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Royal Shakespeare Company pledges to make live musicians more prominent in its productions

Gregory Doran. Photo: RSC/Ellie Kurttz Gregory Doran. Photo: RSC/Ellie Kurttz
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The Royal Shakespeare Company has said it will feature live musicians more prominently in its productions in future, claiming that they are undervalued in theatre.

The company is developing a new configuration for its main Stratford-upon-Avon auditorium so that next year’s season will allow musicians to perform in full view of the audience rather than being “tucked away”.

RSC artistic director Gregory Doran told the Observer that musicians will perform on a platform above the stage in productions such as The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It and Measure for Measure.

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He said: “We undervalue the experience of having live music in the same space, vibrating the same air… There’s no substitute for that live presence.”

Doran also said that while larger theatres, including the RSC, the National Theatre and the Globe, use live musicians on a regular basis, the practice is occurring less frequently within British theatre.

“Once you have worked with live musicians, you don’t want to turn back… When you have a score that is breathing with the text, as good composers and music directors know how to do, there’s nothing better,” he said.