"RSC to leave Barbican

"RSC to leave Barbican

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)is to scale down operations at the Barbican Centre and mount productions in a wider range of theatres as part of a major overhaul next year.

Instead of creating a season of plays which transfer from Stratford to London, a more flexible model will involve a number of smaller companies opening plays throughout the year in a variety of West End venues.However, the company still intends to stage some productions at the Barbican.

Actors will perform with shorter contracts. The current structure of the RSC, where actors must commit to a lengthy contract in order to perform with the company, is a deterrent to many actors and directors, says the RSC.

To illustrate the potential of the new operating model, RSC Artistic Director Adrian Noble announced plans to stage a promenade performance of Shakespeare's Pericles and a production of Ibsen's Brand (with Ralph Fiennes) in the West End. The RSC is also currently exploring the transfer of two new plays - A Russian in the Woods by Peter Whelan and The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh - from The Other Place theatre in Stratford to the West End next Spring.

The RSC's Artistic Director, Adrian Noble said: "This country has some great arts institutions, but if we are going to keep them fresh and relevant to future generations we have to break the mould occasionally and give artists the space to experiment and innovate.

The crucial thing about the process we have embarked on is that it gives us the flexibility to stage bold and original theatre. We want to put on Shakespeare right in the heart of the West End. We want to produce great new plays not just in small studio spaces, but in larger venues where more people can see them. And through the Academy we want to continue to support classical actors and directors of the future - to offer a unique training ground to the next Judi Dench or Antony Sher."

However, theatre unions were not happy saying that there will be around a 100 job losses and says it amounts to "cultural vandalism".

The RSC has been the resident theatre company at the Barbican since 1982.

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