by Steven Adler
foreword by Chris Parry
Southern Illinois University Press, 2001
Paper: 978-0-8093-2377-7 | eISBN: 978-0-8093-9026-7
Library of Congress Classification PN2596.S82R682 2001
Dewey Decimal Classification 792.06041


Steven Adler examines the dynamic life and workings of the theatre company responsible for some of the world’s most compelling performances and influential productions of the last forty years, including Marat/Sade, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Les Misérables, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and Nicholas Nickleby.

Rough Magic provides a thorough analysis of the many strands of theatrical activity on both sides of the footlights that coalesce in the artistic vigor of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Adler traces the company’s evolution from its origins in 1879 as a week-long festival presented by Stratford-upon-Avon as a birthday homage to its native son, to its current incarnation as one of the world’s most distinguished institutional theatres. He probes the aspirations and achievements of the RSC’s four successive artistic directors: Peter Hall, Trevor Nunn, Terry Hands, and Adrian Noble. He offers a comprehensive view of the design and aesthetics of the RSC’s five theatres in Stratford and London, and explores the intricate process of crafting a repertoire at home and on tour that responds to the needs of the artists as well as the demands of the box office.

Vivid illustrations, personal observation, research, and dozens of interviews with current and former members of the Royal Shakespeare Company unite to produce Rough Magic.

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