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The Tempest

Plot Summary

Twelve years ago Prospero, the Duke of Milan, was usurped by his brother, Antonio, with the help of Alonso, King of Naples, and the King's brother Sebastian. Prospero and his baby daughter Miranda were put to sea and landed on a distant island where ever since, by the use of his magic art, he has ruled over the spirit Ariel and the savage Caliban. He uses his powers to raise a storm which shipwrecks his enemies on the island.

Alonso searches for his son, Ferdinand, although fearing him to be drowned. Sebastian plots to kill Alonso and seize the crown. The drunken butler, Stephano, and the jester, Trinculo, encounter Caliban and are persuaded by him to kill Prospero so that they can rule the island. Ferdinand meets Miranda and they fall instantly in love.

Prospero sets heavy tasks to test Ferdinand and, when satisfied, presents the young couple with a betrothal masque. As Prospero's plan draws to its climax, he confronts his enemies and forgives them. Prospero grants Ariel his freedom and prepares to leave the island for Milan.

RSC Staging History 1960-2007

1963 RST: Clifford Williams, Peter Brook
Farrah (design); Raymond Leppard (music)

Tom Fleming (Prospero), Ian Holm (Ariel), Roy Dotrice (Caliban), Philipa Urquhart (Miranda), David Warner (Trinculo), Derek Smith (Stephano), Ian McCulloch (Ferdinand), Donald Sinden (Sebastian), Roy Marsden (Francisco), Nicholas Selby (Antonio), Ken Wynne (Gonzalo), Janet Suzman (Iris), Peter Geddis

1970 RST: John Barton
Christopher Morley, Ann Curtis (design); John Bradley (lighting)

Ian Richardson (Prospero), Ben Kingsley (Ariel), Barry Stanton (Caliban), Estelle Kohler (Miranda), Norman Rodway (Trinculo), Patrick Stewart (Stephano), Christopher Gable (Ferdinand)

1974 TOP: Keith Hack
Debbie Sharp (design); John Watts (lighting); Stephen Oliver (music)

Michael Aldridge (Prospero), Robert Lloyd (Ariel), Jeffery Kisson (Caliban), Debbie Bowen (Miranda), Ian McDiarmid (Trinculo), James Booth (Stephano), Michael Pennington (Ferdinand), James Aubrey (Sebastian), Richard Griffiths (Gonzalo)

1978 RST: Clifford Williams
Ralph Koltai (design); Leo Leibovici (lighting); Guy Woolfenden (music)

Michael Hordern (Prospero), Ian Charleson (Ariel), David Suchet (Caliban), Sheridan Fitzgerald (Miranda), Richard Griffiths (Trinculo), Paul Moriarty (Stephano), Alan Rickman (Ferdinand), Donald Douglas (Sebastian), Dennis Edwards (Alonso), Darlene Johnson (Juno), Carmen Du Sautoy (Ceres), Juliet Stevenson (Spirit), Ruby Wax (Spirit)

1982 RST/1983 Barbican: Ron Daniels
Maria Bjornson (design); Richard Riddell (lighting); Stephen Oliver (music)

Derek Jacobi (Prospero), Mark Rylance (Ariel), Bob Peck (Caliban), Alice Krige (Miranda), Alun Armstrong (Trinculo), Christopher Benjamin (Stephano), Michael Maloney (Ferdinand), Jeffery Dench (Sebastian), Paul Webster (Alonso), Lesley Sharp (Spirit), Josette Simon (Spirit), Tom Mannion (Spirit)

1988 RST/1989 Barbican: Nicholas Hytner
David Fielding (design); Mark Henderson (lighting); Jeremy Sams (music)

John Wood (Prospero), Duncan Bell (Ariel), John Kane (Caliban), Melanie Thaw (Miranda), Desmond Barrit (Trinculo), Campbell Morrison (Stephano), James Purefoy (Ferdinand), Colin McCormack (Sebastian), Richard Haddon Haines (Antonio), Nicholas Selby (Alonso), Alfred Burke (Gonzalo), Patrick Miller (Francisco), Stephen Jacobs/Paul Hargreaves (Adrian), Julia Lintott (Juno), Cate Hamer (Ceres), Vivienne Rochester/Darlene Johnson (Iris), Joanna Roth (Spirit), Peter Lennon (Ship master), Ken Shorter (Boatswain), Paul Hargreaves/Stephen Gordon (Mariner), Heather Osborne/Maggie Carr (Mariner)

