5. Late 20th Century


Film of Richard III, directed by Laurence Olivier who also plays the title-role. Olivier’s text includes some of the changes made by Colley Cibber and David Garrick in the 18th century.

Laurence Olivier also plays the title-role in Titus Andronicus, directed by Peter Brook at the Stratford Memorial Theatre. This abstract and highly stylized production is acclaimed by critics.


Paul Robeson appears again in the title-role of Othello in a production at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Paul Robeson as Shakespeare's Othello,
Listen  Othello, British Library Sound Archive, 1959


Royal Shakespeare Company formed by Peter Hall. The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre is renamed the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and provides a base for the new company.


The newly established National Theatre’s opening production at the Old Vic is Hamlet. The director is Laurence Olivier and the title-role is played by Peter O’Toole.


Shakespeare’s 3 Henry VI plays are cut and adapted into 2 plays. They are given with Richard II, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, Henry V, and Richard III as The Wars of the Roses. The 7-play cycle is produced for the Royal Shakespeare Company by Peter Hall and John Barton.


Quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth celebrated not only in Stratford-upon-Avon and London, but world-wide.


The new National Theatre on London’s South Bank opens with Hamlet. The production is directed by Peter Hall, with Albert Finney in the title-role.


The foundations of the Rose Theatre are discovered on Bankside.


Two Gentleman of Verona is the first of Shakespeare’s plays to be given in a reconstruction of the Globe on Bankside. The new playhouse is very close to Shakespeare’s Globe.

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