After a good few months of preparation the Royal Shakespeare Company reveals today that it is to begin live cinema broadcasts of selected productions from Stratford-upon-Avon. The first screening will be of Gregory Doran’s production of Richard II with David Tennant on Wednesday 13 November; at least two further productions will follow in 2014. You can register for further information here and also find out which cinemas are currently confirmed, although many more will be added over the coming months. And did I mention I’m producing the broadcast? For this I’m working not directly with Illuminations (although my relationship with the company remains as strong as ever) but for the RSC where I am also newly installed as the company’s Media Associate. I am very very excited about all this. Across the jump is an edited version of today’s press release – and you can confidently expect to follow the production’s progress in future posts.
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) announced today that it is collaborating with Picturehouse Entertainment on ‘Live from Stratford-upon-Avon’, a new programme to screen its productions live from Shakespeare’s home town, and will work with Ravensbourne College to stream the production straight to UK schools.
The first live broadcast will be the Company’s forthcoming production of Richard II, directed by RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, with David Tennant in the title role, which opens in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) this October. The production will be filmed during the performance in the RST on 13 November 2013 and simultaneously screened into over 100 cinemas around the country and available in North America, Australia, Japan and Northern Europe. The RSC is also opening up its work behind the scenes, through a series of short films available online during the run-up to the screening and live footage on the night, before the show and during the interval.
The production will be filmed using multiple cameras around the stage and auditorium, with John Wyver as producer, having previously collaborated with Gregory Doran on the RSC’s highly acclaimed filmed versions of Macbeth, with Antony Sher and Harriet Walter, for Channel 4 and Hamlet, with David Tennant, and the recent African Julius Caesar for the BBC.
Richard II was announced by Gregory Doran in January and plays in Stratford from 10 October to 16 November, before it transfers into the Barbican Theatre until 25 January next year. It will be the first of three RSC Shakespeare plays to be filmed live during the next year, and is the start of an on-going programme to make the Company’s work more available to a nationwide and global audience. The next two titles will be announced in September 2013.
The Company is also offering a unique opportunity to schools across the UK to experience Richard II in the classroom on 15 November 2013, building on the success of its first direct-to-the-classroom interactive stream last year.
The production will be streamed direct into up to 1000 schools, reaching an estimated 60,000 students through a collaboration with Ravensbourne College and the Janet Network. It will be accompanied by a live studio link-up hosted by Konnie Huq, who will introduce the webcast. Members of the creative team, including Gregory Doran and David Tennant, will also be on hand to take part in a live online Q&A with participating students. Alongside the webcast, the RSC will create 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.
Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said today; “We want to bring the work we make in Stratford-upon-Avon to the widest possible audience. Taking our productions live into cinemas and direct into schools is the next logical step. We will start with Richard II.
‘I have enjoyed a long and creative relationship with John Wyver and his company, Illuminations, working on filmed versions of my past RSC productions of Macbeth, Hamlet and Julius Caesar, and I’m looking forward to these new broadcasts, which are part of our commitment to celebrate our ‘one-room spaces’ in Stratford and capture the thrill of sitting in the audience and experiencing theatre live.
‘Through a brand new partnership with Picturehouse Entertainment, who have a great track record in screening the arts live, we can share the RSC’s contemporary interpretations of our house playwright across the UK and around the world, direct from Shakespeare’s home town.
‘Our on-going relationship with Ravensbourne College and the Janet Network also allows us to give a thousand schools the chance to get involved and experience one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays live in the classroom.”
John Wyver, RSC Media Associate, said: ‘I am delighted to continue the work begun on earlier collaborations of creating ambitious screen versions of RSC stage productions. Richard II promises to be as thrilling and engrossing an experience on cinema screens as I have no doubt it will be in the theatre.’
Marc Allenby, Head of Commercial Development at Picturehouse, said ‘We have consistently been at the forefront of new developments in Alternative Content and are really excited to be part of this project. We are looking forward to working with the RSC to bring their renowned Shakespearian productions to cinemas around the world.’
James Morris, Subject Leader for Web Media at Ravensbourne, said ‘Ravensbourne is extremely excited about working with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Janet again. Our previous project together broke new ground and was an extremely beneficial experience for the Ravensbourne students involved. We’re relishing the chance to bring Shakespeare to thousands of UK schoolchildren in a new and engaging way.