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Tuesday, 5 March, 2002, 18:15 GMT
Director quits RSC's new-style play
A RSC production of Julius Caesar
The RSC's productions include Julius Caesar
The son of the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has walked out of his role directing one of the first productions in the company's controversial "new artistic model", in the latest row to hit the company.

Director Edward Hall was scheduled to work on Edward III, but pulled out two weeks before rehearsals were due to begin.

Gregory Doran, RSC associate director, denied suggestions that the withdrawal was because of opposition to the changes taking place at the RSC.

Edward Hall
Hall is the son of RSC founder Sir Peter Hall
He said Mr Hall, son of the founder Sir Peter Hall, left over "artistic differences on the casting front".

Mr Doran also denied reports citing insiders who said Mr Hall opposed plans to rehearse the play in three weeks rather than the usual six.

The production is part of a series of five Jacobean plays which will all be developed in this way.

The "stir-fry mentality" was "closer to the experience of Shakespeare's companies" and was embraced by all the directors and actors with "exhilaration and delight", Mr Doran said.

The RSC has seen several resignations since its artistic director Adrian Noble announced a radical overhaul in May last year.

This has prompted speculation that the revamp has left the organisation in turmoil.

'New vision'

It included plans to raze the 1930s Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon and replace it with a "waterfront theatre village", to scale down operations at the RSC's long-time home, the Barbican theatre, and to stage plays in other locations.

Technical staff have threatened to strike over feared redundancies resulting from the changes.

A former artistic director of the RSC, Terry Hands, who resigned from an advisory role in November 2001, "did not agree" with the new vision, the company has said.

But former RSC governor, Sir John Mortimer, stepped down because he had not been taking an active role and wanted to allow someone who was able to be more involved take the position, a spokeswoman said.

And the company says that David Hunt, another young director who pulled out of the Jacobean series, did so because of ill health.

The BBC's Nick Higham
"Critics are not convinced"
See also:

13 Jul 01 | Arts
Strike ballot at RSC
28 Mar 01 | Arts
RSC: Shakespeare and beyond
28 Mar 01 | Arts
RSC eyes new home
06 Sep 01 | Arts
Barbican to get listed status
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