19th Nov, 2017

RSC unveil summer 2018 season - Christopher Eccleston to star as Macbeth

Ian Hughes 12th Sep, 2017

CHRISTOPHER Eccleston will make his RSC debut in Stratford next year as Macbeth.

The former Dr Who will be joined by Niamh Cusack as Lady Macbeth in the Polly Findlay directed production announced among the summer 2018 season.

There will also be productions of Romeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor; alongside John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, a revival of a 17th century play by little-known Mary Pix, The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, and Miss Littlewood, a new musical by Sam Kenyon based on the life of theatre revolutionary, Joan Littlewood.

RSC artistic director Gregory Doran’s 2016 production of King Lear will also join the Royal Shakespeare Theatre repertoire for a limited season after an international tour.

Mr Doran said “There is something for everyone here, for the young and the young at heart.”

Visit www.rsc.org.uk for full details.

Macbeth (March 13 to September 22) – Shakespeare’s dark tragedy of power and revenge is directed by Polly Findlay whose last RSC production was The Alchemist in 2016. Christopher Eccleston makes his RSC debut in the title role of the bloody king in this contemporary psychological thriller. His recent work includes the television series Safe House and The A Word, and Antigone at the National Theatre in 2012. He is joined by Niamh Cusack as Lady Macbeth. Niamh was last at the RSC in 1996 as Rosalind in As You Like It directed by Steven Pimlott. Niamh’s recent theatre work includes The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at the National Theatre/West End, and The Winter’s Tale at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Romeo and Juliet (April 21 to September 22) – Directed by RSC deputy artistic director, Erica Whyman, and set in a world very like our own, this Romeo and Juliet is about a generation of young people born into violence and ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents. The most famous story of love at first sight explodes with intense passion and an irresistible desire for change, but leads all too quickly to heart-breaking consequences. Young people from RSC Associate Schools around the country will share the role of the Chorus with the professional cast. The production is designed by Tom Piper and will tour in 2019.

The Merry Wives of Windsor (August 4 to September 20) – Down on his luck in the suburbs, John Falstaff plans to hustle his way to a comfortable retirement by seducing the wives of two wealthy men. Unknown to him, it’s the women of Windsor who really pull the strings, orchestrating Falstaff’s comeuppance amidst a theatrical smorgasbord of petty rivalries, jealousies and over-inflated egos. For a fat Englishman, a Welshman and a Frenchman, the only way is Windsor. Fiona Laird makes her directing debut for the RSC and David Troughton takes on the role of Falstaff after his acclaimed Titus Andronicus as part of the Rome season.

King Lear (May 23 to June 9) Antony Sher reprises his acclaimed title role of the acclaimed production which was first seen in the RST and at the Barbican in 2016. It returns to the RST after an international tour.

The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster (March 1 to August 4) – Written in 1612, this macabre tragedy by Webster is loosely based on events that occurred between about 1508 and 1513. In an attempt to prevent the fiercely independent Duchess from marrying the man she loves, her brutally corrupt brothers go on a disturbing quest to destroy her. Remarkable for its inventive and grotesque violence, yet full of dark humour, this violent revenge tragedy asks how anyone can survive in a world where masculinity has become toxic. Directed by Maria Aberg.

The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich (or The Beau Defeated) by Mary Pix (March 22 to June 16) – Mrs Rich, a wealthy widow, aspires to rub shoulders with the great and good and perhaps even gain a title. Unfortunately, she’s not the only one after Sir John Roverhead. Pix’s comedy of manners combines mischief-making and mind-bending plot twists with a sharp satirical and distinctly female wit. Her colourful cast of characters dupe and dissemble as the intrigue builds. Will Mrs Rich ever squeeze her way into high society? Directed by Jo Davies.

Miss Littlewood, book, music and lyrics by Sam Kenyon (June 22 to August 4) – Joan Littlewood was the anarchic revolutionary of 20th century theatre. Born into poverty, she raged her way to have lasting influence on British culture. Anti-establishment, communist, visionary, rude and glorious, Joan fired the imagination of a generation. Her unique Theatre Workshop was responsible for a raft of successes including Oh, What A Lovely War!, A Taste of Honey and The Hostage, and breathed new life into the then-derelict Theatre Royal Stratford East . This new musical of Joan’s life story, told with her own uncompromising candour, reveals a mighty love story at its heart. Directed by Erica Whyman.

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