Joan Littlewood makes the RSC

A musical based on the life of the innovative, inspiring and anarchic theatre director Joan Littlewood is to be a highlight in the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2018 season.

Written by Sam Kenyon and directed by the RSC’s deputy artistic director Erica Whyman, the production is being created in close collaboration with the Theatre Royal Stratford East, where Littlewood established her Theatre Workshop in the 1950s and 60s. Littlewood will be played by seven different actors as the musical traces her life story.

But the theme of the RSC’s season will youth, said artistic director Greg Doran, with the company engaging with more youth through Next Generation ACT in which 20 young people aged 12 to 16 will comprise the RSC’s first young acting company.

It follows last year’s tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in which pupils from the company’s associate schools around the country took part. That is to be repeated in 2018 with a tour of Romeo and Juliet, also directed by Whyman and using school students in the cast.

Women directors is to be a theme go for the season, with no fewer than six new productions directed by female directors. In the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Macbeth starring Christopher Ecclestone and Niamh Cusack will be directed by Polly Findlay; The Merry Wives of Windsor, with David Troughton as Falstaff, by Fiona Laird; in the Swan Theatre, Maria Alberg will direct the Webster classic The Duchess of Malfi, and rediscovered play by the 17th century novelist and playwright Mary Pix, The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich (or The Beau Defeated). Next year, Doran is planning the first 50-50 male-female cast for Venus and Adonis.

Doran also announced the launch of a £3m public appeal, Stitch in Time, to help fund the restoration and redevelopment of the RSC’s costume workshop at Stratford, which will increase the space by 60% and allow public visits and a new apprenticeship scheme.

 

 

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