Quake victim begs in vain for Shakespeare

A survivor of the earthquake in Kobe has written in vain to the Royal Shakespeare Company begging it not to cancel a planned visit to the city, writes David Lister. He says one of the few things the people of Kobe have to look forward to is art, h aving lost everything else.

Yasko Terashita, writes: "Now Kobe is darkened by sadness and shock. I was lucky enough to survive, though I lost my job. Instead of going to the office in suit, [I am] bringing water from the river. In one month time, people will be back in mind for art, and I believe art gives, encourages, suggests and comforts . . . Being able to welcome RSC in my town would be such an excitement and delight . . . would like you to know that I will be waiting."

The RSC was to take its production of Henry VI to Kobe in three weeks' time. Adrian Noble, the company's artistic director, said yesterday he was deeply affected by the letter, but could see no way of going ahead with the visit. The Shin-Kobe Oriental Theatre was not damaged, but the surrounding area was devastated and the company feels it would be impossible to go. The production will still visit Tokyo.

The RSC's new British season, opening in the spring, was announced yesterday. Stratford- on-Avon will see the first stage adaptation of William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies. Sir Peter Hall, founding director of the RSC, will return to direct Julius Caesar, with John Nettles as Brutus. Michael Bogdanov will direct a two-part version of the Faust legend by Howard Brenton.