There has been much agonising about the sudden announcement of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s decision to drop its regular 6 month season at the Barbican Centre
. Concerns have been expressed about a loss of jobs both in London and Stratford as a result of restructuring, and anxiety expressed about escalation of ticket price when the company makes an occasional foray into the West End. Some have harked back to the ‘glorious’ productions of the past such as Nicholas Nickelby or Peter Brook
’s Dream. It may be that this retrospection is misplaced if the purpose of Adrian Noble
’s plans are realised – to entice the highest quality actors in the land to participate in the best company in the land. 26 month contracts, he says, deter them. The flaw in this argument may be that the best training ground for these our most brilliant actors is a sustained spell of ensemble acting with their peers and under the tutelage of the best exponents of their art. The tradition that may be lost is not that of a regular season in Silk Street, but that of the passing down of skills from one generation to another.
There are still many productions of the Bard available to the London centric, during the Summer months at least, both at the Globe and in the open air at Regents Park. Those in the regions look forward to shoe-horning RSC productions into their local theatre.