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Four Hundred Years Of Twelfth Night 

The 400th anniversary of one of William Shakespeare’s most popular comedies will be celebrated this year by re-building the main stage at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford.

A single, wide stage that brings the audience close to the action will be created by designer Alison Chitty next month.

The simple deign will be used for all three plays to tread the boards during the summer season, starting with Hamlet on 31 March, directed by Stephen Pimlott.

The title role of the Danish Prince is taken by Samuel West, who will be in his second RSC season, after playing the title role in the hugely successful Richard II.

He will be in the unique position of still performing as Richard II in The Pit Theatre in London during the previews of Hamlet in Stratford.

Twelfth Night is also being produced this year, four centuries after the Bard is thought to have written the comic tale of mistaken identity.

The production by Lindsay Posner will take an Edwardian feel. Leading roles are taken by Guy Henry, as Malvolio, who is also appearing as King John at The Other Place.

Zoe Waites will be Viola, and Matilda Ziegler, better known as Mr Bean’s girlfriend in the Rowan Atkinson comedy, will play Olivia.

Julius Caesar will also be showing at the theatre.

During the building work, which starts on 5 March, access to the public facilities at the RSC will remain open. The temporary stage will take three weeks to build and members of the public will be able to see the work in progress.

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CWN / Arts & Entertainment / RSC / 16 Feb 01

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