This weekend join us in Stratford-upon-Avon for three more events celebrating the history of the RSC.

Howard Davies: The Place, The Other Place and The Warehouse
Saturday 26 November, 10am
Swan Theatre, £8
Howard Davies, director of productions including Les Liaisons Dangereuses, was the catalyst for big changes at the RSC. The (Donmar) Warehouse first opened in 1976, modelled on The Other Place in Stratford, under his visionary leadership. The Warehouse played host to some of the most important and urgent new plays of the 1970s and 1980s. Howard will be talking about his work to Chris Campbell, Literary Manager of the Royal Court Theatre.

A Celebration: Educating Rita
Sunday 27 November, 11.30am
Swan Theatre, £15
Educating Rita was commisioned and premiered by the RSC in 1980 and went on to becoming one of the nation’s best loved stories. Join Willy Russell as he talks to Company Dramaturg Jeanie O’Hare about how Educating Rita made it onto the stage at the RSC.

In Conversation: Adrian Noble
Sunday 27 November, 7.30pm
Swan Theatre, £15
Adrian Noble, RSC Artistic Director 1990-2003, talks to Michael Attenborough about his time with the Company. Adrian’s productions for the Company include The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Plantagenets and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, later turned into a successful film.

To book, call the RSC Ticket Hotline on 0844 800 1110 or book online at www.rsc.org.uk/rsc50events

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by David Stevens, RSC Friend Stratford-upon-Avon


The City Madam is receiving great reviews from all who have been to see the production. I very much enjoyed the opening night and can’t wait to go again when they will have done a bit of tweaking here and there. There were excellent performances by Jo Stone-Fewings, Nick Day, Alex Hassall and Sara Crowe. For me the highlight was the wonderful performance by Chris Godwin who was just brilliant as Sir John Frugal.  A lovely production- just what you need when you are feeling sad. Super set designed by Tom Piper and fabulous costumes. I loved the ending and really felt sorry for Chris and Nick having to wear those high heels. Almost forgot Pippa Nixon who played Shave’em played her part in this marvellous satire.



 We enjoyed the script-in-hand performance and were very impressed by the cast. It is hoped that they will now have a further full production. The Q&A, after the reading, was very much of interest to those of us who stayed. Christopher Hampton explained how he had adapted the original novel. The great advantage for him was that in the original scandalous book by Choderlos de Laclos there was no dialogue, just a series of letters.. Hence Christopher was able to adapt and write a brilliant play. He talked about the original production which was premiered by the RSC at The Other Place in 1985, directed by Howard Davies with a superb cast. This play went on to success in London and Broadway. The play has won many awards. Sadly I never saw the original but did see the film in 1988. There is a lot of hope that the play will be produced again in the West End and to this end Kim Poster of Stanhope productions is endeavouring to ensure this happens. I hope they consider the same director, as for the script-in-hand adaptation shown here- Gérald Garutti- as it is understood that Howard Davies has declined. Oh please have Raymond Coulthard who was brilliant as Le Vicomte de Valmont. Indeed the entire cast if available would be great – Una Stubbs who I first saw 48 years ago was so good and also Rachael Stirling should be applauded for the difficult part of La Marquise De Merteuil. The play is about a sophisticated couple who have sexual affairs with others and then share their experiences with the other. There was one rule never to fall in love. The play of course results in Le Vicomte de Valmont falling in love and Merteuil declaring war on him. The novel was written just before the French Revolution so it is somewhat to say the least about decadence of the nobility and very political.

Yes it about using sex as a weapon to humiliate others but it also about decadence and war.

Please bring the play to Stratford again first.  It was a privilege to have been there and to have listened to the genius of Christopher Hampton afterwards. Gosh the RSC are really spoiling us with their 50 birthday celebrations.

by David Stevens

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