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The Rhinoceros Theatre Company was founded in November 2021 by Nigel Andrews  - in collaboration with Robin Legard of TTC -  with the aim of putting on plays old, new and intermediate that are both timeless and of their time. 


Why is it called Rhinoceros Theatre Company?...

Because we, Nigel and Robin, first met when we staged a production of Ionesco’s RHINOCEROS at Cambridge University in 1968.  Nigel directed.  Robin played Dudard.  (And for the record, a young Salman Rushdie played The Logician). 

And because a rhinoceros is a fierce, powerful, primitive, determined, sometimes ungainly beast who can’t be deterred once set on a charge. Someone said to us, “Thick-skinned too.”

Well, why not?


We love the idea that a play is rooted and nourished in one particular historical moment or even, more richly, two – the moment in which it is set and the moment in which it was written.

KING LEAR, the first play we are staging, was born in both 800 BC (Lear’s supposed time) and 1606 (Shakespeare’s writing time).  It is from Ancient Anglia.  At the same time it is from Jacobean England. We want to carve both those signature times into our production. 

But a play must echo into our own time too.  And in every case the echo must come from the play and its own spirit, not from arbitrary gimmicks or applied overlays.  While not rejecting the cut-and-paste modernisms of current theatre fashion – such as gender and racial blindness - we won’t do it just because it IS a fashion. Our Fool in KING LEAR, for instance, is a woman. That’s because (s)he’s in so many ways an alter ego for Cordelia. (They have often been played by the same actor).

We believe a good play doesn’t just speak to an audience.  If it’s alive it sings and shouts.  It rages, jokes, weeps, serenades, philosophises.  A good play isn’t just a text; it’s a living nest of subtexts. And it isn’t just words. It’s the thoughts and emotions – the historical textures and enduring truths - that lie within, under, or around the words. 

Nigel Andrews 

Nigel Andrews was film critic for the Financial Times for 46 years, from 1973 to 2019. Twice named Critic of the Year in the British Press Awards (1985, 2002), his books include a star biography (TRUE MYTHS: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER) that became a TV bio-drama (SEE ARNOLD RUN), and the ‘biography’ of a famous movie: JAWS. 


He was educated at Lancing College, where he wrote, directed and acted in plays. His fellow actors included David Hare, Christopher Hampton and Tim Rice. For 20 years he wrote and presented arts programmes for BBC radio.

BBC London News segment on 'KING LEAR', with Nigel Andrews talking about his experience taking to the stage.

'A critic plays King Lear: ‘Enough dishing it out, it’s time to face the music myself’

King Lear article Financial Times

How to Contact Us

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