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The RSC’s new Winter 2020 programme

Kicking off an exciting programme of in-person and live-streamed events is the official launch of The Boy in the Dress cast album, plus Troy Story and Festive Tales.

  • The Boy in the Dress: a celebrationofficial launch of the cast album with David Walliams & Guy Chambers, live streamed from the RST, Sat Dec 5
The Boy in the Dress production photos, 2019: Toby Mocrei (Dennis) and company. Photo by Manuel Harlan (c) RSC

One year after the RSC’s smash hit musical The Boy in the Dress opened in Stratford-upon-Avon, David Walliams returns to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to read from his original, much-loved novel.  A moment of musical magic – with songwriter Guy Chambers and original performers from the show – will launch the much-anticipated cast recording at 7pm. Tickets: £10 You can now pre-order the original cast album from the RSC Shop or from iTunes (from Nov 16).

The Boy in the Dress opening night, Nov 28 2019 (L-R) David Walliams, Guy Chambers, Robbie Williams and Gregory Doran. Photo by Andrew Fox (c) RSC
  • Tales for Winter: (Your Place or Ours) – online (and In-person from Dec 19)

Running over six weekends from Sat Dec 5 – Sat Jan 23 (excluding Christmas and New Year), Tales for Winter (Your Place or Ours) will welcome audiences back to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with a series of stripped back warm-up events, celebrating the essence of live theatre: an actor, a stage and a story. Performed by a company of RSC Actors it’s a celebration of storytelling and the transformative power of live theatre.

  • Troy Story, performed live from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre & live streamed, Sat Dec 12

Weaving together a patchwork of sources, RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran retells the thrilling story of the Trojan War. Across one epic day, RSC Actors will recount Troy Story in five live-streamed parts, including the famous wooden horse and the mythical voyage of Odysseus based on the Greek classics from translations by John Dryden and Alexander Pope

Running time: 10am: The Rage of Achilles; 12.30pm: The Death of Hector; 3pm: The Wooden Horse ;5.30pm: Cyclops and Sirens; 8pm: The Hero Returns. Each event will last around an hour, and there is the option to watch again online. Tickets: £50 (includes access for one week after the performances)

  • Festive Tales, Sat Dec 19 (7pm streamed live; BSL interpreted); Sun Dec 20 ( 4.30pm, chilled and captioned performance)

Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman presents Festive Tales: a weekend of carols, songs and festive readings from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre celebrating the spirit of Christmas and the Royal Shakespeare Community. Alongside poetry by Maya Angelou, past productions will be remembered with extracts from The Christmas Truce by Phil Porter (2014) and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol adapted by David Edgar (2018).

Ticket buyers will be able to select from one of the following areas of the RST auditorium when making their bookings; STALLS – CENTRE FRONT, STALLS – CENTRE REAR, STALLS – LEFT, STALLS – RIGHT, CIRCLE – CENTRE, CIRCLE – LEFT, CIRCLE – RIGHT. Tickets: £20 (Under 26s £5) in person; £10 live stream

  • Michael Morpurgo & RSC collaboration, Jan 2021
Michael Morpurgo

In January, Tales for Winter continues with a weekly programme of online performances inspired by the work of former Children’s Laureate and best-selling author Michael Morpurgo who has joined the Royal Shakespeare Company to present a special series of preview events inspired by his new book, Tales from Shakespeare.

Readings include a one-off recording of Twelfth Night by Michael Morpurgo and a weekly programme of in-person and online events for schools and families. The programme will feature well-known Shakespeare titles including Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed by members of the RSC Acting Company.

Other highlights in January 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 Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Full programme details to be announced in December.

  • See It Safely – visiting the Royal Shakespeare Theatre

The safety and enjoyment of audiences remains the RSC’s top priority. In response to the current pandemic and latest government guidance, Covid-19 secure measures mean only 200 audience members will be welcomed to each event in the RST, which normally seats just over 1000 people. There will be enhanced cleaning between performances, statutory face coverings, socially distanced seating, pre-ordering of refreshments and one-way systems.

Visitors can choose an area of the theatre and their exact seats will be allocated by Front of House teams at the performance, depending on party sizes and current government guidance. All available seats have a clear and uninterrupted view of the stage. The theatre building will open 1 hour before performances of Festive Tales begin, with the auditorium opening 45 minutes before the start time. For full safety information, visit

  • Unlocking Shakespeare in the classroom

Theatre on demand

Following the success of previous years, the RSC schools’ Broadcast of Hamlet (2016) directed by Simon Godwin with Paapa Essiedu will be available on demand for schools across the UK from Monday 16 – Monday 23 November. A range of supporting resources and film content for teachers and students has been created to accompany the broadcast.

Socially-distanced Shakespeare: Live from Stratford-upon-Avon, Mon Nov 23 – Fri Nov 27 

On Mon Nov 23, the RSC will be streaming live from the Swan Theatre f to share socially distanced drama practice with teachers and youth theatre leaders across the UK. As the RSC starts to rehearse plays adhering to social distancing guidelines, actors and directors will share how they are marking up rehearsal rooms, approaching warm-ups, tackling work on scenes and resolving staging dilemmas with drama practitioners.

This will form part of a week-long ‘Connected’ programme of learning and participation running from Mon Nov 23 – Fri Nov 27 for the RSC’s Regional Partner Theatres and Associate Schools network. This specially devised week offers teachers and students the opportunity to share, connect and support each other through a time of change with daily sessions exploring playmaking, local leadership and access to the RSC’s Next Generation Talent development programmes focusing on careers in theatre, backstage and onstage.

The week features sessions with children’s author Malorie Blackman (Noughts and Crosses), Professor Ayanna Thompson from Arizona university, Darren Raymond from Intermission Youth, Musician Tarek Merchant, Movement Director Ingrid Mckinnon with contributions from regional theatre partners and young people, exploring big ideas about identity, creativity and the world today.

Accompanying this will be a specially devised package of resources and courses exploring some of the big questions facing society today including include Shakespeare’s Stories for early years children, Shakespeare and Race – an introduction to issues of identity and representation through Shakespeare’s plays, Shakespeare and Literacy – approaches to inspire and motivate children to write creatively in response to Shakespeare and Shakespeare Discovery Sessions for teachers, children and young people of all ages.

  • Flexible bookings, exchanges and refunds

For bookings made throughout 2020 for future performances, audiences can exchange their tickets up to 2 hours before the performance or event start time, at no extra cost. Tickets can be exchanged for another performance with seats at the same price or for an RSC Gift Voucher which can be used as part or full payment against future ticket purchases ether online, in person or over the telephone. RSC Gift Vouchers are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

Booking info: Tel: 01789 331111 or go to: 

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