- Robert Harris’ best-selling Cicero trilogy, adapted for the stage by Mike Poulton, transfers to London’s West End this summer.
- This acclaimed, historical, two-part thriller has a limited 12 week engagement at the Gielgud Theatre from 14 June to 8 September 2018.
- Directed by RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, IMPERIUM transfers to London following its recent sold-out run in Stratford.
- Cast will be led by Richard McCabe as Cicero (Olivier and Tony Award-winner for The Audience and BBC’s Collateral) and Joseph Kloska as Tiro (RSC’s Written On The Heart and The Crown on Netflix).
- Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday 23 March at 10am via imperiumwestend.com with over 10,000 tickets available for £10 and under, throughout the run.
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and Playful Productions are delighted to announce the West End transfer for acclaimed, historical two-part thriller IMPERIUM – I: Conspirator and II: Dictator, running for a limited engagement at London’s Gielgud Theatre from 14 June to 8 September 2018.
Robert Harris’ best-selling Cicero trilogy is adapted for the stage by Mike Poulton as six one-act plays, presented in two performances, each with two intervals. Directed by RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, IMPERIUM transfers to London following its recent sold-out run at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
The cast will include Nicholas Boulton, Guy Burgess, Daniel Burke, Jade Croot, Peter De Jersey, Joe Dixon, John Dougall, Michael Grady-Hall, Oliver Johnstone, Paul Kemp, Joseph Kloska, Patrick Knowles, Richard McCabe, Hywel Morgan, David Nicolle, Siobhan Redmond, Patrick Romer, Christopher Saul, Eloise Secker and Simon Thorp. Further casting is still to be confirmed.
Told through the watchful eyes of Cicero’s loyal secretary, IMPERIUM I: Conspirator chronicles how the great orator’s early success unwittingly paves the way for a brutal and bloody end to the Republic.
With Rome in chaos at the beginning of IMPERIUM II: Dictator, Cicero must use all his brilliance to restore the power of the Senate from the civic mob and their would-be Emperor: one Julius Caesar.
International best-selling novelist Robert Harris is known for historical fiction. In addition to his Cicero trilogy, his books include Fatherland, Archangel, Enigma, Pompeii and The Ghost, which have received major screen adaptations. His latest thriller Munich based on the 1938 Munich agreement, was published in September 2017. Harris is a former BBC correspondent and columnist for The Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph.
RSC Associate Artist Mike Poulton is a playwright, and adapter of classical plays including works by Chekhov, Ibsen, Schiller, Euripides, and Strindberg. For the RSC, Poulton’s previous adaptations have included St Erkenwald, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, and Hilary Mantel’s best-selling novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.
Gregory Doran has been Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company since 2012. His huge variety of directorial projects has not only included over 27 major Shakespeare productions, he also directed a Jacobean season of plays which won an Olivier Award in 2002, as well as classics from the UK and abroad. In 2013 he instigated the RSC’s “Live From Stratford-upon-Avon”, a new programme to screen productions live from Shakespeare’s home town, including the free streaming of the productions straight to UK schools. Gregory delivered the Richard Dimbleby Lecture for the BBC in 2016
This theatrical event, co-produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Playful Productions, follows their last collaboration on Mike Poulton’s stage adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies which enjoyed success at the Aldwych Theatre after its Stratford run and transferred to Broadway in 2015.
IMPERIUM is designed by Anthony Ward, with lighting by Mark Henderson. Music is composed by Paul Englishby, with sound by Claire Windsor.
I: Conspirator and II: Dictator
Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6AR
Monday to Saturday at 7pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 1.30pm
I: Conspirator and II: Dictator alternate performances throughout the week.
