CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR THE RSC’S 2020 PRODUCTION OF THE WINTER’S TALE
The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
Directed by Erica Whyman
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Saturday 28 March – Friday 2 October 2020
Box Office: 01789 331111, rsc.org.uk
Casting details are announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) 2020 Summer production of The Winter’s Tale, which plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 28 March 2020. Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, the production will be cross-cast with The Comedy of Errors (from 25 April 2020) and Pericles (from 15 August 2020). All three plays are sponsored by Darwin Escapes.
Set across a 16-year span from Mad Men to the moon landings, this new production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale imagines a world where the ghosts of fascist Europe collide with horrors of The Handmaid’s Tale, before washing up on a joyful seashore.
King Leontes rips his family apart with his jealousy but grief opens his heart. Will he find the child he abandoned before it is too late?
Following its run in Stratford, the production, along with The Comedy of Errors and Pericles will transfer to the Barbican in London. The Winter’s Tale will then embark on a national tour in January 2021 – details to be announced shortly.
The production’s music is composed by Isobel Waller-Bridge, who has previously worked with Erica Whyman on her productions of Hecuba and The Seven Acts of Mercy. Her other soundtracks include Vanity Fair (ITV/Amazon), Vita and Virginia (Protagonist Pictures), Fleabag (BBC/Amazon), Woyzeck (Old Vic) and Knives in Hens (Donmar Warehouse).
Erica Whyman said, “I am particularly excited to be directing The Winter’s Tale as it is one of my all-time favourite plays and I directed it once before at Southwark Playhouse in 1999, very happily. I think it has walked with me ever since, and become in so many ways more sharply reflective of our world than perhaps it was then. It is a play in which a man with immense power, who abuses it in the grip of a totally consuming paranoia, comes to his senses on a very public platform and apologises – without limit or excuse. That seems to me an act of such rare humility, that to do justice to it Shakespeare conjures a true fairytale, in which grief, repentance, patience, love and common sense are all in the end rewarded. It is not a problem play, but a miracle of a play which turns and twists at lightning speed and with acute understanding of the human heart.
“I’m setting my production in the 1950s in a monarchy that has known fascism – an imagined Spain where politics, religion and power are deeply intertwined, moving later to 1969 in the North East of England in which real labour and a deep sense of community seems gloriously healthy, loving and straightforward by comparison. I have a gift of a cast, and I’m proud to be working with two Deaf actors, William Grint and Bea Webster who, as they translate Shakespeare’s words into BSL, bring a wonderful freshness and attentiveness to the rehearsal room.”
Joseph Kloska plays Leontes. His previous RSC credits include Imperium, Written on the Heart and Measure for Measure. He also appeared in The Christmas Truce, the first production Erica Whyman directed for the RSC. Joseph’s TV and film work includes The Crown, Foyle’s War and Made in Dagenham.
Kemi-Bo Jacobs makes her RSC debut playing Hermione. Her previous theatre credits include All My Sons (Manchester Royal Exchange), Hedda Gabler (Salisbury Playhouse), Betrayal (Derby Theatre), and Wild East (Young Vic). TV work includes Lewis and Doctor Who.
Ben Caplan also makes his RSC debut playing Camillo. Well known for his role as Sergeant Peter Noakes in the BBC’s Call The Midwife, Ben’s other TV credits include Silent Witness, Midsomer Murders, and the BAFTA award winning, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries. Recent stage work includes The Exorcist (Bill Kenwright productions), Describe The Night (Hampstead Theatre) and The Knowledge (Charing Cross Theatre).
Amanda Hadingue plays Paulina. Her previous RSC credits include Miss Littlewood (directed by Erica Whyman), The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, The Duchess of Malfi, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew and The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes. Other theatre work includes Top Girls and A Small Family Business (National Theatre).
Andrew French plays Polixenes. Andrew’s previous RSC credits include Erica Whyman’s production of Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caesar. TV work includes A Very English Scandal, EastEnders, Marvin Can’t Fail and Holby City.
Further cast includes: Alice Blundell (Dorcas), Alfred Clay (Archidamus), Colm Gormley (Antigonus), William Grint (Young Shepherd), Vicky Hall (Mopsa), Avita Jay (Cleomenes), Zoe Lambert (Shepherdess),Georgia Landers (Perdita), Mogali Masuku (Dion), Dyfrig Morris (Mariner), Baker Mukasa (Lord), Anne Odeke (Autolycus), Bea Webster (Emilia) and Assad Zaman (Florizel).
The role of Mamillius will be cast with four young actors from Silhouette Youth Theatre. Based in Northampton this company was developed by Leigh Wolmarans, former Head teacher of Lings Primary School, part of the RSC Associate Schools programme. Pupils have previously worked with the RSC on Romeo and Juliet and the RSC’s talent development programme, Next Generation ACT.
Joining Erica Whyman on the creative team are Tom Piper (Set Designer), Madeleine Girling (Costume Designer), Prema Mehta (Lighting), Isobel Waller-Bridge (Music), Jeremy Dunn (Sound) and Anna Morrissey (Movement).
The production will be broadcast live into cinemas on 10 June 2020.
The Winter’s Tale is supported by RSC Production Circle members, Mark Thompson and Jane Blumberg-Thompson.