we will play our part in the recovery of our towns and cities and the wellbeing of our communities, and we cannot wait to welcome audiences back.”

Dates and box office details for The Comedy of Errors will be announced in mid-April. The RSC will also reveal further programming for the Garden Theatre in the near future.

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