1993 RST/1994 Barbican: Sam Mendes
Anthony Ward (design); Paul Pyant (lighting); Shaun Davey (music)

Alec McCowen (Prospero), Simon Russell Beale (Ariel), David Troughton (Caliban), Sarah Woodward (Miranda), David Bradley (Trinculo), Mark Lockyer (Stephano), Mark Lewis Jones (Ferdinand), Christopher Hunter (Sebastian), James Hayes (Antonio), Paul Greenwood (Alonso), Clifford Rose (Gonzalo), Richard Clothier (Adrian), Siân Radinger (Iris), Sara Weymouth (Spirit)

1995 Young Vic/1995 Swan/1995-96 Small-scale Tour: David Thacker
Shelagh Keegan (design); Alan Burrett (lighting); Adrian Johnston (music)

Paul Jesson (Prospero), Bonnie Engstrom (Ariel), Dominic Letts (Caliban), Sarah-Jane Holm (Miranda), Jeremy Brook (Trinculo), Ian Driver (Stephano), David Fahm (Ferdinand), Stephen Hattersley (Sebastian), Daniel Flynn (Antonio), David Weston (Alonso), Ken Farrington (Gonzalo), Romy Baskerville (Adriana), Helen Blatch (Mariner), Sarah Ball (Spirit)

1998 RST/1999 Barbican: Adrian Noble
Anthony Ward (design); Howard Harrison (lighting); Stephen Warbeck (music)

David Calder (Prospero), Scott Handy (Ariel), Robert Glenister (Caliban), Penny Layden (Miranda), Adrian Schiller (Trinculo), Barry Stanton (Stephano), Evroy Deer (Ferdinand), John Straiton (Sebastian), David Henry (Antonio), Colin George (Alonso), Alfred Burke (Gonzalo)

2000 Pit/2000-01 TOP/2001 Small-scale Tour: James Macdonald
Jeremy Herbert (design), Kandis Cook (costumes); Nigel Edwards (lighting); Orlando Gough (music)

Philip Voss (Prospero), Gilz Terera (Ariel), Zubin Varla (Caliban), Nikki Amuka-Bird (Miranda), Julian Kerridge (Trinculo), James Saxon (Stephano), Oliver Dimsdale (Ferdinand), Nicholas Day (Antonio)

2002 Roundhouse/2002 RST: Michael Boyd
Tom Piper (design); Tina MacHugh (lighting); Craig Armstrong, John Woolf (music)

Malcolm Storry (Prospero), Kananu Kirimi (Ariel), Geff Francis (Caliban), Sirine Saba (Miranda), Simon Gregor (Trinculo), Roger Frost (Stephano), Alan Turkington (Ferdinand), Tom Beard (Sebastian), Brian Protheroe (Antonio), Keith Bartlett (Alonso), Jerome Willis (Gonzalo), Fiona Lait (Spirit)

2006 RST (Complete Works Festival)/2007 Novello: Rupert Goold
Giles Cradle (sets), Nicky Gillibrand (costumes); Paul Anderson (lighting); Adam Cork (music/sound); Michael Ashcroft (movement)

Patrick Stewart (Prospero), Julian Bleach (Ariel), John Light (Caliban), Mariah Gale (Miranda), Craig Gazey (Trinculo), Joseph Alessi (Stephano), Nick Court (Ferdinand), John Hopkins (Sebastian), Ken Bones (Antonio), Finbar Lynch (Alonso), James Hayes (Gonzalo), Edmund Kingsley (Francisco), Chris Jarman (Adrian), Ravi Aujla (Mariner), Paul Barnhill (Mariner), Rob Carroll (Mariner), Luke Neal (Mariner), David Rubin (Mariner), Golda Rosheuvel (Goddess), Emma Jay Thomas (Goddess), Allyson Brown (Goddess)