Bard's Works in One Season

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Byline: Emily Andrews

Shakespeare's complete works are to be performed for the first time in one season, the Royal Shakespeare Company announced yesterday.

As well as his renowned plays, the Complete Works of Shakespeare Festival will feature the Bard's entire collection of sonnets, poems, and the apocrypha.

The seven month-long festival begins in April 2006, with performances at RSC theatres in Stratford, and other venues in the town, and will also feature visiting theatre companies from across the globe.

Meanwhile, next year, the RSC is marking the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot at its Swan Theatre, with a season of little-known Jacobean and Elizabethan political drama. Works shown to mark the anniversary include Speaking Like Magpies by Frank McGuinness, a commissioned work inspired by the anniversary.

Four of Shakespeare's come-dies - A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Comedy of Errors and As You Like It - will be performed next year in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Plays from the Jacobean and Elizabethan periods include A New Way to Please You (or The Old Law), a black comedy dealing with euthanasia and written in 1618.

Thomas More, thought to be part-written by Shakespeare, deals with the response in London to asylum seekers fleeing religious persecution in the continent.

The play has been the subject of recent controversy among academics after Professor Stanley Wells, Britain's leading Shakespearian scholar, included it in the updated Oxford edition of the Bard's Complete Works. …