The British Library and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) join forces to publish this remarkable audio treasury of live Shakespearian performances. Selected from an extensive collection of recordings made by the British Library Sound Archive, these two double CD sets offer scenes and speeches from some of the most celebrated Shakespeare productions in the history of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The extracts cover almost half a century of productions, from Laurence Olivier as Coriolanus in 1959 to Ian McKellen as King Lear in 2007. Both "Essential Shakespeare Live "and "Essential Shakespeare Encore " also include booklets that reproduce the play-text of each recorded extract in full along with introductions by Gregory Doran, Chief Association Director of the RSC.
On "Essential Shakespeare Encore "the roll-call of prestigious portrayals runs from Paul Robeson's legendary Othello in 1959 to David Tennant's highly-acclaimed Hamlet in 2008. Among the other memorable productions are Peter Hall's "Henry IV Part 1," Trevor Nunn's "The Winter's Tale," John Barton's "The Merchant of Venice," Adrian Noble's "Macbeth," Sam Mendes's "Troilus and Cressida," and the recent "Histories" cycle of Michael Boyd. Notable actors include Ian Holm, David Suchet, Juliet Stevenson, Ian Richardson, Jonathan Pryce, Simon Russell Beale, Harriet Walter, Patrick Stewart, and Ian McKellen.