Posts Tagged ‘Greg Doran’

Following yesterdays announcement that Greg has been appointed the new Artistic Director – what great news for one and all –

Many congratulations from RSC Friends!

Gregory Doran named as RSC chief

Gregory Doran
Gregory Doran is to take over from Michael Boyd as artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Doran, who joined the company 25 years ago – as an actor – is currently chief associate director at the RSC.
Boyd said he was “pleased to be leaving the Company in such good hands”. “He is a first rate director, and nobody knows and loves the company more than him.”
Doran hailed his “long-term commitment … to the astonishing plays of our ‘Star of Poets’, William Shakespeare”.
Doran – who won an Olivier award for outstanding achievement for the RSC’s season of Jacobean plays in 2002 – will take over from Boyd in September.
“I am delighted to be appointed as artistic director of this great company,” said Doran.
“Michael Boyd and Vikki Heywood have done an exceptional job in the last decade, rebuilding the theatre and reasserting the principles of ensemble and collaboration, which I hope to continue and extend.”
“My first task is to assemble an exciting new artistic team, with whom I shall start planning the Company’s future from 2014.”
‘True commitment’
RSC Chairman Nigel Hugill paid tribute to Doran’s “deep understanding of Shakespeare and a true commitment to theatre-making”.
Critically acclaimed productions for the RSC include Patrick Stewart and Harriet Walter in Anthony and Cleopatra in 2006, and Love’s Labour’s Lost, starring David Tennant, in 2008.
Doran was also instrumental in bringing his 2000 production of Macbeth – starring his partner Anthony Sher in the title role – to Channel 4, while his 2008 production of Hamlet, starring David Tennant, was broadcast on the BBC.
His predecessor Boyd is credited with reviving the fortunes of the RSC which was debt-written and demoralised when he took over in 2002.
Success stories include his year-long Complete Works festival in Stratford-upon-Avon, and the award-winning musical Matilda, which transferred to London’s West End last year.
He also oversaw the £112m renovation project to the Stratford-upon-Avon theatres and the RSC’s 50th birthday.


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As part of the National Video Archive of Performance’s 20th anniversary programme the Victoria and Albert Museum will be screening last year’s production of Cardenio at 2pm on Sunday 12 February. Greg Doran will be introducing the screening and will hold a book signing afterwards. This is one of a number of screenings of British theatre productions from the last twenty years (more details at http://www.vam.ac.uk/whatson/event/1637/date/20120212/#single-event-layout). All screenings are free with places allocated on a first come, first served basis on the day.

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We went to the Opening Performance on the 14th April, 2011 and loved every moment of the production. Such inspirational casting- Lucy Briggs-Owen and Oliver Rix. I was really impressed by Christopher Godwin as Don Camillo. The music was wonderful and what a beautiful ending with music and dance. Well done Greg Doran. Our thanks to you for re-imagining the “lost play”, a fantastic achievement. This was a really memorable evening and a superb way to celebrate the re-opening of the lovely Swan Theatre.

……..And so we went to see Cardenio again on the Saturday evening, having so enjoyed the wonderful and informative talk by Greg Doran in the morning to Friends. It was even better the second time and sitting in a different part of the theatre appreciated even more the performance of Pippa Nixon as Dorotea. Superb.

People go the theatre for different reasons, hopefully to enjoy the performance. Certainly we did with Cardenio. Fully recommend it. We will go again!

by David Stevens, RSC Friends

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On Tuesday 30th November, my mum and I joined a group of 700 RSC supporters and patrons for a special preview event at the new Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Everything about the Theatre invites you in, asks you to explore, welcomes you.  We were happy to wander through the building enjoying the ambience and the decor.  We loved the shop, the bars, the Fountain Courtyard with its beautiful spiral staircase and we had a great time looking at the art installations, pictures and memories from the RST archives.

The Reading Room next to the Swan Bar housed a poet’s work-in-progress.  Visitors were asked to add their memories of the RST to post-it notes and sheets of paper and it was lovely to read so many memories from many, many years ago.  In the corner of the Reading Room is the ‘Insult Chair’, a brilliant invention that shouts out a Shakespearian insult when you sit in it – we got: ‘your bum is the most part of you!’, not much you can say to that…

Upstairs in the Swan Room, an exhibition called ‘Transformations’ brought us the story of the building project through words, pictures, miniature models of the theatre, seat design and even upholstery choices.  It’s clear, when you look around this exhibition, just how much research and hard work went into turning a dream into reality, an incredible achievement.

Old production photographs have been enlarged to hang on walls and an installation called ‘Ghosts in the Walls’ projected a wonderful selection of black and white images from the RST archives onto the walls in the main theatre building, brought to life with quotes from the plays.

‘My RSC Gallery’ is a fascinating installation created by the public, schools, RSC staff and actors.  All around the theatre are 50 small boxes built into the walls.  Lift the lid and a miniature picture, image or collage is underneath.  Of the ones I found, my favourite: ‘Gleanings from the front row of the stalls’ by Valerie Thompson was a fascinating collection of false nails, feathers, documents, buttons and other small objects that had ended up in the stalls.  The narrative told us from which play and year each piece had been collected.

