Royal Shakespeare Company Returns To Chicago After 25 Year Absence

Company members from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Taming of the Shrew. Photo by Ikin Yum (c) RSC

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is proud to welcome the return of the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to Chicago for the first time in nearly 25 years. Chicago Shakespeare will present the company’s acclaimed gender-swapped production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrewdirected by Justin Audibert, in a special limited engagement April 15–May 2, 2020 in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare.

Chicago is one of only four cities worldwide to land the highly coveted tour. Following its North American Premiere at Chicago Shakespeare, the production will tour to The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.—and then to the National Theater Company of Korea in Seoul, South Korea, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre in Japan.

Royal Shakespeare Company Artistic Director Gregory Doran shared, “This new production of The Taming of the Shrew places contemporary audiences at its heart and speaks directly to the present moment. We have brought together talent from all corners of the United Kingdom, reflecting both the ethnic, geographical and cultural diversity of Britain today and those artists that are underrepresented on our stages. We’re thrilled to be sharing this vital work with audiences in Chicago.”

Chicago Shakespeare’s long-standing relationship with the RSC began when the Theater was invited to take part in the historic, first-ever Complete Works Festival in 2006—a year-long celebration of the Shakespeare canon. One of only three U.S. companies featured at the Festival, Chicago Shakespeare presented Artistic Director Barbara Gaines’ production of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 in the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, alongside productions from the RSC and the world’s most respected companies. Barbara Gaines said, “We are deeply proud to continue our decades-long partnership with the RSC with this inventive and boundary-crossing new look at Shakespeare’s provocative comedy. We are honored to fulfill our mission of bringing the world’s best artists to Chicago and elevating the profile of the global and creative city that we call home.”

After thrilling audiences in Stratford-upon-Avon and on a tour across the UK, the RSC’s powerfully reimagined The Taming of the Shrew is a must-see theatrical event of 2020. Set in a matriarchal world where women hold all the power, Shakespeare’s comedy of gender and materialism is turned on its head. By putting the women in charge, the shift in power dynamics sets off an explosive battle of the sexes in this electrically charged love story. The Evening Standard gave it four stars, hailing it “a landmark production…juicy, delightful, sumptuous.” The Times called it “deftly provocative and exuberantly entertaining.”

The set for The Taming of the Shrew is designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis with costume design by Hannah Clark and lighting design by Matt Peel. Music is composed by Ruth Chan, sound design by Claire Windsor, and movement by Lucy Cullingford. Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown are the production’s fight choreographers.

For more information, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/rsc or engage on social at #RSCinChicago.

Chicago Shakespeare strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Taming of the Shrew include:

  • ASL Duo-interpreted Performance – Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
    All dialogue and lyrics are translated into American Sign Language by two certified interpreters.
  • Open-captioned Performances – Friday, May 1, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
    A text display of the words and sounds heard during a play, synced live with the action onstage.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Taming of the Shrew, April 15–May 2, 2020 in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Single tickets ($58–$105) are on sale now. Special discounts will be available for groups of 10 or more. For more information, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.

ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be—a company that defies theatrical category. This Regional Tony Award-winning theater’s year-round season features as many as twenty productions and 650 performances—including plays, musicals, world premieres, family programming, and presentations from around the globe. Chicago Shakespeare is the city’s leading presenter of international work, and has toured its own productions across five continents. The Theater’s nationally acclaimed arts in literacy programs support the work of teachers, and bring Shakespeare to life on stage for tens of thousands of students annually. Each summer, the company tours a free professional production to neighborhood parks across Chicago. In 2017 the Theater unveiled The Yard, which, together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs, positions Chicago Shakespeare as Chicago’s most versatile performing arts center.

ABOUT THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY
The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world. We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers. We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre. We reach 530,000 children and young people annually through our education work, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online. Everyone at the RSC – from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians – plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. All our productions begin life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring them to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town. Registered charity no. 212481 rsc.org.uk.

The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and The Kovner Foundation.