IMPERIUM – Press Day: Saturday 30 June
1.30pm: I: Conspirator
7pm: II: Dictator
Buy The Gielgud Theatre London Tickets
35-37 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6AR
Gielgud Theatre Seating Plan
Gielgud Theatre Box Office Opening Hours:
Gielgud Theatre Box Office Telephone: 0844 482 5130
Monday – Saturday: 10am – 7.45pm
Venue and Travel Information
Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus (approximately. 250m), Charing Cross (approx. 550m)
Nearest Tube Lines: Bakerloo, Piccadilly
Directions from nearest tube: Take Shaftesbury Avenue along the side where the famous illuminated signs are. The theatre is on the left after about 100 metres.
Nearest Railway Station: Charing Cross (approximately. 550m)
Bus Numbers: (Shaftesbury Avenue) 14, 19, 38
Car Park: Brewer Street (3 minutes)
Within Congestion Zone: Yes
Venue Facilities: Air conditioned, Bar, Disabled toilets, Infrared hearing loop, Toilets, Wheelchair accessible
The Gielgud Theatre London Brief History
The theatre opened on 27th December 1906 as the Hicks Theatre after actor, manager and playwright Seymour Hicks, for whom it was built. Designed by W G R Sprague in the style of Louis XVI, the theatre had 970 seats. The theatre was constructed as one of two with the Queen’s Theatre, which subsequently opened in 1907 on the adjacent street corner.
The first performance at the theatre was a musical called The Beauty of Bath by Hicks and Cosmo Hamilton. Another Hicks musical My Darling, followed in 1907, with the Straus operetta after that and then A Waltz Dream in 1908. During the run of the theatre’s next major work, The Dashing Little Duke (1909), Hicks’ wife Ellaline Terriss, played the title role (a woman playing a man), and when she missed several performances due to illness, Hicks stepped forward into the role.
In 1909, the American impresario Charles Frohman became manager of the theatre and renamed it The Globe Theatre and then reopened with His Borrowed Plumes written by Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Randolph Churchill. Another Globe Theatre, situated on Newcastle Street, had been demolished in 1902 to make way for the construction of the Aldwych, and so the name became available. Several celebrated productions followed which included Call It A Day by Dodie Smith which opened in 1935 and ran for 509 performances, and was considered extremely successful for this period.
Terence Frisby’s There’s a Girl in My Soup, opening in 1966, running for 1,064 performances at the theatre, a record that was not passed until Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Olivier Award-winning comedy Daisy Pulls It Off by Densie Deegan which opened in April 1983 to run for 1,180 performances, which remains the theatre’s longest run. In 1987 Peter Shaffer’s play Lettice and Lovage was a huge hit with Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack starring and running for two years. The Globe was at one time the home of a resident theatre cat named Beerbohm. The cat’s portrait hangs in the corridor near the stalls. Beerbohm appeared on stage at least once during each production, causing the actors to improvise. The cat occupied certain actors’ dressing rooms while they were at the theatre, including Peter Bowles, Michael Gambon and Penelope Keith. Beerbohm was mentioned several times on Desert Island Discs, and he was the only cat to have a front page obituary in the theatrical publication, The Stage. Beerbohm died in March 1995 at the grand old age of 20.
The theatre was refurbished in 1987, which included extensive work on the gold leaf in the auditorium. The theatre is renowned for its beautiful circular Regency staircase, oval gallery and tower. The theatre has presented a number of Alan Ayckbourn premieres, including 1990′s Man of the Moment. Subsequently, Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy, An Ideal Husband (1992) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (2004) which saw notable revivals.
In 1994, in preparation for the 1997 opening of a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the South Bank by Sam Wanamaker, the theatre was renamed in honour of British actor John Gielgud. In 2003, Sir Cameron Mackintosh announced plans to refurbish the Gielgud, including a joint entrance foyer, with the adjacent Queen’s Theatre, looking out on to Shaftesbury Avenue. Mackintosh’s Delfont Mackintosh Theatres took control of the Gielgud from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Group in 2006.
Work on the front of the theatre started in March 2007 and the interior restoration, including reinstating the boxes at the back of the dress circle, was completed in January 2008.