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News: Royal Shakespeare Company launches photography competition for 16 – 25 year olds

Royal Shakespeare Company launches photography competition for 16 – 25 year olds

In a commitment to support the next generation of theatre photographers, today the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) launches the RSC Key* Photography Competition, for 16 – 25 year olds. The winners will be commissioned to take the rehearsal photos for the RSC’s four Shakespeare productions in the Spring 2018 season including: Macbeth directed by Polly Findlay; Romeo and Juliet directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman; the touring production of Hamlet directed by Simon Godwin; and The Merry Wives of Windsor directed by Fiona Laird.

Young people who want to enter the competition can post the photo they wish to be judged on Instagram, tagging @TheRSCKey in the photo and using the hashtag #RSCPhotoComp, before the competition closes at 11.59pm on Sunday 3 December. Entries will then be shortlisted and the four winners will be selected by six judges and announced on Monday 18 December.

The judges include three of the country’s leading theatre photographers: Manuel Harlan, Helen Maybanks and Topher McGrillis. They are joined by the RSC’s Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman, RSC Director of Communications Liz Thompson and RSC Image Manager Michelle Morton.

The four winners will be commissioned as professional rehearsal photographers, contracted and paid for by the RSC as well as being guided and mentored by one of the photography judges. Their photos will be used within the programme for each production, they will also receive tickets to see the production they have photographed.

Michelle Morton, RSC Image Manager said, “The aim of our competition is not only to provide an incredible opportunity for young people to experience the work of the Royal Shakespeare Company, but could also be a real step towards a professional career in theatre photography. We hope that as a result, we will see new talent in the world of theatre photography which can only have a positive impact on helping to support the work of theatre companies.”

*The RSC Key is a free membership scheme for 16 – 25 year olds offering BP £5 tickets for RSC shows plus exclusive events and insights. For more information:

More information about the competition can be found here:

The Judges
Manuel Harlan has photographed a huge range of RSC productions including the current productions of Twelfth Night and A Christmas Carol. He’s also photographed the RSC’s West End production of Matilda The Musical and for the UK’s leading theatres including the National Theatre, Old Vic, Hampstead Theatre and the Royal Court.
Helen Maybanks most recently photographed the RSC’s Rome Season currently showing at the Barbican in London. She also photographed the RSC debut of HRH Prince The Prince of Wales at Shakespeare Live! At the RSC, shown on the BBC to mark 400 years since the death of Shakespeare. Her other work includes commissions for Dreamworks, Michael McCabe Productions, Playful Productions, the National Youth Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith.
Topher McGrillis has worked on some of the RSC’s most photographically challenging productions including the UK tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where he photographed all 682 company members, and the RSC’s co-production with Intel and in association with the Imaginarium Studios of The Tempest, featuring for the first time a character as an avatar live on stage. In addition to his photography, he is an award winning self-shooting director working extensively in broadcast and film.
Michelle Morton is the RSC’s Image Manager. She is responsible for developing and managing the digital image archive of the RSC. She licenses images and AV content for commercial and editorial use as well as advising on copyright.
Liz Thompson is the RSC’s Director of Communications. Her department is responsible for commissioning photography for all RSC productions, ensuring the images truly represent the essence of every production.
Erica Whyman is the Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC. In the Spring 2018 Season she will direct Romeo and Juliet in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which will tour nationally in 2019.

Shakespeare Spring 2018 Productions

Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Directed by Simon Godwin
National Tour: 26 January to 31 March 2018 including Newcastle Northern Stage
Simon Godwin’s acclaimed production embarks on a UK tour, with Paapa Essiedu returning to play the title role. More tour details here:

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Directed by Polly Findlay
Royal Shakespeare Theatre: 13 March – 22 September 2018
Press night: Tuesday 20 March, 7pm
Broadcast Live from
Stratford-upon-Avon to cinemas: 11 April 2018
Shakespeare’s dark tragedy of power and revenge is directed by Polly Findlay whose last RSC production was The Alchemist in 2016. Christopher Eccleston makes his RSC debut in the title role of the bloody king in this contemporary psychological thriller. He is joined by Niamh Cusack as Lady Macbeth.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Directed by Erica Whyman
Royal Shakespeare Theatre: 21 April – 22 September 2018 
Press night: Tuesday 1 May, 7pm
Broadcast Live from
Stratford-upon-Avon to cinemas: 18 June 2018
Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, and set in a world very like our own, this Romeo and Juliet is about a generation of young people born into violence and ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents. Young people from RSC Associate Schools around the country will share the role of the Chorus with the professional cast. 

The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
Directed by Fiona Laird
Royal Shakespeare Theatre: 4 August – 20 September 2018
Press night: Tuesday 14 August, 7pm
Broadcast Live from
Stratford-upon-Avon to cinemas: 12 September 2018
Down on his luck in the suburbs, John Falstaff plans to hustle his way to a comfortable retirement by seducing the wives of two wealthy men. Unknown to him, it’s the women of Windsor who really pull the strings, orchestrating Falstaff’s comeuppance amidst a theatrical smorgasbord of petty rivalries, jealousies and over-inflated egos. Fiona Laird makes her directing debut for the RSC and David Troughton takes on the role of Falstaff.

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