RSC’S ACCLAIMED PRODUCTION OF ROMEO AND JULIET RETURNS TO BBC TWO AS PART OF BBC LOCKDOWN LEARNING
“A fresh, fleet, blade-sharp revival.”
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) 2018 production of Romeo and Juliet will be broadcast on BBC Two at 2pm on Tuesday 9 February as part of the BBC’s Lockdown Learning’s Shakespeare Week. The production will then be available on BBC iPlayer for 60 days.
The BBC will also run two episodes of Shakespeare Unlocked, a much-loved collaboration between the RSC and BBC Teach where actors from previous RSC productions explore language and characters in key scenes from Macbeth (Monday 8 February, 2pm, BBC Two) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Thursday 11 February, 2.15pm, BBC Two). There will also be Shakespeare focussed episodes of Bitesize Daily featuring readings from RSC alumni such as Niamh Cusack, Natalie Simpson and Jamie Wilkes.
The Romeo and Juliet broadcast adds to a vast range of other free Shakespeare-related resources that the RSC is offering to students currently learning at home, and to teachers looking to create lesson plans to deliver online. Full details here
Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, the production of Romeo and Juliet being screened on BBC Two features Bally Gill as Romeo, a role for which he won the Ian Charleson Award in 2019, and Karen Fishwick as Juliet.
Originally staged at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in Spring 2018, the show transferred to the Barbican in November of the same year. The Company then embarked on an extended national tour of the UK in the Spring of 2019, which included visits to Norwich Theatre Royal, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, Nottingham Theatre Royal, Blackpol Grand Theatre, New Theatre, Cardiff and Glasgow Theatre Royal.
This production of Romeo and Juliet first aired on the BBC in 2020 as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine programme running across television, radio and online.
Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC, said: “I’m delighted that our production of Romeo and Juliet is getting another showing on BBC Two as part of the BBC’s Lockdown Learning Shakespeare Week. Here at the RSC we know that seeing Shakespeare brought to life on stage is crucial for anyone studying his plays. Sadly, our theatres are currently closed, but I hope that this broadcast (which will also be on BBC iPlayer for 60 days) will inspire students and offer them a deeper understanding of Shakespeare’s revolutionary love story. We were so struck by Shakespeare’s timeless understanding of all the ways adults can let their young people down, and that seems even more urgent now. The broadcast adds to the vast range of resources the RSC is offering to students currently learning at home, and to teachers looking to create lesson plans to deliver online.”
Bally Gill – who plays Romeo – made his RSC debut as part of The Other Place Mischief Festival in 2016. In 2017, he appeared in Vice Versa, Salome and Coriolanus. His other credits include The Island Nation (Arcola Theatre), A Local Boy (The Arts Theatre), Dinner with Saddam (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Bureau of Lost Things (Theatre 503) and NW (BBC/Mammoth Screen).
Karen Fishwick made her RSC debut playing Juliet in 2018. Previous credits include Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (National Theatre of Scotland/Live Theatre), Glasgow Girls (NTS/Citizens), Hansel and Gretel (Citizens Theatre), The Caucasian Chalk Circle, A Christmas Carol (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh), Badults (BBC Three), James Kirk’s Comedy Blaps, The Illuminati (The Comedy Unit) and Tides and Telegrams (for The Winter Tradition).
The professional cast also includes: Afolabi Alli (Paris); Donna Banya (Gregory); Stevie Basaula (Sampson); Ishia Bennison (Nurse); Katy Brittain (Friar John/Apothecary); Raif Clarke (Peter); Beth Cordingly (Escalus); Paul Dodds (Montague); Josh Finan (Benvolio); Karen Fishwick (Juliet); Andrew French (Friar Laurence); Bally Gill (Romeo); Mariam Haque (Lady Capulet); Michael Hodgson (Capulet); Charlotte Josephine (Mercutio); John Macaulay (Cousin Capulet); Tom Padley (Balthasar); Sakuntala Ramanee (Lady Montague); Raphael Sowole (Tybalt) and Nima Taleghani (Abraham).
During the run of Romeo and Juliet the professional cast were joined by young people from across the UK aged 12 – 18 who shared the role of the Chorus. All 140 young people who participated in Romeo and Juliet are students in the RSC’s existing network of Associate Schools across the UK. The broadcast of Romeo and Juliet features young chorus members from Hall Green Secondary School, Birmingham.
Romeo and Juliet is directed by Erica Whyman and designed by Tom Piper, with lighting by Charles Balfour. Music is by Sophie Cotton and movement by Ayse Tashkiran.
BBC Lockdown Learning is the BBC’s largest ever education offer, bringing the best of their factual, drama and science output to TV alongside the specially curated Bitesize Daily TV shows, and supported by a host of home learning content from BBC Bitesize.