‘I will first be there’

26th August 2013

Rehearsals for Richard II start tomorrow, so this week’s blog is, as it were, a little previous. (New readers should know that I am producing the Live from Stratford-upon-Avon cinema broadcast of the production on 13 November, and I am chronicling the journey towards that in regular posts on Mondays.) The past week has seen a lot of preparation across all departments but the company will only come together for the first time on Tuesday. As far as the filming goes, Chris McGill at Dusthouse has been editing the trailer, which is exciting, and we have been working with Greg Doran on the first of the production diary films. Look out for that on Friday. Also this week the RSC confirmed the full cast for the production, and I have included that, along with some further notes, below.

Cast for Richard II:

Elliot Barnes-Worrell: Groom
Antony Byrne: Mowbray
Sean Chapman: Northumberland
Oliver Ford Davies: Duke of York
Marty Cruickshank: Duchess of York
Gracy Goldman: Lady in Waiting
Marcus Griffiths: Greene
Emma Hamilton: The Queen
Jim Hooper: Bishop of Carlisle
Youssef Kerkour: Willoughby
Jane Lapotaire: Duchess of Gloucester
Nigel Lindsay: Bolingbroke
Jake Mann: Bagot
Sam Marks: Bushy
Miranda Nolan: Lady in Waiting
Keith Osborn: Scroop
Michael Pennington: John of Gaunt
Joshua Richards: Ross/Lord Marshall
Oliver Rix: Aumerle
David Tennant: Richard II
Simon Thorp: Salisbury
Edmund Wiseman: Harry Percy

From the estimable if design-eccentric database of RSC productions at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (which isn’t totally up to date, so apologies for any mistakes), we can discover that Elliot Barnes-Worrell, Sean Chapman, Marcus Griffiths, Emma Hamilton, Nigel Lindsay, Jake Mann, Miranda Nolan, Simon Thorp and Edmund Wiseman are RSC debutants. Each of the other cast members has worked with the RSC before, a number of them on many occasions.

Antony Byrne first played with the RSC in The Phoenician Women and Julius Caesar in 1995. He was part of the ‘Jacobethan’ company in 2002, which Greg Doran drew together, and appeared then in Edward III, The Roman Actor and The Island Princess.

Oliver Ford Davies has an immensely distinguished career with the RSC that began, as far as I can discover, in early 1975 when he took the role of Montjoy in Terry Hands’ production of Henry V. He was, of course, Polonius in the 2008 Hamlet.

Marty Cruickshank is returning to RSC for the first time since 2001 when she was Gertrude in Steven Pimlott’s production of Hamlet.

Gracy Goldman was a member of the company that played the three late romances, Pericles, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, at both the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and London’s Roundhouse in 2002.

Jim Hooper was in the company that gave Hamlet and Love’s Labours Lost in 2008, when David Tennant was Hamlet and Berowne. His work with the RSC stretches back to Hamlet in 1984, when he played Reynaldo in Ron Daniels’ production of Hamlet.

Youssef Kerkour was in Galileo earlier this year, during which he contributed a rich sequence of blog posts.

Jane Lapotaire has played a number of major roles for the RSC, including Edith Piaf in Pam Gems’ play Piaf (1979-81). In 1974 she was Viola in Twelfth Night and Sonya in Uncle Vanya, and she played Gertrude in Adrian Noble’s production of Hamlet in 1993-94. She last performed with the RSC in the staging of The Rape of Lucrece that Greg Doran presented as part of the Complete Works Festival in 2006-07.

Sam Marks was in Greg Doran’s recent production of David Edgar’s Written on the Heart and Roxana Silbert’s Measure for Measure.

Keith Osborn has a strong association with the RSC stretching back to 1985. He was in the ‘Jacobethans’ company in 2002 and played in The Taming of the Shrew and John Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed in 2003-04. His diary of the 2008 Hamlet production, Something Written in the State of Denmark, is an immensely engaging – and educative – read.

Michael Pennington first played with the RSC in 1965 when he was Fortinbras in Peter Hall’s landmark Hamlet with David Warner in the title role. He played Hamlet himself for director John Barton in 1980 and his record with the company is long and immensely distinguished. His most recent appearance with the RSC was as the narrator in Greg Doran’s totally delightful staging of Venus and Adonis with The Little Angel Puppet Theatre in 2004.

Joshua Richards has worked with the RSC on numerous occasions The Canterbury Tales directed by Gregory Doran and Jonathan Mumby, Edward III directed by Anthony Clark, The Roman Actor directed by Sean Holmes, Henry IV directed by Michael Attenborough, As You Like It directed by Gregory Doran and Henry V directed by Edward Hall.

Oliver Rix made his RSC debut as Cardenio in Greg Doran’s production of the eponymous “lost play by Shakespeare”.

David Tennant first worked with the RSC in 1996 when he was Touchstone in As You Like It directed by Steven Pimlott and had a role in Peter Whelan’s play The Herbal Bed. He played Romeo in the tale of the star-crossed lovers in 2000, he was Lysander and Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2001), and then of course Hamlet in 2008 as well as Berowne in Love’s Labours Lost in the same season.

Many of the cast are on Twitter, including @EliotBWords, @gravygold@MMGriffiths1,
@EmmaJHamilton,@YoussefKerkour@NigelLindsay1@JakeSMann and @MirandaNolan01.

For more news about Richard II follow @TheRSC and for updates on the cinema broadcast Live from Stratford-upon-Avon follow @liveSUA.

The RSC Facebook page is here and the Live from Stratford-upon-Avon page here. Go here for the dedicated Live from Stratford-upon-Avon website.

Image: Romeo and Juliet, with David Tennant and Alexander Gilbreath, photot: Bob Workman/RSC, 2000.


  1. Gail says:

    And so it begins 🙂
    I’m short on time this morning, but I’m so excited that I had to leave a comment! It’s such a privilege to be able to follow this process via your blog, John – thank you 🙂

  2. Helene says:

    Here’s hoping that you will, once again, be posting your daily blogs, which are so much fun to follow. Best wishes, John.

  3. Helene says:

    Ooops. Just read your opening comments to learn that — Yes! — it appears that you will be documenting everything daily! Thanks!

  4. John Wyver says:

    Helene, I will certainly do some daily blog posts but not until much closer to the broadcast on 13 November. It all feels a bit too early at the moment.

  5. Kelsey says:

    Do you happen to know when they might release the locations of screenings in the US? I’d hate to miss this! Also, is there any possibility of doing a film version like you did for Hamlet? Thanks!

    • John Wyver says:

      There will definitely be US screenings, and a first list of the locations will be released soon. I will let people know about this here and via @Illuminations, and both of the RSC Twitter feeds mentioned above will also announce this. As for a DVD version, well let’s see…
      Thanks for your interest.

  6. Elissa says:

    I’m in a rural area of the US and would LOVE for a region 1 DVD available for purchase. I’d say stick it on iTunes for purchase but I’m still bitter that I cannot purchase “The Politician’s Husband” on iTunes US. I can get it on iTunes UK, but since I live in the US, I’m unable to purchase. Thank you for your dedication to this blog!

  7. Karen M says:

    So good to see so many familiar faces back at The RSC especially Oliver Rix, who was excellent as Cardenio . I do love the history plays. Loved King John and Richard III last year so looking forward to seeing Richard II.

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