LETTER: Campaign for `Coriolanus'

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From Mr Andrew Canham

Sir: I read with interest and a wry smile Tom Sutcliffe's comments on the Royal Shakespeare Company's campaign for promoting Coriolanus at the Barbican (Arts and Books, 5 August). He missed the point, failing to pick up the irony at the heart of what is proving to be a very successful campaign.

Yes, Coriolanus is being sold in a visual style which deliberately mimics the current trend for violent thrillers. The fact that it is a Shakespeare play, being performed by the RSC, creates a deliberate tension between the striking image and the viewers' perception of the RSC's work.

This production of Coriolanus has a central performance by an extremely young and talented actor, and the production is both thrilling and chilling. The campaign accurately reflects these qualities. It is gratifying that sales of the poster to thrilled theatre-goers have soared.

The image is targeted at a theatre-going London student - who may or may not drink lager. The number of students buying standby tickets for Coriolanus has increased by a staggering 1,140 per cent, compared to the season average.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Canham

Marketing Manager

Royal Shakespeare Company

London, EC2