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Words from RSC Artistic Director Emeritus Gregory Doran

RSC Cymbeline, full company photo. (c) Sara Beaumont

Cymbeline at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-avon, running from 22 April until 27 May.

On Monday 6 March 2023, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) announced full casting for the upcoming production of Cymbeline, directed by RSC Artistic Director Emeritus Gregory Doran, which will run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from Saturday 22 April to Saturday 27 May 2023, with press night on Wednesday 3 May.

This production of Cymbeline marks Gregory’s 50th show that he has directed for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and will be his last as RSC Artistic Director Emeritus. Cymbeline is also the last play in Shakespeare’s First Folio, which this year celebrates 400 years since it was first published.

Reflecting on his time as the Artistic Director of the RSC, Doran is also releasing a memoir charting his personal and professional journey. My Shakespeare: A Director’s Journey Through the First Folio (Methuen Drama) presents a detailed account of Doran’s experiences either directing or producing each of Shakespeare's plays in the First Folio and is publishing on 20 April.

RSC Artistic Director Emeritus, Gregory Doran. Photo by The Other Richard.

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director Emeritus, said: "2023 is the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Without the Folio we would not have half of Shakespeare’s plays today, including many of his most famous and loved works. This year we are doing five of them. We opened the year with the first play to appear in that miraculous book, The Tempest, and I am directing the last one in it, Cymbeline.

"It happens to be my 50th production of the RSC, and I am delighted to be working on it with some long-time collaborators: designer Stephen Brimson-Lewis, composer Paul Englishby, and movement director Síân Williams, as well as some familiar faces in the cast, many of whom I have had the privilege of working with on previous productions.

I have often wondered why Cymbeline is the last play in the Folio. It is listed under the tragedies, but it could just as easily have been placed in the comedies or even the histories as it is set Ancient Britain at the time of the Romans.

"Though its thrilling story threatens to end in tragedy, its astonishing denouement is full of joy. I think the compilers of the Folio put Cymbeline at the end of the book because it defies categories and won’t be pinned down – that is what makes it so exciting.

"I am honoured to be opening Cymbeline as this year’s birthday play on Shakespeare’s birthday weekend, which coincides with the publication of a book. My Shakespeare: a director’s journey through the First Folio concludes with an epilogue as I set out on rehearsals for Cymbeline. When we open, I shall be able to say I have worked on every single play in that amazing life manual, Shakespeare’s First Folio.”

The full company comprises; Jeff Alexander (Soothsayer), Adam Baker (Roman), Iwan Bond (Roman), Tom Chapman (Second Lord), Peter De Jersey (Cymbeline), Alexandra Gilbreath (The Queen), Conor Glean (Cloten), Scott Gutteridge (Guiderius), Mark Hadfield (Pisanio), Amber James (Imogen), Marcia Lecky (1st Gent/Lady/Mother), Jake Mann (Cornelius), Theo Ogundipe (Caius Lucius), Keith Osborn (Philario/Sicilius), Christian Patterson (Belarius), Ed Sayer (Posthumus), Daf Thomas (Arviragus), Barnaby Tobias (First Lord), Cat White (2nd Gent/Helen) and Jamie Wilkes (Iachimo).

Directed by Gregory Doran, Cymbeline has Design by Stephen Brimson-Lewis, Lighting by Matt Daw, Music by Paul Englishby, Sound by Jonathan Ruddick, Movement and Intimacy by Siân Williams, Puppetry Direction by Rachel Leonard, Music Direction by Ben McQuigg, Text and Voice Work by Emma Woodvine. Casting is by Helena Palmer CDG.

Please visit the website for additional listings of Director’s Talk, specific performances and background information about the production.


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