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The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus

Plot Summary

The brothers Saturninus and Bassianus are in contention for the Roman emperorship. Titus Andronicus, Rome's most honoured general, returns from wars against the Goths with their queen, Tamora, her sons and her lover, Aaron the Moor, as captives. Her eldest son is sacrificed by Titus; she vows revenge.

Titus is nominated emperor by his brother Marcus, one of Rome's tribunes. This Titus declines, instead nominating Saturninus. To seal the bond of friendship, the new emperor offers to marry Titus' daughter Lavinia. She, however, is already pledged to Bassianus. Saturninus, by now infatuated with Tamora, makes her empress. Manipulated by Aaron, Tamora's sons, Chiron and Demetrius, avenge their mother by raping and mutilating Lavinia, and killing Bassianus. Aaron falsely implicates two of Titus' sons in this murder.

In his turn Titus vows revenge and sends his surviving son Lucius to the Goths to raise an army. Titus achieves his revenge by killing Tamora's sons and serving them up to her at a banquet, and then killing her. He himself is killed by Saturninus and his death avenged by Lucius, who is made emperor.

RSC Staging History 1960-2007

1972 RST/1973 Aldwych: Trevor Nunn, Buzz Goodbody
Christopher Morley, Ann Curtis (design); John Bradley, Brian Harris (lighting)


Colin Blakely (Titus), Margaret Tyzack (Tamora), Janet Suzman/Judy Geeson (Lavinia), Mark Dignam (Marcus), Calvin Lockhart (Aaron), John Wood (Saturninus), Gareth Hunt (Martius), Martin Milman/Jonathan Kent (Mutius), Ian Hogg (Lucius), Robert Oates (Quintus), Thomas Chesleigh (Valentine), Philip Manikum (Chiron), Geoffrey Hutchings (Demetrius), Christopher Jenkinson (Alarbus), Patrick Godfrey (Sempronius), Keith Taylor (Aemilius), Tim Piggott-Smith (Bassianus)

1981 RST: John Barton, Peter Stevenson
(double-bill with Two Gentlemen of Verona)
Christopher Morley (design); Brian Harris (lighting); Nick Bicat (music)


Patrick Stewart (Titus), Sheila Hancock (Tamora), Leonie Mellinger (Lavinia), Ray Jewers (Marcus), Hugh Quarshie (Aaron), Bernard Lloyd (Saturninus), Kevin Wallace (Martius), Christopher Hurst (Mutius), Paul Shelley (Lucius), Nigel Le Vaillant (Quintus), Colin Tarrant (Chiron), Roger Allam (Demetrius), Peter Chelsom (Alarbus), John Franklyn-Robbins (Aemilius), Philip Franks (Bassianus), Geoffrey Hutchings (Clown), Diana Berriman (Nurse), Diana Hardcastle (Young Lucius), Julia Swift (Goth)

1987 Swan/1988 Pit/1989 European Tour: Deborah Warner
Isabella Bywater (design); Wayne Dowdeswell (lighting); Guy Woolfenden (music)


Brian Cox (Titus), Estelle Kohler (Tamora), Sonia Ritter (Lavinia), Donald Sumpter (Marcus), Peter Polycarpous (Aaron), Jim Hooper (Saturninus), Linus Roache (Martius/Caius), Sean Pertwee/Patrick Cremin (Mutius), Sean Pertwee/Richard Leaf (Publius), Derek Hutchinson (Lucius), Ian Bailey (Quintus/Valentine), Richard McCabe (Chiron), Piers Ibbotson (Demetrius), Steven Elliott (Alarbus/Sepronius), Dennis Clinton (Aemilius), Mike Dowling (Bassianus/Clown), Jane Whittenshaw (Nurse), Jeremy Gilley (Young Lucius)

2003 RST: Bill Alexander
Ruari Murchison (design); Tim Mitchell (lighting); Jonathan Goldstein (music)


David Bradley (Titus), Maureen Beattie (Tamora), Eve Myles (Lavinia), Ian Gelder (Marcus), Joe Dixon (Aaron), John Lloyd Fillingham (Saturninus), Branwell Donaghey (Martius), John Killoran (Caius), Rob Wynn (Publius/Alarbus), Bradley Freegard (Lucius), Edmund Moriarty (Quintus), Andrew Macbean (Valentine/Sepronius), Daniel Brocklebank (Chiron), Martin Hutson (Demetrius), Michael G. Jones (Aemilius), Fergus O'Donnell (Bassianus), Nicolas Tennant (Clown), Shereen Ibrahim (Nurse), Christopher Duncan (Young Lucius), Lynsey Beauchamp (Lady)

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