Simon Russell Beale to return to RSC in The Tempest

Simon Russell Beale returns to the RSC in a new production of The Tempest
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Simon Russell Beale will return to the Royal Shakespeare Company after a 20-year hiatus to star in The Tempest later this year.

The production will conclude the RSC’s 2016 season, which will celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and will also include a new play by Anders Lustgarten.

Russell Beale, who is an associate artist at the RSC, will play Propsero in The Tempest. He last performed with the company in 1996 in Sam Mendes’ production of the same play.

The RSC has said the production will marry Shakespeare’s words with cutting edge digital design to create “the most technologically advanced production” it has ever staged.

The RSC is collaborating with technology company Intel and production company the Imaginarium Studios to create the show, which will be directed by RSC artistic director Gregory Doran. It will run from November 8 to January 21, 2017, with press night on November 17.

The 2016 winter season also includes an extension of Melly Still’s forthcoming production of Cymbeline, which opens in April and will run until October, starring Gillian Bevan in the title role. It will be the first time the RSC has cast a woman in this role.

The season also includes the previously announced production of King Lear, directed by Doran and starring Antony Sher.

King Lear will run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from August 20 to October 14 with press night on September 1.

David Troughton and Paapa Essiedu will also feature in the production.

Lustgarten’s new play, The Seven Acts of Mercy, will run from November in the Swan Theatre as part of a 30th birthday celebration of the space.

It also includes two new productions of plays staged during the Swan’s first season – The Two Noble Kinsmen by Shakespeare and John Fletcher and Aphra Behn’s The Rover.

Blanche McIntyre will direct The Two Noble Kinsmen, which runs from August 17 to February 9, 2017 in repertory with Lustgarten’s play and The Rover. Directed by Loveday Ingram, The Rover will run from September 8 until February 11, 2017.