Julius Caesar begins the season, with the politics of spin and betrayal turning to violence in a race to claim the empire, after the all-conquering Caesar returns from war.
Next is Antony & Cleopatra. Following Caesar’s assassination and his own rise to power, Mark Anthony chooses a life of decadent seduction with Cleopatra, Queen of Eqypt, where his military brilliance deserts him and his passion leads the lovers to their tragic end.
The decay of Rome reaches its violent depths in Shakespeare’s bloodiest play Titus Andronicus. Titus is a ruler exhausted by war and leaves Rome in disarray, with rape, cannibalism and brutality filling the moral void at the heart of a corrupt society.
Coriolanus (date TBC) concludes the season, as famine stalks Rome and the citizens rise up. The rioting is halted by war and Caius Martius leads the Roman Army to victory, but the people turn against him and he is banished. He vows revenge and returns at the head of the Volscian army to march on Rome.
Angus Jackson, who recently directed the sell-out productions of Oppenheimer and Don Quixote, is season director for the Rome season. He will direct the opening and closing plays of the season, Julius Caesar and Coriolanus. Iqbal Khan returns to the company to direct Antony & Cleopatra, with Josette Simon taking on the role of Cleopatra after her last RSC appearance in Michael Boyd’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1999. Blanche McIntyre will direct Titus Andronicus, following on from this summer’s production of The Two Noble Kinsmen.