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Staff Report

LONDON, 23 June 2006—Launched on Shakespeare’s birthday, 23 April 2006, The Royal Shakespeare Company is currently hosting a year-long Complete Works Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon. It is the first time that all of Shakespeare’s plays and poems have been staged at the same event and comprises 23 RSC shows, 17 international productions and 14 by UK-based visiting companies.

Highlights include:

Patrick Stewart and Harriet Walter in Antony and Cleopatra, Merry Wives, a new musical adaptation of The Merry Wives of Windsor starring Judi Dench.

Nothing Like The Sun – The Sonnet Project: a new project curated by Gavin Bryars featuring Shakespeare’s sonnets set to music by contemporary musicians

Shakespeare on Film: A free series of films shown on an outdoor screen on the banks of the River Avon, curated by film critic and presenter, Mark Kermode

Debate: A year long series of Broadside debates tackling the issues raised in Shakespeare’s plays from language, sex, film, Englishness, faith, war and the supernatural. Speakers include the Archbishop of Canterbury; Fay Weldon; former MP Chris Smith; Roy Hattersley and Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk.

New York-based theatre company, Tiny Ninja Theater, performs Hamlet for the first time in the UK using an inch-high cast of small, plastic ninja figurines

The controversial Compagnia Pippo Delbono from Italy performs the UK premiere of Enrico V, inspired by Henry V. Involving cabaret, comedy, music and dance, the cast will include a chorus of non-professional actors

Teatr Piesn Kozla (Song of the Goat Theatre) from Poland, presents its current work in progress, based on Macbeth

Anglo-Kuwaiti director Sulayman Al-Bassam directs a Pan-Arab version of Richard III focusing on Saddam Hussein’s early days as a secular Arab hero before he murdered his way through the Ba’ath party.

The Berliner Ensemble - which inspired the creation of the modern RSC - presents its production (first staged in 2000) of Richard II directed by the company's artistic director, Claus Peymann

Cardboard Citizens applies its unique brand of theatre to Shakespeare's supposedly unfinished text Timon of Athens

RSC founder, Sir Peter Hall, makes a welcome return to Stratford after an absence of nearly 11 years, with his first UK production of Measure for Measure staged by his own company

Yellow Earth in association with Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre gives King Lear a modern spin in its bilingual (English and Mandarin) production

Chekhov International Theatre Festival in association with Cheek by Jowl performs its all-male Russian version of Twelfth Night

Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) continue their relationship with the RSC and present their UK premiere of The Merchant of Venice with Academy Award-winner F. Murray Abraham as Shylock.

Production dates, a full programme of other events including: talks and demonstrations with actors, directors and RSC practitioners; debates; live music; backstage tours; workshops and family and schools events are available from http://www.rsccompleteworks.co.uk/ or from the RSC Ticket Hotline: (44) 0870 609 1110.


Selected from an extensive collection of recordings made by the British Library Sound Archive, The Essential Shakespeare Live: The Royal Shakespeare Company in Performance  offers scenes and speeches from Shakespeare productions of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Previously unavailable, the twenty extracts cover a period of over four decades of Shakespeare performances, from Laurence Olivier as Coriolanus in 1959 to Judi Dench in All's Well that Ends Well in 2002. The two-CD set with printed texts of the extracts also includes Wars of the Roses from 1963, Peter Brook's King Lear with Paul Scofield, and John Barton's Richard II with Richard Pasco and Ian Richardson. Other notable actors represented include Peggy Ashcroft, Alan Howard, Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, Alan Rickman, Anthony Sher, Donald Sinden, Robert Stephens, Patrick Stewart, Janet Suzman, and David Warner. £15.95


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