On the heels of the announcement of London’s new, all-female acting company, Dangerous Space, and the Royal Court’s majority female season, we have some more positive theater news from the UK. Per The Guardian, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has revealed that women will helm all the plays at its two main theaters during the summer 2018 season. Polly Findlay, Erica Whyman, Fiona Laird, Maria Aberg, and Jo Davies have all been tapped for the RSC’s first-ever all-women-directed lineup.
According to RSC artistic director Gregory Doran, there was no plan to feature solely female directors in the summer 2018 season. Instead, he told The Guardian, the company had “reached a point where those women directors had been with us and had grown, developed.”
Findlay, Whyman, and Laird will each take on a Shakespeare play next summer, a RSC press release details. Findlay will direct “The Leftovers” actor Christopher Eccleston as the titular scheming, violent king in “Macbeth.” Whyman will reframe the famous tale of star-crossed lovers, “Romeo and Juliet,” as a political story. It’s “about a group of grown ups who have let their young people down quite profoundly,” Whyman told The Guardian. Finally, Laird will take the reins on the comedy “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”
Doran selected “Macbeth,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “The Merry Wives,” some of the Bard’s most popular works, “as part of a string of RSC initiatives to encourage a passion for Shakespeare in young people,” the source writes.
Whyman will also be directing on a non-Shakespeare production, the new musical “Miss Littlewood.” It tells the story of Joan Littlewood, “the anarchic revolutionary of 20th century theater.” “Born into poverty, she raged her way to have lasting influence on British culture,” the RSC summarizes. “Anti-establishment, communist, visionary, rude, and glorious, Joan fired the imagination of a generation.”
Aberg will helm John Webster’s 1612 tragedy “The Duchess of Malfi,” a story loosely based on the actual Duchess and the confrontation she has with her brothers after they prevent her from marrying for love. Davies is set to direct “The Fantastic Follies of Mrs. Rich,” based on Mary Pix’s “The Beau Defeated,” a comedy about a widow trying to rise through society’s ranks.
Head over to the RSC’s website for more information on its summer 2018 season.
Women to Direct Royal Shakespeare Company’s Entire Summer 2018 Season was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.