The RSC has plenty of treats in store in early 2024. Whether you prefer traditional Will, a new take on Shakespeare – or something a little more left field. From February to April, you can choose from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice 1936, First Encounters: Romeo and Juliet or Ben and Imo.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
Let Shakespeare’s captivating comedy transport you from deepest midwinter to the most magical of midsummer nights.
On Midsummer’s Night, the real and fairy worlds collide.
Four young lovers, faced with the prospect of unhappy marriage or worse, flee the court of Athens and stumble into an enchanted forest. Nearby, a group of amateur actors rehearse a play to celebrate an upcoming royal wedding.
As these mere mortals cross paths with a warring fairy King and Queen, chaos reigns in the natural world. The lines between reality and illusion start to blur and no-one but mischievous Puck knows what is true and what is magic.
The Merchant of Venice 1936 (Swan Theatre)
London, 1936 the threat of fascism grows day by day.
Shylock (Tracy-Ann Oberman – Eastenders, Doctor Who, Friday Night Dinner) a widow, single mother and survivor of attacks on Jewish people in Russia, runs a small business from her home in Cable Street.
Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists plan a march through the Jewish East End and a fragile peace is shattered.
Into Shylock’s world enters antisemitic Antonio in need of a loan, a dangerous deal is made. Will Shylock take her revenge?
A powerful reminder of a key moment in British history.
First Encounters: Romeo and Juliet (Swan Theatre)
When Romeo meets Juliet, the worlds around them melts away. But then reality kicks in; their families are enemies, and they will never be allowed to stay together.
With the world against them, they hatch a plan to escape the lives they were born into. But fate has other ideas.
Following the success of last year’s sell out Twelfth Night, the latest in the RSC’s series of “First Encounters” productions makes Shakespeare’s star cross’d lovers relevant for a new generation of theatregoers.
This 90-minute version of Romeo and Juliet, edited by Robin Belfield and directed by Philip J Morris, uses original language to create the perfect introduction for young people aged 7-13 and their families.
Ben and Imo (Swan Theatre)
The 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II is fast approaching.
To mark the occasion, Benjamin Britten has just nine months to write a new opera about her predecessor Elizabeth I.
Into the world of the disheartened composer enters the exuberant and passionate Imogen Holst, daughter of Gustav and an accomplished musician in her own right. Her candid and can-do attitude proves to be the perfect foil for the capricious and often maddening Britten, and what begins as an arrangement of practical support turns into a bond that not only sees Gloriana to its premiere but endures throughout the rest of their lives.