Cunard Line Announces First-of-its-Kind Partnership with Royal Shakespeare Company

Cunard Line joins forces in a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

Already known for amazing entertainment on its transatlantic crossings, Cunard Line announced today that it will be elevating performances even further with an exclusive 3-year partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company, available only on the line’s flagship, Queen Mary 2. Acting workshops and other onboard events will also feature the company’s actors.

Royal Shakespeare Company Setting Sail With Cunard Line

Cunard’s exclusive partnership with the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will begin May 29, 2022, with performances on featured voyages aboard the Queen Mary 2 through August 12. A second round of performances will last from September 15 through November 13, 2022, with dates for 2023 and 2024 to be announced at a later time.

Guests aboard these select sailings will be treated to tailored theatrical performances by the RSC, which brings to life works by Shakespeare, his contemporaries, and other literary legends past and present.

RSC production of Miss Littlewood (Photo Courtesy: Cunard Line)

Boundless as the Sea, a new piece created by Owen Horsley, will be one of the performances, and treats guests to a unique blend of Shakespeare’s love scenes. According to Horsley’s website, Boundless as the Sea includes excerpts from such iconic works as Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Othello, and other classic Shakespeare plays.

The RSC will also perform an abridged production of Miss Littlewood onboard. This acclaimed musical by Sam Kenyon explores the life of one of theatre’s most playful and radical figures, Joan Littlewood, and will be making its transatlantic debut on these crossings.

“What a thrill to welcome the Royal Shakespeare Company to Cunard! Our Transatlantic voyages are known to feature dazzling onboard experiences, and our new partnership with the RSC continues, and elevates, this tradition,” said Jamie Paiko, Vice President, Sales, Cunard, North America. “To offer our guests unique access to exclusive contemporary performances and of Shakespeare’s finest work is something special, an unforgettable experience that our guests will fully immerse themselves in.”

More Than Just Shows

In addition to onboard performances, the RSC actors will also offer workshops exploring the craft of acting for those interested in learning what it takes to be part of this world class company. A series of “Shakespeare Tales” will also be available – intimate, informal events where the actors will perform their personal favourite sonnets and speeches, and answer questions from the audience.

RSC Workshop
RSC Workshop (Photo Courtesy: Cunard Line)

“We are thrilled to be working with Cunard to bring our performances to the guests of Queen Mary 2 together with unique opportunities to get close to working theatre artists and learn more about our house playwright,” Erica Whyman, RSC Acting Artistic Director, said.

“Boundless as the Sea, which is what Juliet calls her love for Romeo, will be a heartwarming taster of all the ways Shakespeare explores love and romance, and we are also very pleased to be presenting a version of the joyous, quirky and toe-tapping Miss Littlewood,” Whyman continued when discussing the onboard selections. “This is an exciting new venture for us, and we look forward very much to meeting new audiences on board.”

Queen Mary 2 will also host a touring exhibition, “Digital Diorama: An Augmented Journey Through Shakespeare’s Stratford.” Guests will use their own devices to experience scenes from Shakepeare’s plays. The exhibition uses augmented reality technology similar to popular apps such as Pokemon Go and BBC Civilisations to showcase Shakespeare’s work and bring guests right into the playwright’s life.

Some of the RSC’s most popular productions in recent years, including Hamlet, Henry V, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and As You Like it, will also be screened in Cunard’s on board cinema, Illuminations. In addition to hosting cinema screenings, Illuminations theater is also a classical music venue and the largest planetarium at sea.


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