The Ohio State University and the Royal Shakespeare Company Expand Partnership
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University and the UK’s Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) announced today a new, major expansion of their initial three-year collaboration, supporting Ohio State’s aspiration to be a destination for the innovative teaching, research and performance of Shakespeare.
The new agreement will:
*Enhance innovative K-12 teacher training and expand the program’s reach beyond the 4,000 Central Ohio K-12 students and their teachers engaged by Ohio State during the initial three year partnership. This program is inspired by RSC’s Stand Up For Shakespeare manifesto: Start It Early, See it Live and Do it on Your Feet, promoting active teaching methods which are drawn directly from the RSC’s rehearsal room practice.
*Bring more of the RSC’s work to the U.S. and support the continuation of the RSC’s co-productions with some of America’s leading theatre makers and artists.
The announcement was made by Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee and Catherine Mallyon, executive director of the RSC, at the Columbus Metropolitan Club, where members of the RSC ensemble and acting company from Stratford Upon Avon performed a 20-minute edited version of King Lear to celebrate the start of its two-week Ohio State residency of Young People’s Shakespeare performances and associated workshops, at the university’s Drake Performance Center.
In attendance were Abigail and Leslie Wexner, whose generous support was instrumental in creating the original RSC/Ohio State partnership three years ago and are the lead donors for the new collaboration.
“We are at once humbled and overjoyed by the impact the Ohio State-Royal Shakespeare Company collaboration has had on the lives of faculty, students, and thousands of school children,” said Abigail and Leslie Wexner. “The unexpected beauty has been watching this partnership grow even beyond our highest hopes, and it is an honor to be able to formally extend the collaboration through this new presenting partnership.”
The first RSC production to be seen in the U.S. under this new arrangement will arrive this spring, when the company collaborates with Ohio State to present the RSC’s acclaimed production of Julius Caesar. Set in contemporary Africa and directed by the RSC’s new artistic director, Gregory Doran, Julius Caesar will have its U.S. premiere at The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) Harvey Theater, April 10-28, 2013; it will then travel to Columbus, to play May 1-5, at the Southern Theatre. Columbus performances are being presented by Ohio State and the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA).
Julius Caesar first opened in Stratford-upon-Avon, then transferred to London's West End and later toured around the UK, before traveling to Moscow in November this year.
Additional RSC productions and projects to be included in this collaboration are in development and will be announced soon.
“We are thrilled to build upon our unique and entrepreneurial relationship with the acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company,” said E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State. “By bringing these two world class institutions together, we expand the university’s artistic engagement beyond our campus borders, beyond Ohio, beyond the United States.”
“Today we renew our relationship to make the teaching, research and performance of Shakespeare a key priority at Ohio State and to help bring the joy and inspiration of RSC productions to more people across the country.”
Gregory Doran, RSC artistic director, said: “I am delighted that we are announcing today an expansion of our unique relationship with The Ohio State University. I am particularly proud that this collaboration contains a continuing commitment on both sides to support the training of teachers who teach Shakespeare. In addition, the RSC will explore with performers and educators in both the UK and the U.S. how we can play a meaningful role in production, training and research programs such as this. This expanded collaboration will be a model of best practice in these three interconnected areas.”
“I am also delighted that New York and Ohio audiences will have the chance to see some more of our work so soon after our 2011 New York residency and honored the new collaboration will begin with my own production of Julius Caesar.”
“The inspiration for an African setting for Julius Caesar came from Nelson Mandela. He autographed lines from the play in a copy of Shakespeare’s works while on Robben Island. The South African actor, John Kani, described Julius Caesar as ‘Shakespeare’s African play.’ It is fantastic that we can share it with American audiences at BAM and in Ohio in Spring 2013, just as we open Matilda The Musical on Broadway with our producing partners, The Dodgers.”
Catherine Mallyon, RSC executive director, said: “From the very beginning of this evolving partnership, The Ohio State University has demonstrated a bold entrepreneurial spirit and a unique commitment to the teaching, study and performance of Shakespeare. RSC looks forward to sharing artistic talent, intellectual endeavor, research and skills in exciting and collaborative ways that will add meaningful programs and new success to both institutions.”
BAM executive producer, Joseph V. Melillo said: "BAM’s rich and longstanding relationship with the RSC began in 1971 with Peter Brook’s legendary A Midsummer Night's Dream and most recently brought wonderful productions of King Lear and The Seagull to our stages in 2007. We look forward to presenting the U.S. premiere engagement of this visionary production of Julius Caesar, and welcome Gregory Doran and the RSC in their new partnership with The Ohio State University.”
“CAPA is delighted to join forces with Ohio State in presenting the Royal Shakespeare Company’s groundbreaking production of Julius Caesar,” stated CAPA President and CEO Bill Conner. “This is the definitive production of this play for this generation, and we are proud to be a part of such an innovative, quality work.”
The Ohio State University
Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 56,000 in Columbus), a major medical center, 14 colleges, 80 centers, and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences, and the professions.
Through its work with nearly 30,000 students, 1,300 schools and 2,500 teachers each year in the UK and internationally, the RSC aims to make Shakespeare vivid, accessible and enjoyable for students and their teachers. The RSC believes that students get the most out of Shakespeare when they do it on their feet, see it live and start it early, as set out in Stand Up for Shakespeare (