Sound drums and trumpets!


(Shakespeare, King Henry VI)

Henry VI: Rebellion, a major new RSC production of Henry VI Part II, running in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon next year will feature 12 participants from Blackpool. They will be drawn from a group that are part of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Grand Theatre Blackpool’s adult participation initiative, Shakespeare Nation.

The first half of the play is made up of a series of group scenes each featuring a different group of eight to twelve characters representing the people of England. The second half includes a large pageant in which the people rise up in revolt as part of the infamous Jake Cade Rebellion.

The RSC is looking for these scenes to include groups of adults drawn from communities from six of the RSC’s partner theatres (including Blackpool) involved in its Shakespeare Nation adult participation initiative. Twelve participants from each of the six areas will appear alongside a cast of 26 professional actors in Stratford at selected performances in April and May 2022.

Rehearsals will take place in the Blackpool area, working with RSC Assistant Directors and practitioners, with support from The Grand Theatre, Blackpool. The Blackpool participants will then rehearse and perform in Stratford for their selected performances from April onwards.

Henry VI: Rebellion hurtles through one of the most turbulent periods in English history, asking the question: can the people ever really decide their own future? The production will also feature young performers who are part of RSC Next Generation Act, a unique talent development programme made up of young people aged between 13 and 18 from the RSC’s nationwide network of 222 Associate Schools. The production runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon between 1 April – 28 May 2022.

Ruth Eastwood, Grand Theatre Chief Executive said

‘We are delighted that once again our Shakespeare Nation group have the opportunity to perform with one of the greatest theatre companies in the world. Blackpool Grand’s partnership with The RSC has developed over the years and many of our Creative Learning participants have had the opportunity to perform on Stratford’s renowned stage.’

Shakespeare Nation is the RSC’s adult participation programme supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation which aims to create a nation of Shakespeare and theatre-lovers across the country. Working hand-in-hand with a network of twelve partner theatres including Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall Nottingham, the scheme works with groups who often have little or no experience of Shakespeare, with the hope of building a lasting relationship between the community and its theatre.