Friday, April 21, 2006


Two years ago the RSC was just beginning to emerge from one of the more turbulent periods in its history. It had fled from the Barbican, had an unhappy season at The Roundhouse, run up a substantial deficit, and its plans to build an entirely new theatre in Stratford had been received with less than utter rapture.

However, in May 2004 there was a new team - a new Artistic Director, Michael Boyd, a new Executive Director, Vikki Heywood, a new Finance Director, Andrew Parker, and a new Chairman, me. The RSC was just beginning to find its feet creatively, and had made a healthy financial surplus. Ambitious plans were being developed for the transformation of the RSC's Stratford theatres, including the building of a 1,000 seat temporary theatre, The Courtyard, on the TOP car park, and a £100 million fund-raising programme was about to begin. The RSC had re-established itself in London. It was clearly a time for caution and consolidation.

Michael clearly recalled the attitude of Marshal Foch at the battle of the Marne in 1914, "Hard pressed on my right. My centre is yielding. Impossible to manoeuvre. Situation excellent. I am attacking".

So he presented a proposal to perform the Complete Works of William Shakespeare in a single year, with the RSC supported by visiting companies from across Britain and all over the world. A brave RSC Board enthusiastically supported the proposal, allocated £3 million from reserves to cover the cost, Deborah Shaw was soon afterwards appointed as Producer, and the rest is rapidly becoming history


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4:48 PM  

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