The focus of the evening was a specially produced ‘Masque for the New Theatre’. Traditionally put on in court in Shakespeare’s time, a masque was a way of celebrating a new theatre opening.  Director Gregory Doran had developed a brilliant and very funny one-off performance featuring Richard McCabe, Antony Sher, Simon Trinder, Rebecca Johnson, Alexandra Gilbreath and Claire Benedict that showcased the incredible, new main theatre stage.  We experienced thunder, lightening, fire, snow and rain and discovered the beauty of the thrust stage and seating that allows you to see from anywhere in the theatre.

Sitting in the audience on Tuesday evening, all the passion, enthusiasm and sheer hard work that went into bringing this project to fruition was clear to see.  The building is a triumph, the theatre superb.  Everything has been carefully and cleverly conceived – it’s no longer just a theatre, it’s Shakespeare’s home and legacy.  If he only knew, I’m sure he would be delighted and oh so proud!

Jane Nead

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I expect many of you will know about this but I wanted to draw your attention to the 57th Poetry Festival that will be taking place in and around Stratford from July 14th to 1st August. The varied and interesting programme includes many RSC Alumni including Janet Suzman, David Troughton, Anton Lesser, Greg Doran, Kelly Hunter, Greg Hicks, Rory Kinnear, Mariah Gale and Jane Lapotaire. Wow! Details can be found at:

Click to access Poetry_v6_8pp.pdf

If any of you manage to attend some of the events do post in a review of them.

Jane Cromack

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It is good to see Mike Poulton writing again for the RSC after the staging in 2005/06 of his two part adaptation of THE CANTERBURY TALES. The age of knights and chivalry is once more the theme for his latest adaptation, the epic MORTE D ‘ARTHUR. Just as Chaucer provided a rich theatrical event, thanks to the adapting skills of Mike Poulton and the staging skills of Greg Doran (and team of assistants ), so Malory provides -thanks to the same successful partnership -an evening (or matinee!) in the theatre which is equally rich and enjoyable.

Unlike THE CANTERBURY TALES, we now have just one play which lasts with interval three and a quarter hours. An epic indeed, but this production is fast paced, thrilling, spectacular and a feast for the eye.

I shall comment more in later blogs, but it is a nostalgic experience as at times the staging reminds one of both THE HISTORIES in 2006/08 and THE WARS OF THE ROSES in 1963/4.Whilst it is again a splendid company effort, mention must be made of Sam Troughton’s stunning performance as Arthur, beginning as a young man and by the end of a play an aged ruler who still has the strength to fight a battle and as death approaches, to give firm command as to the disposal of his sword, Excalibur.

This “new work from an old book ” has come at the right time of the journey being undertaken by this current ensemble. As with the other new productions this season, Michael Boyd’s visionary plans for an ensemble at work continue to bear much memorable theatrical fruit to be relished again and again. In MORTE D’ARTHUR, every member of the company seizes with relish the splendid dramatic possibilities suggested by the script. It is richly satisfying to see each actor being given a chance to shine and shine they do ! Like the former HISTORIES ensemble, and present ensemble colleagues in KING LEAR and ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, this MORTE D’ARTHUR/ROMEO AND JULIET company provide ensemble work par excellence -just the kind Sir Peter Hall must have envisaged when he founded the RSC fifty years ago.

 Bravo indeed!

by Tony Boyd-Williams

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When Michael Boyd became the company’s  Artistic Director, he said that in time he would like to be able to offer the public an insight into rehearsals. Such a privilege was recently made possible with three sessions at the RSC rehearsal rooms in Arden Street, each entitled THE MORTE D’ARTHUR – AN EXPLORATION. Although my wife and I could only get along to the final session on 1st May, it was an event to be savoured and long remembered.

 Not only did Greg Doran share where the company are with rehearsals and how certain scenes from the book are being staged, but also there was an opportunity to hear from adaptor Mike Poulton and Movement Director Struan Leslie about their input into the project.


The other memorable aspect of the session was to hear Greg in conversation with RSC Advisory Director and legend John Barton about staging fight sequences now and in the early days of the company (John recalled amusing moments when he rehearsed the heavy sword sequences in The Wars of the Roses), as well as the language of Malory and the importance of incorporating certain words into the script. They also discussed the influence of Morte D’Arthur on Shakespeare’s Histories.

It was an additional  treat to hear John Barton reading the latter pages of Malory’s epic work in a way which made it clear why the language of any theatrical presentation is  so important. it will indeed be exciting to see how Malory’s epic is translated into the space of The Courtyard.

 There was quite a buzz of anticipation and enthusiasm as we all left the rehearsal rooms. Many thanks to all who made the events possible and how very generous that they were free.

  Tony Boyd-Williams

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