The Royal Shakespeare Company has today announced details of its Winter 2020 programme which includes a newly commissioned series of Tales for Winter running from Saturday 5 December 2020 to Saturday 23 January 2021.
The full programme of events was due to be performed to a reduced-capacity, socially-distanced audience in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with many performances being streamed to enable people further afield to take part.
Following the latest government announcement, the RSC will now offer live-stream only versions of all shows taking place between Saturday 5 and Saturday 12 December which will be available for one week after broadcast, with a view to welcoming audiences back to the theatre from Saturday 19 December. Full Covid-19 safety measures will be in place to make sure that up to 200 audience members can see events socially-distanced in a safe atmosphere, with the RSC welcome remaining as strong as ever.
The programme features contributions from David Walliams with live music by Guy Chambers and performances by the 2020 RSC Acting Company.
RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, said: “Despite the latest lockdown announcements, we remain fully committed to producing our Winter programme of events and to sharing the joy of live performance with our audiences, whether that’s back in-person or online. We are keeping the situation under close review in line with government and public health guidance and look forward to welcoming visitors as soon as it is safe to do so.
“As the global pandemic continues to prevent us being with one another in ways we could never have imagined, we need stories now, more than ever before. They help us to make sense of the world around us and to bring us together as a community, to celebrate, commiserate, reflect and rebuild.
“Tales for Winter is about storytelling, the most essential act of theatre. It is a reminder of where we were when we closed our doors back in March and an opportunity to look forward with hope and optimism to the future. It explores both the epic and the intimate; the majestic poetry of ancient Greece passed down through the generations, the festive fireside tunes and tales that sustain us through the long midwinter months, the timeless plots of William Shakespeare’s plays and the quick-witted, beautifully crafted storytelling of David Walliams.
“And whilst we continue to look forward to the time when we can welcome back full-scale RSC productions to the RST, we are delighted to be opening our doors to reduced-capacity audiences once again this Winter to share in the unique magic that is live theatre”.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre – Online (and In-person from 19 December)
Running over six weekends from Saturday 5 December – Saturday 23 January (excluding Christmas and New Year), Tales for Winter (Your Place or Ours) will welcome audiences back to the RSC with a series of stripped back warm-up events, celebrating the essence of live theatre: an actor, a stage and a story.
Performed by a company of RSC Actors against the iconic backdrop of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Tales for Winter is, at its heart, a celebration: of the essential joy of storytelling and of the transformative power of live theatre.
Launching on Saturday 5 December, the opening weekend will look back on the most recent story to be brought magically to life on the RST stage, David Walliams’ The Boy in the Dress.
One year on from the opening of the RSC’s hit musical The Boy in the Dress in Stratford-upon-Avon, no. 1 best-selling children’s author David Walliams will visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on Saturday 5 December to read from his original book. He will be joined by songwriter and musician Guy Chambers alongside members of the original cast and creative team for the launch of the official cast album.
The Boy in the Dress official cast album will be available to pre-order on CD and iTunes from 16 November and available to purchase on CD, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube Music from 4 December.
On Saturday 12 December, online audiences are invited to join members of the RSC Acting Company on an epic journey through the twists and turns of ancient Troy with a dramatic re-telling of the history of the Trojan war in five parts, based on the Greek classics – The Iliad, The Odyssey and The Aeneid – from translations by John Dryden and Alexander Pope.
Weaving together a patchwork of sources, RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran retells the thrilling story of the Trojan War. Across one epic day, RSC Actors and special guests recount our Troy Story in five live-streamed parts, including the famous wooden horse and the mythical voyage of Odysseus. Each event will last around an hour, and there is the option to watch again online.
In-person events in December:
Looking ahead to Christmas, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre will host a weekend of music and reflection on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 December. Festive Tales will feature carols, songs and festive readings celebrating the spirit of Christmas and the Royal Shakespeare Community.
Subject to the latest government guidance, this weekend will see reduced-capacity, socially-distanced audiences return to the RST for the first time since the theatre closed its doors in March, and will also be live-streamed for audiences to enjoy from home.
Alongside poetry from Maya Angelou, the programme will remember RSC productions past, with extracts from and The Christmas Truce by Phil Porter (2014), inspired by the diaries of Bruce Bairnsfather and the men of the Warwickshire Regiment, and A Christmas Carol adapted by David Edgar (2018).