Shakespeare in Winter

Jessica Harris reports on the RSC’s newly-launched winter programme.

The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced details of its Winter programme which includes a newly commissioned Tales for Winter series from Saturday 5th December to Saturday 23rd January.

Running over six weekends, Tales for Winter (Your Place or Ours), which will celebrate the essence of live theatre with mesmerising tales, both epic and intimate.

Events between Saturday 5th and Saturday 12th December will be live-streamed only. From 19th December, the RSC hopes to be able to welcome audiences back to the theatre (subject to government guidance), and plans to continue its season with both online and in-person events from then.

Launching on 5th December, the opening weekend will look back on the most recent story to be brought to life on the RSC stage, The Boy in the Dress, with best-selling children’s author David Walliams reading from his original book.

On 12th December, Troy Story, directed by Artistic Director Gregory Doran, will be streamed. Online audiences will join members of the RSC Acting Company on an epic journey through the twists and turns of ancient Troy with a dramatic re-telling of the history of the Trojan war in five parts, based on the Greek classics – The Iliad, The Odyssey and The Aeneid.

In Festive Tales on 19th and 20th December, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre plans to host a weekend of live events of music and reflection, featuring carols, songs and festive readings.

In January, there will be a weekly programme of online performances inspired by the former Children’s Laureate and best-selling author Michael Morpurgo, who will present a series of preview events inspired by his new book, Tales from Shakespeare. The programme will also include in-person and online events for schools and families, featuring titles such as Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed by members of the RSC Acting Company.

Other January highlights include a specially curated programme of Shakespeare performances by the RSC’s Next Generation ACT company and Youth Advisory Board, and a new musical concert inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

RSC’s Artistic Directory, Gregory Doran, said: “Tales for Winter is about storytelling, the most essential act of theatre. It is a reminder of where we were when we closed our doors back in March and an opportunity to look forward with hope and optimism to the future. It explores both the epic and the intimate; the majestic poetry of Ancient Greece passed down through the generations, the festive fireside tunes and tales that sustain us through the long midwinter months, the timeless plots of William Shakespeare’s plays and the quick-witted, beautifully crafted storytelling of David Walliams.”

Streamed events will be available for one week after broadcast, and full programme details for January 2021 will be announced in December.

Covid-19 safety measures will be in place for in-person events, enabling up to 200 audience members to see events whilst being socially-distanced. Information and tickets are available at: here.

Pic – Manuel Harlan/RSC.