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The Royal Shakespeare Company, a theatre company founded by the great director (Sir) Peter Hall in 1960 to perform Shakespeare and other playwrights, many of them being his Elizabethan and Tudor contemporaries. About half their repertoire in any given year are Shakespeare.

Their website www.rsc.org.uk always calls the company the RSC, with the full name only as a subtitle, which is why I've noded them here.

They perform first at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in the playwright's birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, and the smaller Swan Theatre and The Other Place nearby. They then take their plays on to a London season. They first performed there at the Aldwych Theatre, but for many years their London base was the Barbican. In the last couple of years they have (controversially) abandoned this. From 1978 they also toured the country.

Their Antony and Cleopatra with Sinead Cusack and Stuart Wilson is (at time of writing) at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Many great British actors have performed for their RSC, of course. Some of the most memorable performances have been Antony Sher's Richard III in 1984, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen in a 1977 Macbeth, Kenneth Branagh's 1992 Hamlet, and the Midsummer Night's Dream of 1970 directed by Peter Brook.

Sir Peter Hall was succeeded as artistic director by Trevor Nunn in 1968, who continued until 1986. Terry Hands was artistic director jointly from 1978 then alone until 1991, when the present director Adrian Noble took office.

The original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre was built at Stratford in 1879. It burnt down in 1926 and was succeeded by the present building in 1931; however the RSC have now announced plans to replace this with a new building.

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