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Director Q&A: The RSC's 'Coriolanus'

RELUCTANT LEADER: Sope Dirisu as Coriolanus

A CONTEMPORARY take on Shakespeare’s full-throttle war play, 'Coriolanus' plays for a limited run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Fearless soldier. Reluctant leader. Coriolanus must struggle against his true nature to follow the path to politics that has been carved out for him. Is a battle-bred warrior truly meant for the slippery, scheming world he finds himself in?

Don't miss the strictly limited four-week run of this thrilling story in Shakespeare’s home town, with Sope Dirisu in the title role, from September 15-October 14.


Director Angus Jackson tells The Voice about his plans for his production of the play:

Q: Coriolanus is rarely performed – why is a revival important in 2017?

A: It's rarely performed but it is an absolutely brilliant play. The lead man, Coriolanus, is a complicated hero, not obviously likeable at the start. But we live in complicated times, where leaders shift in a way we don't expect them to, and when, as in Coriolanus, the population vote for something that is far from in their best interests.

Q: What do you think will resonate with young people about the show?

A: Our Coriolanus is a young man, who is strong headed and powerful but the old guard including his mother, have a very clear idea of what he should be doing. It's very funny watching the negotiations. And the generational divide is equally matched by the divide of haves and have nots, it's thrilling to watch conflicts we know only too well played out on a Shakespearian stage.

Q: What are your thoughts about Coriolanus as a character?

A: He's more akin to a prize athlete or a rockstar than what we might think of as a soldier. He's a high born incredibly gifted individual who isn't popular because he's so proud. But then it's as if he returns from the Olympics with twelve gold medals, becomes an overnight sensation and goes into politics…

There is some cross gender casting in your production – why did you decide to do this?

A: Yes, well the Tribunes in Rome are elected from the people to represent the people. Whereas the other senators are born into privileged classes. So Volumnia is a woman who has a lot of power without holding office, because of who she is. We thought if you are going to elect someone to represent you right now it's just as likely if not more likely to be a woman, so we are casting both Tribunes as women, catapulted into political life from their non-entitled backgrounds because they are the people's choice, and set against generations of privilege.

To find out more, click here or call the Box Office on 01789 403493.

Check out the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Facebook and Twitter pages for Summer Rush tickets released every Friday at noon. 16-25 year olds can also get BP £5 tickets for all shows – just use the promo code 1625 (proof of age is required).

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