David Tennant playing Richard II is, unsurprisingly, one of the hottest tickets in town – so hot in fact that every performance of his new Shakespeare production has sold out. But before you reach for the nearest box of tissues, take comfort in today’s announcement from the Royal Shakespeare Company that the play will be streamed from Stratford-upon-Avon this November in cinemas around the world.
Co-starring Nigel Lindsay, Michael Pennington and Oliver Ford, Richard II will, on 13 November, become the first RSC production in history to be shown live in cinemas. In addition to the performance, a series of short films will also be released in the run-up to the screening, plus live footage on the night from before the show and during the interval.
Filmed using cameras around the stage and auditorium, the footage will be beamed globally to paying audiences in North America, Australia, Japan and Northern Europe.
In addition to the special cinema screenings, 1,000 UK schools will have the chance to watch the former Time Lord in the classroom when the production is made available for them to stream for free free two days later on 15 November. In addition to the five-act play, the estimated 60,000 lucky students will also have access to a live studio link-up hosted by Konnie Huq, which will feature members of the creative team – including the RSC’s artistic director Gregory Doran and Tennant himself – taking part in a live online Q&A.
Richard II is one of three plays set to be filmed live and made available through live streaming during the next year, with the two subsequent productions set to be announced in September. Speaking of today’s news, Gregory Doran said, “We want to bring the work we make in Stratford-upon-Avon to the widest possible audience…I’m looking forward to these new broadcasts, which are part of our commitment to celebrate our ‘one-room spaces’ in Stratford and capture the thrill of sitting in the audience and experiencing theatre live.”
The show’s producer, John Wyver, added: “Richard II promises to be as thrilling and engrossing an experience on cinema screens as I have no doubt it will be in the theatre.”
The latest production of Richard II was announced in January and will run at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford from 10 October to 16 November, before transferring to the Barbican Theatre until 25 January.