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Love's Labour's Lost at the RSC

Love's Labour's Lost at the RSC. Photo by Seamus Ryan.

Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare, at the RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon, from Thursday 11 April to Saturday 18 May. Directed by Emily Burns.



Love’s Labour’s Lost sees four male characters taking an oath to isolate themselves from the trivial distractions of women and love. They think a spell of celibacy, study and self-improvement is the key to maxing out their potential. But when a Princess and her three companions arrive on a diplomatic mission, the allure of abstinence begins to evaporate. Something’s got to give….

Full casting has been announced for director Emily Burns’ playful and contemporary take on Shakespeare’s vibrant comedy, Love’s Labour’s Lost. The production is the first programmed by the RSC’s new Co-Artistic Directors, Daniel Evans and Tamara Harvey, as part of their inaugural season. It features WhatsOnStage award-winner Luke Thompson (Bridgerton) as Berowne, alongside Melanie-Joyce Bermudez as the Princess, Ioanna Kimbook as Rosaline, and Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran as Ferdinand. All four are making their RSC debuts.

 Best known for his role as series regular Benedict Bridgerton in the popular Netflix drama, Luke Thompson has just won the WhatsOnStage award for Best Supporting Performer in a Play for A Little Life (Harold Pinter Theatre/Savoy Theatre).

Melanie-Joyce Bermudez (the Princess) recently played Regan alongside Kenneth Branagh in his production of King Lear (Wyndham’s Theatre). 

Ioanna Kimbook’s (Rosaline) theatre credits include: Women, Beware the Devil, Daddy, The Duchess of Malfi (Almeida Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre), and Bitter Wheat (Garrick Theatre). Television credits include: The Couple Next Door, Wedding Season, Suspicion and Inside No. 9. 

Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran (Ferdinand) won the 2023 Ian Charleson Award for his professional debut in The Importance of Being Earnest. He recently starred in Beautiful Thing at Stratford East, and is currently filming The Sandman.

The cast of Love's Labour's Lost. (c) RSC

 Love’s Labour’s Lost is directed by Emily Burns in her RSC debut. Associate Director of the National Theatre and of The Bridge, her other work includes the acclaimed Jack Absolute Flies Again, and Dear Octopus, both National Theatre, the latter of which is running there until 27 March.

Emily said: “I’m delighted to be working with this outstanding company on Love’s Labour’s Lost, the first production of Daniel and Tamara’s inaugural season at the RSC. This production contextualises the lords - with their strict regime of self-improvement, restrictive dieting and perverse ideas about the intellectual benefits of chastity - as modern tech billionaires, whose lease of land (in our production a contemporary, fictional island) from the Princess’ father is the real catalyst for the play.

“As the men play at being adults, the women take agency over the men’s childish games to serve their own ends. Love’s Labour’s Lost is a romantic comedy, but it’s also a meditation on fiction and reality, on the intertwining of language and power, and on the moment one “grows up”. It’s an enormous privilege to have such a talented, rigorous and joyful company to explore that with.”

The full cast comprises: Jack Bardoe (Don Armado); Brandon Bassir (Dumaine); Melanie-Joyce Bermudez (the Princess); Jeffrey Chekai (Marcade); Iskandar Eaton (Moth); Nathan Foad (Costard); Sarita Gabony (Maria); Tony Gardner (Holofernes); Shailan Gohil (Ensemble); Amy Griffiths (Katherine); Ioanna Kimbook (Rosaline); Kok-Hwa Lie (Dull); Jordan Metcalfe (Boyet); Tika Mu’tamir (Ensemble); Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran (Ferdinand); Marienella Phillips (Jaquenetta); Eric Stroud (Longaville); Luke Thompson (Berowne); and Jamie Tyler (Ensemble) Visit the RSC website for full bios.

Joining Emily Burns on the creative team are: Joanna Scotcher (Set and Costume Designer); Neil Austin (Lighting Designer); Paul Englishby (Composer); George Dennis (Sound Designer); Shelley Maxwell (Choreographer); and Charlotte Sutton CDG (Casting Director).

For further details and to book tickets, go to:


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