RSC programme design – a top 13

I’ve written a mini-history of programme design at the Royal Shakespeare Company packed with overlooked classic covers. But what are your favourites, I hear you ask? Well, here is my top 13.

13. Macbeth and Macbett (2007)

Cheating a little, but these two come as a pair. Clare Booth and Andy Williams channel high concept continental poster design.

12. Red Noses (1985)
This design for Peter Barnes’ play looks like an 1980s CND poster, and is officially the most sinister theatre programme of all time.

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11. Troilus and Cressida (1967)

This cover by 60s RSC design supremo George Mayhew drops you straight in the middle of the ancient world.

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10. Richard II (1973)

Medieval modernism, stripped back to the essentials, no clutter.

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9. The Odyssey (1992)

This design by Sue Rudd is just perfect, and somehow looks like nothing else you’ve seen.

 

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8. King Lear (1982)

A Ralph Steadman classic. How could you not want to see a show that looked like this?

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7. The Duchess of Malfi (1989)

A delicate but exceptionally memorable design by the great Ginny Crow.

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6. Macbeth (2012)

Andrzej Klimovski brings Polish poster art to Stratford, with a design of irresistible weirdness.

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5. Henry IV Part 2 (1964)

Falstaff on acid. The RSC comes of age, reinventing the histories for a new society.

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4. The Revenger’s Tragedy (1967)

Skeletons in hats! A gleeful George Mayhew design, and perhaps his best. So many to choose from…

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3. The Relapse (1995)

Both funny and transgressive. Another fine design by Sue Rudd.

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2. The Comedy of Errors (1963)

The RSC hit the ground running with the world’s first full colour theatre programmes. Ground-breaking abstract design from the pioneering George Mayhew.

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1. The Tempest (1982)

Tough choice but this spirit of Hokusai is my favourite of all. There’s a whole world in there. Designer uncredited though – really?

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