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Wright to Writer: Shakespeare & Co

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

headshot of Erica Whyman acting artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company
Erica Whyman

Acting Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Erica Whyman discusses

I am not Raymond Wallace with its author Sam Kenyon.

Like so many men of his time and of his kind, Raymond faces a choice between conformity, courage and compartmentalisation. The decision he makes will ricochet destructively through lives and decades until—in another time, another city; in Paris, 2003—Raymond’s son Joe finally meets Joey. And the healing begins.

I am not Raymond Wallace is a multi-stranded story of queer redemption spanning multiple generations, told with precision-tooled prose, sharply-imagined settings and compassionately-observed characterisation.

SAM KENYON is a writer, composer, performer and teacher. He studied English Literature at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, before training in Musical Theatre at the Royal Academy of Music.

After performing for twelve years, he developed a career as a composer and lyricist. At the Royal Shakespeare Company, he provided music and lyrics for The Christmas Truce (2014), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2016) and Vice Versa (2017). He wrote the book, music and lyrics for Miss Littlewood—a musical exploring the life of Joan Littlewood—which opened at the RSC in 2018, and which is published by Concord Theatricals. He is currently developing a musical about Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas and Samuel Steward.

As a voice teacher, he works across styles and genres, with theatre, film and recording artists. He teaches at the Royal Academy of Music, as well as running a private teaching practice. He lives in London with his partner, Mitch, and their daughter. I am not Raymond Wallace is his first novel.

ERICA WHYMAN is Acting Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. She joined the RSC in 2013 as Deputy Artistic Director and is especially proud of her contribution to the company’s new work programming, to ensuring the contemporary relevance of the repertoire and to our national partnerships with schools and theatres. As Acting Artistic Director she has led the company through turbulent and challenging times, enacting a values-led, consultative approach to wide-reaching change. Erica has a passionate commitment to collaborative leadership and to equitable, inclusive practice. She will step down from the RSC in 2023 to pursue a freelance career.

Directing for the RSC includes Revolt, She Said. Revolt Again by Alice Birch, Hecuba by Marina Carr, The Seven Acts of Mercy by Anders Lustgarten, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation, The Earthworks by Tom Morton-Smith, Romeo and Juliet, Miss Littlewood, a new musical by Sam Kenyon, and A Museum in Baghdad by Hannah Khalil, The Winter’s Tale filmed for the BBC in lockdown, and FAITH, a city-wide two-day event for the city of Culture in Coventry.

Erica was Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Northern Stage (2005-2012), Artistic Director of Southwark Playhouse (1998-2000) and of The Gate Theatre, Notting Hill (2000-2004), where she established the Equity Fringe contract, enabling performers to be paid there for the first time. She chairs the Board of Theatre503 and is a Trustee of RTYDS.

She was one of the first fellows on the Clore Leadership Programme. In 2012 she won the TMA Award for Theatre Manager of the Year and was awarded an OBE for services to UK Theatre. In 2016 she won the Peter Brook Empty Space Special Achievement Award.

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