Revolting Women, Roaring Girls and Bloody Men: The RSC in Stratford, 2014

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Heaton, Caroline

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) states that its purpose is to produce “an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers” (2016, online). This purpose has remained largely unchanged since the company's inception in 1961, as has its commitment to maintaining its Stratford-upon-Avon home as the primary base for the delivery of its artistic programme. Within the context of Gregory Doran’s assumption of the Artistic Directorship of the company in 2013, this thesis provides an academic appraisal of the Stratford-upon-Avon productions contained within Doran’s first summer programme as Artistic Director, in 2014. The purpose of this analysis is to explore the ways in which Doran sought to meet the RSC’s continuing stated purpose, as a leading publicly-funded arts institution in the twenty-first century. The Stratford-upon-Avon season from March to October 2014 incorporated all three of the RSC’s play categories, across three performance spaces: Shakespeare in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona), Shakespeare’s contemporaries in the Swan Theatre (badged as the Roaring Girls season), and new writing in The Other Place at the Courtyard Theatre (in a short season entitled Midsummer Mischief). The season thus provided a suitable focus for this critical analysis.\ud THE
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