Posts Tagged ‘Morte d’Arthur’

Tuesday 24 August 2010, 1.15pm -4.30pm
The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

For those of you with some time on Tuesday –
The RSC are looking for volunteers to be audience members as they film selected scenes for a trailer of the production of

Morte d’Arthur: The legend of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.

A limited number of FREE tickets are available for this special event – don’t miss your opportunity to take part and get a glimpse of how they create film footage of our productions.


The filming will take place in the auditorium of The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, from 1.15 to 4.30pm on Tuesday 24 August.

Anyone aged 18 or over can take part and tickets are free, but you must book your place through the RSC Box Office.

Call 0844 800 1110 now to secure your place

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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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