The RSC’s work in schools and communities isn’t ‘subordinate’

I read Michael Billington’s article on the forthcoming changes to the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the announcement of Daniel Evans and Tamara Harvey as new co-artistic directors, during the lunch break of an RSC workshop for 30 teachers from our RSC associate school programme in Nottingham (Daniel Evans and Tamara Harvey are an inspired duo to lead the RSC, 21 September). This long-standing national programme inspires children, leading to Shakespeare being active in the classroom and in the wider community.

As an RSC theatre partner, the Theatre Royal Nottingham is also working with the RSC on its 37 Plays new writing programme; supporting its current First Encounters tour of Twelfth Night; developing projects for a major RSC tour in 2023 and running active drama groups for adults and young people, developed directly from the community involvement of local Nottingham people performing on the Stratford stage in Henry VI: Rebellion earlier this year.

All this from a company that, according to Billington, “has lately lacked something of its former prestige”. This year-round, embedded activity has been pioneering and, according to our participants, “life-changing”. Never denigrate this work as “subordinate”. It is absolutely equal and integral to everything that happens on a main stage. I’m certain that the new RSC artistic directors will continue to develop and prioritise such projects to ensure this exciting work continues.
David Longford
Creative learning manager, Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham