Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican


  • King and Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings – All four History plays combine to play in repertoire, J.P. Morgan is the Global Tour Premier Partner
  • RSC Shakespeare on Screen – A film season in association with Barbican Cinemas to run alongside the shows onstage, giving a unique opportunity to view rarely-seen screen adaptations of RSC productions
  • King and Country: Talks Series – A series of talks and debates with leading RSC actors including David Tennant, Julian Glover and Alex Hassell
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation will play at the Barbican in May 2016 as part of its National Tour
  • The RSC will participate in Play On at the Barbican Weekender, a two-day event inspired by Shakespeare’s work, in March 2016

King and Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) returns to the Barbican in November with Henry V, followed by a major theatrical event in January 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death – with performances of all four productions of Gregory Doran’s history plays in repertoire.

The season brings together the previously production of Richard II (premiered in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in October 2013) with the recent Henry IV Parts I & IIand the new production of Henry V straight from its acclaimed run in Stratford.

Running from 11 November 2015 to 24 January 2016, the repertoire includes the majority of the original cast members. David Tennant reprises the title role of Richard II; Antony Sher and Jasper Britton return as Falstaff and Henry IV respectively in the Henry IV plays and Alex Hassell reprises his role as the young Hal and reaches maturity as King in Henry V.

RSC Shakespeare on Screen
9-31 January 2016
Barbican Cinemas 2 & 3

In January 2016, alongside the work onstage at the Barbican, a special festival of RSC Shakespeare on Screen has been created to complement the King and Country plays.

Curated by John Wyver, RSC Director of Screen Productions, in association with the Barbican, RSC Shakespeare on Screen will uncover highlights from 50 years of Shakespeare in performance. Nine titles have been selected from the huge archive of RSC work captured on stage or reconceived for film and television, and include Trevor Nunn’s iconic 1979 production of Macbeth with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench, originally performed at The Other Place in Stratford-upon-Avon, Peter Hall’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1959) with Charles Laughton as Bottom in a rarely-seen partial recording of Hall’s staging which was filmed on three cameras for American television in the theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Gregory Doran’s production of Hamlet (2009) filmed on location in an abandoned seminary in North London, with David Tennant in the title role. Questions about the RSC’s involvement with film and television and the challenges of translating stage productions to the screen will be discussed with current RSC artistic director Gregory Doran and other guests to be announced.

Talks and Debates

A programme of talks and debates explores Shakespeare’s portrayals of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V. Guest panellists will include Alex Hassell, Julian Glover and David Tennant amongst others. The talks will be held in the Frobisher Auditorium 1 in the Barbican.

Further information here:


An Education programme will run alongside the RSC season, exploring Henry V and the King and Country cycles. RSC Education and Barbican Creative Learning teams will also work with experts from the Museum of London on an active workshop on Shakespeare’s Histories. For more information on the RSC Education workshops visit:

Barbican Box 2016

From November 2015

RSC associate directors will be supporting the Barbican Box education programme for schools and colleges. The project involves a portable box containing tools and stimuli to encourage young people in their personal and imaginative approach to the arts. Joining the programme, schools also get mentoring, teacher training courses, tickets to the Centre’s performances and opportunities to perform at the Barbican – among other benefits.

First Encounter: The Famous Victories of Henry V
19 November 2015

Following its opening in Stratford-upon-Avon in June 2015, and its tour to school halls and theatre spaces across the country, The Famous Victories of Henry V comes to the Barbican for one performance only. Directed by Owen Horsley and using Shakespeare’s original language, the production condenses the three great plays of Henry IV Parts I & II and Henry V into a 90 minute adventure for 8 – 13 year olds.


This Realm, This England – the RSC’s free exhibition will be on display in the Barbican Mezzanine Foyer from 6 November 2015 – 24 January 2016. The exhibition features a new lighting installation developed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, inspired by Stephen Brimson Lewis’ design for theKing and Country cycle of plays.

International King and Country tour

Following the Barbican season, Henry IV Parts I & II and Henry V tour to China and are then re-joined by Richard II in Spring 2016 for an exclusive season in New York, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).

J.P. Morgan is the Global Tour Premier Partner for all four productions, and will be supporting the upcoming tour from London to China and the US.

Live from Stratford-upon-Avon

Henry V will be broadcast ‘Live from Stratford-upon-Avon’ to cinemas in collaboration with Picturehouse Entertainment on 21 October 2015. For details on screenings

As well as streaming the shows live into cinemas around the world, the RSC also offers another unique opportunity to schools across the UK to experience the Company’s productions for free in classrooms, with a live Q&A following the screening. Henry V will be screened in schools on Thursday 19 November 2015.

This hugely popular initiative is made possible through collaboration with Ravensbourne College. Alongside the webcast, the RSC has created an extensive package of online resources for use by teachers and students in the classroom, both in the lead up to the broadcast and for use as follow up materials afterwards.

For full cast and production information