2000s-2010's: The Winter's Tale

Learn more about the history of the RSC & The Winter's Tale

Production photo of Mathew Warchus' The Winter's Tale (2002) by (c) RSCRoyal Shakespeare Company

2002, Director: Matthew Warchus

The interaction between the audience and performers was integral to Warchus’s production. The Roundhouse in London was transformed with steeply-raked seating surrounding three quarters of the auditorium, allowing space for promenaders.


Both the staging and the mid-twentieth century American setting attracted mixed reviews. The production was likened to a 1940s film noir and Leontes (Douglas Hodge) was described as a menacing shaven-headed gangster.  

The Winter's Tale Bear (2009) by Alessandra Evangelista © The RSCRoyal Shakespeare Company

2009, Director: David Farr

Farr’s absorbing production at the Courtyard Theatre launched a new ensemble at the RSC that worked together for two and a half years. 

Jon Bausor's set designs ranged from the vertiginous library of Leontes’s palace, where tomes cascaded from the toppling bookcases at the end of the first half to create the infamous bear out of pages…

Production photo from David Farr's The Winter's Tale (2009) by Stewart Hemley (c) RSCRoyal Shakespeare Company

...to the book-page-strewn floor of pastoral Bohemia, where the trees sprouted paper leaves. The pages of the book symbolised ruin and rebirth.  

Production photo of Lucy Bailey's The Winter's Tale (2013) by Sheila Burnett (c) RSCRoyal Shakespeare Company

2013, Director: Lucy Bailey

Bailey's thrilling production was set in the 1860s where the two worlds of Sicilia and Bohemia were distinguished by class.  

Designer William Dudley’s set was dominated by a huge tower with shimmering sea projection; the well-off pleasure-seeking Sicilians inhabited the top, while the working-class Bohemians lived at the bottom, holidaying in a Blackpool-inspired seaside resort.  

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