Gregory Doran to step down as Royal Shakespeare Company Artistic Director from today

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced that Gregory Doran will step down as Artistic Director from today after 35 years with the Company including the last ten years as Artistic Director.

Gregory will begin rehearsals next week for Richard III with Arthur Hughes in the title role and will remain with the Company as Artistic Director Emeritus until the end of 2023.

As Artistic Director Emeritus, Gregory will lead specific projects and direct a production in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre as part of the celebration of Shakespeare’s First Folio in 2023, this will be his 50th production for the RSC. Gregory will also deliver ongoing training for artists on voice and verse throughout the year.

Gregory was announced as Artistic Director in September 2012 and his first production as Artistic Director opened in September 2013 when he reunited with David Tennant, directing him in the title role of Richard II in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The acclaimed production transferred to the Barbican Theatre, London and was the first RSC production to be seen live in cinemas around the world.

Simon Russell Beale & Mark Quartley in The Tempest, 2016. The Royal Shakespeare Company in collaboration with Intel. Directed by Gregory Doran. Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC

Speaking about his decision Gregory said:

‘It has been a real privilege to be a part of the amazing team leading this great Company for this last decade of challenge and achievement. And to work through the entire canon of plays in Shakespeares First Folio in time for its 400th anniversary next year. We have made many strides in making our theatre more inclusive, accessible, diverse and accountable, but there is always more to do and I wish whoever succeeds me joy in continuing that work. I am honoured to have been granted the title of Artistic Director Emeritus until the end of 2023’.

Antony Sher in Henry IV, March 2014, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, directed by Gregory Doran. Photo by Kwame Lestrade © RSC

Gregory has led the Company through the journey of Shakespeare’s canon throughout his decade as Artistic Director. As well as being performed live on stage, the productions have been screened in cinemas worldwide and shared free with schools across the UK as well as extensive accompanying resources. He championed the Company’s nationwide activity working alongside 12 Partner Theatres and their communities including a strong network of Associate Schools.

In his 2018 production of Troilus and Cressida he collaborated with virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. The production boasted the RSC’s first equally gender-balanced cast in a Shakespeare play on the main stage, and the first disabled actor to play a leading Shakespeare role for the Company with deaf actor Charlotte Arrowsmith as Cassandra.

Gregory has directed Measure For Measure (2019), the revival of his celebrated puppet Masque Venus and Adonis (2017) and King Lear with Antony Sher in the title role (2016).  He led the Company’s digital innovation with a ground-breaking production of The Tempest with Simon Russell Beale created with Intel and in association with Imaginarium Studios. Henry V (2015), Henry IV Parts I & II which went on an international tour to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong prior to a month-long residency at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music, joined by Richard II.

In 2016 Gregory directed the Shakespeare Live! broadcast on the BBC and which marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Many RSC alumni joined the line-up including Ian McKellen, David Tennant, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart and Paapa Essiedu alongside the Company’s President HRH The Prince of Wales. The performance was nominated for a 2017 BAFTA for Best Live Event.

In June 2012 Gregory received the Sam Wanamaker Award from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, an annual award that recognises and celebrates work which has increased the understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare. He delivered the 2016 Richard Dimbleby Lecture, which was broadcast on 16 March 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death

Gregory nurtured new voices across all RSC activity and during his leadership The Other Place re-opened, under the direction of Erica Whyman, as a hub for new writing. The iconic RSC Costume Workshop was redeveloped and restored re-opening in 2021, an example of the craftmanship that exists and is at the core of the RSC.

Gregory led the Company through the Covid-19 pandemic alongside Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon.  Work during this time of theatre closure included co-directing the streamed open rehearsal project of Henry VI Part I alongside Owen Horsley and in-conversation streamed events for Talking Shakespeare with many RSC alumni including Ian McKellen, Harriet Walter, Patrick Stewart, Paterson Joseph and Adjoa Andoh.

The Winter’s Tale was reimagined for the screen, filmed in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and broadcast on BBC Four, then on iPlayer, and The Comedy of Errors performed outdoors in the specially created Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre.

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