Richard III and All’s Well That Ends Well round off ten years of work at the RSC
The RSC has announced the final two plays that will complete the current decade-long run-through of the entire canon of Shakespeare’s plays.
Richard III will run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 23rd June to 8th October.
While All’s Well That Ends Well brings the cycle to an optimistic end when it runs at the RST from 16th August to 8th October.
Gregory Doran directs Shakespeare’s final instalment of the vivid and enthralling story of the brutal struggle for the English crown, Richard III. This premiere features Arthur Hughes in the title role of Richard following his RSC debut in Wars of the Roses in spring.
Actor Arthur is best known for his roles as Ryan McDaniel in supernatural Netflix series The Innocents, Ruairi Donovan in BBC Radio 4 series The Archers, and was most recently seen in Jack Thorne’s Channel 4 care-home drama Help with Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham; he also has a wealth of West End stage performances under his belt.
Arthur, who was born with radial dysplasia, which means he has no thumb or radius bone on his right arm and that his right wrist is slightly disfigured, said of playing the iconic king: "It’s no exaggeration to say that playing Richard at the RSC is a dream come true. Richard is the most murderous and charismatic character in Shakespeare's plays, and… he’s disabled! I’m thrilled not only to be playing this title role at the RSC, but also that a major production of this play is putting disability centre stage. It’s sadly rare in many plays to find a leading disabled character, and with this production I hope we prove that disabled talent deserves to be in the spotlight."
Taking the directing helm of All’s Well That Ends Well is Blanche McIntyre, last at the RSC directing Titus Andronicus. No casting has been announced but the production promises to be for the social media generation and explore themes of romantic fantasy, toxic masculinity and consent.
Blanche said: “I am so excited to have the chance to direct Shakespeare’s most modern comedy at the RSC. All’s Well that Ends Well, as full of grief and nostalgia as romance and adventure, with its story of sexual politics, class prejudice and generation gaps, would always have felt contemporary. But the fantasy relationships and fake identities in the play make it a perfect match for our anxious, idealistic, lonely, social-media-addicted age.”
Announcing the season this week, the company also said it would be putting on a First Encounters production of Twelfth Night aimed at seven to 13-year-olds in the autumn. Directed by Robin Belfield it will be performed in Stratford in November.
Other activities announced includes the RSC’s partnering with global entertainment platform TikTok to create content to inspire the next generation of theatre audiences as well as offering them discounted theatre tickets.
More details of how people can participate in 37 Plays initiative have been released as the company go on a nationwide search of budding creatives to tell new stories in 2023, the 400th anniversary of the publication of the First Folio.
See this Thursday’s Herald for more details of the summer season and new activities.