The Royal Shakespeare Company reinforced its intentions to put more focus on new work by revealing that five new plays are to be performed in London in 2008. Anthony Neilson will create a new work to be staged at the Soho, and the Tricycle will host Leo Butler's I'll Be The Devil and Roy Williams's Days Of Significance. These shows are joined by The Tragedy Of Thomas Hobbes by Adriano Shaplin and The Cordelia Dream by Marina Carr in a venue yet to be announced.
Shaplin, co-founder of acclaimed ensemble The Riot Group, became a resident writer for the RSC in 2006, after having much success with his previous work including Pugilist Specialist, Switch Triptych and Victory At The Dirt Palace. The Tragedy Of Thomas Hobbes, which receives a four week runs in the capital, stokes up the debate on God and science.
Marina Carr's work was last seen in London when Woman And Scarecrow received its world premiere at the Royal Court in 2006. The Irish writer's other plays include On Raftery's Hill, Meat And Salt and By The Bog Of Cats, which was staged at the Wyndham's. The Cordelia Dream, which also run for four weeks, tackles the personal cost of creativity and is directed by Selina Cartmell.
The two plays are to be performed by the same ensemble as The Merchant Of Venice and The Taming Of The Shrew in Stratford earlier in 2008. Also announced for the Stratford 2008 season are Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost and A Midsummer Night's Dream. The three plays share an ensemble of actors that are cross cast, which includes current Dr Who, David Tennant as Hamlet and Berowne (Love's Labour's Lost) and Patrick Stewart as Claudius (Hamlet).
I'll Be The Devil, directed by Ramin Gray, opens the RSC's run at the Tricycle on 21 February, continuing until 8 March. Butler's drama is set in the heart of the occupied Ireland of the 18th century and follows the actions of a woman which result in tragedy.
Williams's Days Of Significance, directed by Maria Aberg, follows I'll Be The Devil, running from 12 to 29 March. Set during a more recent conflict, it concerns two young soldiers and the impact of their personal lives on their tour of duty in Iraq.
Little is yet known about Anthony Neilson's play, except that it opens at the Soho on 5 December (previews from 29 November) and that Neilson will create it together with an ensemble of 11 male RSC actors. Neilson's previous plays include The Wonderful World Of Dissocia, The Lying Kind and Stitching.