What to See This Summer in Stratford-upon-Avon at the Royal Shakespeare Company
A trip to the beautiful town of Stratford-upon-Avon in the heart of the West Midlands makes for the perfect escape from the hectic streets of London’s West End. Not only is it Shakespeare’s birthplace, but theatre lovers can enjoy an exciting programme of upcoming shows as part of the RSC’s 2019 summer season.
Check out the shows that you won’t want to miss this summer, and get tickets now.
“As You Like It” at Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Kimberley Sykes (“Dido”, “Queen of Carthage”) directs a riotous, exhilarating version of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy. In the play,Rosalind is banished, wrestling with her heart and her head. With her cousin by her side, she journeys to a world of exile where barriers are broken down and all can discover their deeper selves. “As You Like It” subverts the traditional rules of romance, as gender roles, nature, and politics are confused in a play that reflects on how bewildering yet utterly pleasurable life can be.
“The Taming of the Shrew” at Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Justin Audibert (“Snow in Midsummer,” “The Jew of Malta”) turns Shakespeare’s fierce, energetic comedy of gender and materialism on its head to offer a fresh perspective on its portrayal of hierarchy and power. This gender-swapped production opens in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in March, set in a 1590s matriarchal England, with women holding all the power.
Audibert talks about the choices he made and where they came from. He says: “At the moment, there is an important conversation about gender and power and where that lies, and whenever you make a play, you’re always influenced by what’s going on around you. I’m interested in seeing what happens when you get female actors to play traditionally powerful male roles, and vice versa.”
Even the costumes will tell the tale of female power. “The costumes worn by the female actors will be beautiful, imposing, expensive and involve lots of material,” Audibert says. “They will dominate the space. The costumes the male actors wear will be much more delicate, even subtle.” And the director cites Eurythmics as a major influence to the music, composed by Ruth Chan, which will have a strong baroque feel, becoming louder and more electric through the show. He’s calling it “Rock Renaissance.”
“Kunene and the King” at Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Don’t miss this moving and funny new play by the South African actor, activist, and playwright John Kani (“The Island,” “Sizwe Banzi is Dead,” “Black Panther”). Fellow South Africans Janice Honeyman (“Vice Versa”; “The Tempest”) directs and Antony Sher (“King Lear”, 2016 & 2018; “Death of a Salesman”) performs opposite John Kani in this important world premiere.
After facing opposition during World War II, the National Party in South Africa returned to power in 1948, promising to make laws severely restricting black-South African rights. One of the first pieces of apartheid legislation prohibited marriages between Europeans and non-Europeans, meaning it was illegal for a white person to marry a person of another race. In 1956, Nelson Mandela, along with several other anti-apartheid activists, were arrested. After being released from prison in 1990, Mandela was elected president of the ANC, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his efforts to bring stability to the country. Finally, after a four-year process, the ANC won a sweeping victory in the South African General Election of 1994, with Mandela becoming the first black President in South African history, and marking an end to apartheid.
South Africa, 2019. Twenty-five years since the first post-apartheid elections in South Africa, two men from contrasting walks of life are thrust together to reflect on a quarter century of change in this touching new play.
Book now for performances in the 2019 summer season.