Brit troupe to play six-week, five-play residency

The U.K.’s Royal Shakespeare Company will play Gotham in a six-week, five-play residency presented as part of the 2011 Lincoln Center Fest.

Multimillion dollar project will entail the construction of a 930-seat, thrust-stage replica of the U.K.’s Courtyard Theater in the Park Avenue Armory, the massive venue that has hosted prior fest offerings including “Die Soldaten” in 2008 and “Les Ephemeres” last year.

Repertory of productions, performed by a company of 44 actors and 23 musicians, will include five of the six plays that make up the RSC’s 2009-10 lineup: “Antony and Cleopatra,” “As You Like It,” “Julius Caesar,” “King Lear,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Winter’s Tale.” Among the directors of those offerings are RSC a.d. Michael Boyd (“As You Like It,” “Antony”) and Rupert Goold (“Romeo and Juliet”), about to return to Broadway with his staging of London hit “Enron.”

An exact cost has not yet been determined for the ambitious residency, although fest director Nigel Redden said funding contributions would come from sources including the Park Avenue Armory, Ohio State University (with which RSC has an educational partnership), financier Bruce Kovner and coin from a Producer‘s Circle of donor/ticket buyers.

The auditorium will take about two weeks to construct in the Armory, plus another week to install the sets for the five plays on the sked. Shows will require a stage management crew of ten and 425 costumes.

“It’s going to make the festival one of the most expensive ever,” Redden said.

The RSC’s work was most recently seen in Gotham in a 2007 repertory run of “King Lear” and “The Seagull,” both toplined by Ian McKellen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

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