Royal Shakespeare Company

Hoaxes: The Royal Dickens Company, on the fiddle, and the plumbing

Dr David Bramwell, creator of the Cheeky Guides series, is also an expert "trickologist" and will be performing a comic lecture on the history of hoaxes, pranks and mischief at Hendrick's Carnival of Knowledge at the Brighton Fringe in May. Here he shares three of his favourite lesser-known pranks.

The Homecoming, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

When Peter Hall founded the RSC in 1961, one of his guiding principles was that Shakespeare should be presented in dynamic, mutually illuminating relation to new playwrights. Harold Pinter was the linchpin of this policy. So, as the company celebrates its 50th birthday, it's fitting that it should programme a major revival of one the classic Pinter plays premiered under its auspices – even if the Swan Theatre, with its thrust stage and stacked, horse-shoe-shaped seating is an awkward space for such an intrinsically proscenium arch drama as The Homecoming (1965).

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The Winter's Tale, Roundhouse, London

Now that we know that the Royal Shakespeare Company will present their Stratford-upon-Avon productions in the Roundhouse from 2012, we can start to get used to the occupation with this taster season.