Royal Shakespeare Company Postpones and Cancels All Planned 2020 Performances

The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale, RSC

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has postponed or canceled all of its planned performances for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The RSC said the move was a response to the continuing U.K. lockdown, alongside government advice that social distancing will need to remain in place for some time.

All remaining planned performances of “The Winter’s Tale” and “The Comedy of Errors” scheduled for the summer season, which was due to end Oct. 3, have been postponed.

Planned performances in the fall and winter have also been postponed or canceled. These include: “The Wars of The Roses Part 1 and Part 2,” postponed to fall 2021; new family musical “The Magician’s Elephant,” which moves to winter 2021; and the ‘First Encounters with Shakespeare’ tour of “Twelfth Night,” postponed until 2021.

The RSC Barbican annual residency for 2020 has been canceled, while “Matilda The Musical,” which is produced by the RSC, will remain closed in line with other West End theaters.

The RSC said ticket buyers will be contacted by its box office staff in performance date order rotation to discuss refund and exchange options.

The RSC says it is “actively exploring” the possibility of re-opening the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) in Stratford-upon-Avon in the fall with new events and re-scheduled performances of “The Winter’s Tale” and “The Comedy of Errors.”

Both productions were due to open in the RST this spring. The RSC said the ability to stage the productions in the autumn is dependent on government advice on social distancing and whether it is financially viable to open its theaters.

The RSC has furloughed 90% of its staff during lockdown. While closed, the RSC is offering performances, events and education activity online.

Gregory Doran, RSC artistic director and Catherine Mallyon, RSC executive director, said: “It is incredibly sad to see our theaters and those of our partner theaters around the country closed at this time. We continue to do everything we can to bring them back to life as soon as possible…We can only do this when it is safe and when social distancing restrictions are lifted, making it financially viable for us to do so.”