One evening in 2009, I walked into the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre with my parents. We had arrived to see Julius Caesar. This was not my first experience of Shakespeare in Stratford-Upon-Avon but it was the first that did not result in me returning to a classroom to write an essay.
I had read Self Made Hero’s Shakespeare Manga Julius Caesar in preparation, but nothing can really prepare you for the experience. I was hooked from the moment that the cast took to the stage. The RSC Ensemble were, on this occasion, led by Greg Hicks in the role of Julius Caesar, but a huge part of the charm was that there was not a ‘star’, but an ensemble of very talented actors telling the story of the Emperor of Rome. I left that evening exhilarated with a new appreciation of the Bard (I already loved Romeo and Juliet but that was probably thanks to Baz Luhrmann casting Leo in the film…). It was clear from that moment that nothing could beat seeing these plays on the stage. I was lucky enough to see a number of the plays at the Courtyard with the RSC Ensemble and have never looked back since and now visit the beautiful RSC Theatre.
Over the years, going to the RSC productions have become something of a family tradition. And, if we have not had the same desire to see some of the productions, then I have gone with friends who have a similar passion for the theatre. However, none of us restrict ourselves to the tales of Shakespeare. The wonderful musical ‘Matilda‘ started at the Courtyard and ‘Wendy and Peter Pan’ was a fabulous retelling of J.M Barrie’s classic.
Memories are made each time we visit this wonderful town and its theatre, and I can not wait for the fast-approaching Rome Season and making many more memories.
Top 10 memories (in no particular order – and I have probably still missed something):
- Matilda on a very snowy December day.
- Othello with Hugh Quarshie in the title role and Lucian Msamati as Iago.
- Richard II with David Tennant (and spotting him in the street on the morning of the play).
- Wendy and Peter Pan (on both occasions).
- Love’s Labours Lost, sitting on the same row as Prince Charles.
- Julius Caesar – that first grown-up RSC experience.
- The Merchant of Venice with Sir Patrick Stewart as Shylock.
- Twelfth Night with the very funny Richard Wilson as Malvolio.
- Much Ado About Nothing with Meera Syal and a truly exotic setting.
- The wonderful Hamlet with the award-winning Paapa Essideu in the lead role.