Who Does What & Where

Before I begin today, I would like to say that I have added 5 new sources to the Key Resources page of Reading Room – very diverse, both in terms of content and origin, and chock full of really useful information on virtually all aspects of performance.

Now to the meat of the post.  The Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK are in the process of staging Richard II and are keeping a video production diary. I am sharing them as a great insight into the professional production process. Obviously the context is the staging of a particular play, but the processes are universal in any large theatre.

In the first video, the director Gregory Doran explains how he’s approaching the play, ideas for the design and introduces his cast.


In this the second, Emma Hamilton who plays the Queen, describes the first day of rehearsals, including the welcome games they play to help break the ice and build rapport between the actors. She explains how the show’s Director Gregory Doran is beginning to help them explore their characters and also explains some of the historical truth behind Richard’s Queen.


In the third of the series, Historian Helen Castor visits Westminster Hall, one of the last surviving parts of the Palace of Westminster, with the cast and creatives of Richard II. She explains how Richard II transformed Westminster Hall, and talks about we can understand Richard the man, and Shakespeare’s vision of him.


In number four, the RSC head of Voice, Lyn Darnley, shows how she helps the actors in Richard II develop their posture, breathing and articulation, as well as bringing together the physical voice with the language and text of the play.


The fifth in the series we meet Professor Jim Shapiro who sits in on week five of rehearsals for Richard II. He talks about treason, censorship and seditious material in ‘a radioactive play’, which was both shocking and highly topical for audiences when it was written, and six years later sparked an uprising.


In video 6, the latest one released, Alistair McArthur, Head of Costume, shows the process of making costumes for Richard II. He leads a tour of the costume department, through painting and dyeing, on to footwear and armoury and finally into the hats and jewellery team.


There are 6 more of these videos to come. If you are interested in looking in more detail at the production you can by clicking the image below.


Burying Brecht?

I recently came across a great way of sharing audio streams,  soundcloud.com. A lot of theatres and practitioners are using it as a way of sharing panel discussions. I have set up a sister site to this one so I can add to the diversity of what I post here. I won’t always duplicate posts or what I subscribe to on soundcloud so check it out occasionally to see what I have re-posted. You can find Theatre Room Asia on soundcloud here.

I am going to share a great one today, which is a panel discussion of German and English theatre practitioners on the relevance of Bertolt Brecht and Brechtian theatre in the modern theatrical landscape.


To coincide with our production of A Life of Galileo, and in collaboration with the Goethe Institute in London, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) hosted a ‘Brecht Meeting’ of British and German theatre makers in March 2013.
Chaired by Mark Ravenhill (RSC playwright in residence and writer of our new English version of A Life of Galileo), we explored the relevance (if any) that Brecht has for us as contemporary theatre makers.

Has Brecht now become a familiar ‘classic’, who can be produced in the same way that we might play Shakespeare or Schiller?

Does he still present challenges that allow us to ask important questions in the making of new theatre?

Should we bury his work and move on as though he never happened?


And if would like to, you hear an interview with the director of A Life of Galileo, Roxana Silbert, with journalist Paul Allen.