Royal Shakespeare Company Season
Shakespeare's birthplace enjoys a long pedigree as a theatrical shrine to England's most illustrious playwright. The first Shakespeare Memorial Theatre was inaugurated at Stratford in 1879, with a production of Much Ado About Nothing. This theatre, which received its royal charter in 1925, burnt to the ground in 1926. In 1928 the architect Elisabeth Scott was appointed to design the new theatre, which opened in 1932.
The Royal Shakespeare Company was formally established in 1961, under the artistic directorship of Peter Hall. The subsequent directors were Trevor Nunn, Terry Hands, Adrian Noble and Michael Boyd.
A small studio theatre, called The Other Place, was opened in 1974. The Swan Theatre - an indoor version of an Elizabethan theatre - is temporarily closed, as part of an ambitious project to revamp the theatre complex, creating a thrust stage auditorium.
The roster of stars who have performed at the RSC in their professional careers is impressive: Paul Scofield, Ian Holm, Peggy Aschroft, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Anthony Sher, Derek Jacobi, Sinead Cusack, Alan Rickman, Lindsay Duncan, Juliet Stevenson, Ralph Fiennes, Kenneth Branagh, to name but a few. In recent months there have been record-breaking audiences at Stratford for David Tennant's Hamlet.
The 2014 season at Stratford upon Avon opened in February, and includes the following plays: King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Morte d'Arthur, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra and The Winter's Tale.
Romeo and Juliet, directed by Rupert Goold, after his acclaimed production of Enron, previews on Friday 12 March (until 27 August). Antony and Cleopatra, featuring Darrell D'Silva and Kathryn Hunter in the title roles, previews on Saturday 10 April (to 28 August). Sir Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur, in a new adaptation by Milke Poulton, directed by Gregory Doran, previews on Friday 11 June (to 28 August 2014). King Lear, with Greg Hicks in the title role, runs from 18 February to 26 August 2014. Summer productions also include Julius Caesar, Hamlet (returning to Stratford from a national tour in May) and The Winter's Tale.