Record

CodeDS1007
Dates1987-1992
Person NameRenaissance Theatre Company; 1987-1992
ActivityIn 1985, Kenneth Branagh left the Royal Shakespeare Company and joined fellow actor David Parfitt to work on his first independent production, 'Romeo and Juliet', which played at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith (London), 1986. Branagh took the lead role, and also directed the production. Russell Jackson of the Shakespeare Institute acted as text advisor, and Hugh Crutwell as artistic consultant, for this and subsequent Renaissance productions. The Renaissance Theatre Company was launched by Branagh and Parfitt, on 28th April 1987. The Company's first production was Branagh's own play 'Public Enemy', which premiered at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith (London). This was followed by John Session's 'Life of Napoleon', 1987, which after a sell-out season at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, transferred to the Albery Theatre in London's West End. 'Renaissance Nights', a weekend festival of new work also played at the Riverside in 1987, followed by Branagh's production of 'Twelfth Night', with Richard Briers, Frances Barber and Anton Lesser. This production was subsequently recorded by Thames Television for Channel 4. In 1988, Renaissance took to the road with 'Much Ado About Nothing', 'As You Like It' and 'Hamlet', directed respectively by Judi Dench, Geraldine McEwan and Derek Jacobi. After opening at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the productions toured the UK and Ireland, and included a two-week stay at Kroneberg Castle, Elsinore, Denmark. A ten-week West End season followed at the Phoenix Theatre, London. In the summer of 1989, Judi Dench directed a revival of John Osborne's 'Look Back In Anger', in aid of the Ulster Youth Theatre, the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action and Friends of the Earth. The production played for one week at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, and one night at the London Coliseum, and raised over £250,000. It also played limited seasons in the West End and Newcastle, and was filmed for TV. In the autumn of 1989, John Sessions' 'Napoleon: The American Story' toured Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Dublin and London. The Company's productions in 1990 were 'King Lear' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', with an opening season at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and a subsequent World tour. Later productions included 'Scenes from a Marriage', by Ingmar Bergman, which played in London and Newcastle, 1990-1991; 'Uncle Vanya', by Anton Chekhov, which played at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in 1991; John Session's 'Travelling Tales, which toured in 1991, and 'Coriolanus', which played at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 1992. The Renaissance Theatre Company ceased to operate in 1992.
Corporate NameRenaissance Theatre Company