Two Royal Shakespeare Company productions which played this summer in Stratford-upon-Avon have been enabled by the financial intervention of commercial producers to transfer to London.
The RSC had decided it could not afford the risk of moving its latest productions to the capital for the first time in its history. But Bill Kenwright and Thelma Holt have now stepped in to present two plays, The Taming of the Shrew and John Fletcher's lesser-known work, The Tamer Tamed, at the Queen's Theatre for seven weeks from 15 January.
This will mean a rare treble for their director, Gregory Doran, whose new production for the RSC, All's Well That End's Well starring Dame Judi Dench, will be on at the same time at the neighbouring Gielgud Theatre.
London had traditionally received most if not all of the Stratford season of shows at the RSC's long-time home at the Barbican centre. But the transfers became more complicated after Adrian Noble decided during his tenure as director the company should leave the Barbican and perform instead at various West End venues.
The extra costs contributed to a £2.8m deficit and persuaded the new artistic director, Michael Boyd, that it would be unwise to risk further losses in the West End without securing commercial backing.
Early negotiations failed and the company was forced to release actors from their contracts. But the last-minute season in the West End will now be slotted in after the cast, led by Jasper Britton and Alexandra Gilbreath, return from performing at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC.
An RSC spokeswoman said they were delighted. "We put it to the company and they were all free to do it and luckily said yes. It will be Doran city. It's quite rare to have three shows on at once."
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