Women are leaders at the Royal Shakespeare Company next year, with each new production, in the summer of 2018 season to have a woman director.
There will also be strong roles for women of a variety of ages in the six works, which will be seen at the Swan Theatre, and Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
They include a new musical about the life of “mother of modern theatre” Joan Littlewood.
Christopher Eccleston is also making his RSC debut in Macbeth, the next summer.
The former Doctor Who star has been cast alongside Lucy Cusack as Lady Macbeth “electrifying dark, modern production”, directed by Olivier Award-winning Polly Findlay.
RSC artistic director Gregory Doran said Eccleston “combined with vitality and profound imagination.”
In the meantime, Miss Littlewood will be directed by Erica Whyman, and will feature seven actresses portraying Joan Littlewood at different stages of his life.
Littlewood, who is described by the RSC as “a source of inspiration and revolutionary”, which transformed British theatre, with his Laboratory Theatre. The cast has not yet been announced.
Whyman is also the director of Romeo and Juliet, which will see children from the RSC and Associated Schools program, playing the chorus alongside professional actors.
It was billed as a story of a generation that was born in violence and “torn apart by divisions of their parents.”
The other directors, for the new season were Fiona Laird, Maria Aberg and Jo Davies, who will direct The Merry wives of Windsor, The Duchess of Malfi and The Fantastic Follies of the Lady, the Rich, respectively.
But the RSC’s artistic director Gregory Doran has said that the all-female line-up was a coincidence.
He said: “We have reached a point in which these women directors had been with us and had grown, developed, and it just so happens that it’s an all-female-directed of the season,” The Daily Telegraph reported.
Shakespeare’s Globe’s new artistic director Michelle Terry said his next season will have an equal role for men and women – but Doran said the RSC not to follow the example.
He told the Telegraph: “I don’t want to impose it to the administration. That means we couldn’t do an all-female production, for example. I want to keep it much more fluid and organic than that.”
The RSC is also planning a three-week revival of Doran’s production of “King Lear”, with Anthony Sher as Lear.
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