Norwich Theatre is proud to announce it has become an Associate Partner Theatre of Royal Shakespeare Company [RSC]. The formal partnership will provide more opportunities to enjoy world-class Shakespeare productions in Norfolk, plus forge even stronger bonds to engage with schools and community groups across the region.
A key objective of RSC is to combine its successful national tours of work with local engagement projects. Over the past few years, Norwich Theatre has welcomed many RSC productions, including Romeo and Juliet, and the very special A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was directed by Erica Whyman and had a strong local community cast. As part of its commitment to touring, RSC utilises its Associate Theatres – which now includes Norwich Theatre – to understand the community they are visiting and the potential to use Shakespeare as a tool to tell local, personal stories. Plans are already in place for a huge new tour next year, to be announced in late September.
As part of the new partnership, Norwich Theatre will join the Associate Schools Programme, with The Wensum Trust who are the Lead Associate Schools. Beginning in September this year, it will mean being able to offer young people the most engaging and joyful experiences of Shakespeare and live theatre possible, by providing resources for teachers, workshops for pupils, and small scale shows called First Encounters.
Norwich Theatre has been collaborating with RSC for a number of years. With programmes such as the three-year Shakespeare Nation, it has reached out to adult communities around the county who would not normally have access to live performance – creating opportunities for people to experience the thrill of Shakespeare and build a life-long relationship with theatre. The new partnership will make further community work possible.
Erica Whyman, Acting Artistic Director of Royal Shakespeare Company said:
“At RSC, we are really, really proud of our national relationship with theatres in the different regions in England. We are proud because we have worked very hard to make sure that they are meaningful, long-term and seriously mutual relationships.
“This partnership with Norwich is really special. We both believe that the role of the theatre company is to ensure everyone has access to creativity, because creativity can help us all to find resilience, to find our community, find friendship and also understand the world.
“As a national Shakespeare organisation we have special responsibilities to make sure Shakespeare is enjoyable for everyone and means something to everyone. And without our partnerships across the country we would not be able to be properly national, to mean something in communities on the ground.
“Norwich Theatre are inspirational collaborators, and the RSC are much richer for our collaboration with you.”
“We have worked in partnership with the RSC’s Learning and National Partnerships team and welcomed tours to our theatres for a number of years. Our audiences love to see RSC tours come to Norwich and we are proud to bring world-class Shakespeare to the region for local people to enjoy. We have been delighted to partner on all of this fantastic work together.
“Formalising our partnership to include being the Associate Partner Theatre for the region as part of their Associate Schools Programme is the next natural step for all of the collaborative work we do together.
“It is a real privilege to work alongside such talented and passionate creatives who share our values of the use of creative for enjoyment, engagement and social change. We are so excited to see where this journey takes us next.”