Wednesday, November 22, 2006

RSC backs new writing

The Royal Shakespeare Company, keeper of the flame of the greatest playwright ever, plans to "knock Shakespeare off his podium", according to artistic director Michael Boyd, by increasing the proportion of new plays it stages to half of its total work.

"What is distinctive about the Royal Shakespeare Company is the relationship between the Renaissance and writing now," said Mr Boyd. "What excites me is the tension line between the 16th century and the present. New plays are more important than classical revivals."

The playwrights Marina Carr, Leo Butler and Roy Williams have all been recently commissioned by the RSC. But in a more far-reaching move, writers will be "embedded" within the company. The first of these, Adriano Shaplin, will be working with the actors who are preparing Shakespeare's history plays, all eight of which will be in the repertoire by spring 2008. The idea is for authors to write plays with a specific ensemble in mind, just as Shakespeare did. "It's a radical idea; but it is also our heritage," Mr Boyd said.
More from Charlotte Higgins in The Guardian.

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