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Diary: Royal Shakespeare Company Sope-ing up a pool of blood

Sope Dirisu in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Coriolanus. Photo: Helen Maybanks Sope Dirisu in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Coriolanus. Photo: Helen Maybanks
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Special effects on stage have come a long way, but there’s still nothing that quite makes your blood curdle like some good old fashioned… stage blood.

Tabard especially loved the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Coriolanus last year, which saw a rampaging Sope Dirisu coated from head to toe.

But if you thought that was bloody – you’ve seen nothing. The RSC clearly has a taste for the red stuff, and is now preparing for its bloodiest season yet with the purchase of 3,000 litres for its upcoming production of The Duchess of Malfi.

That’s enough to fill 40 bathtubs. Or, if you want to be really gory, the equivalent of 600 average-sized human beings.

You’ll be delighted to know that the RSC has confirmed it will not be adhering to traditional methods of using animal blood, and will instead be using manufactured blood.

The company has gone all out for this particular show, needing to to use “a different pump from the usual”, a powerful, modified large aquarium pump” to get the blood on stage.

The production of John Webster’s tragedy is sure to raise your blood pressure – with the effects to include “a continuous, slow stream of blood being pumped up from underneath the stage, through the floor.”

Bloody hell, it sounds chilling to the core.

Read our feature on stage blood

Send stories to tabard@thestage.co.uk

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