Prince of Wales praises ‘super’ actors of Royal Shakespeare Company

The Prince of Wales has praised the “super” actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) on a visit to Warwickshire.

Charles, who himself made a guest appearance on the boards at the RSC’s Stratford-upon-Avon theatre in 2016, was back in the town on Tuesday.

During his visit to the region he also delivered a speech at a cutting-edge automotive engineering facility in the heart of the West Midlands, telling his audience there was “no choice other than to decarbonise” the car industry.

Earlier in Stratford, Charles was shown the progress being made on the multimillion-pound redevelopment work at the RSC’s Costume Workshop, due to reopen in summer 2020.

The prince, who is RSC president, then toured the current home of the theatre’s 40,000 costume items at The Other Place venue.

Royal visit to Warwickshire and the West Midlands
Charles with Gregory Doran, RSC artistic director and head of millinery Alex Thompson, viewing the company’s vast costume store (Jacob King/PA)

Gregory Doran, company artistic director, showed Charles around the hundreds of yards of clothing racks, holding garb including helmets, chain mail shirts and dresses.

The collection is so large it spans four floors.

Charles was then treated to an eight-minute performance of The Boy In The Dress, which has been adapted from David Walliams’ children’s book.

After, he chatted with cast members and praised the “super performance”, adding: “It was very good, at least I got a vague idea of it.”

Royal visit to Warwickshire and the West Midlands
After the tour, Charles greeted members of the public in Stratford (Jacob King/PA)

Charles was also keen to find out where the actors had trained.

He hailed their work ethic, telling one “doing this nearly every day, the dancing, you must be absolutely knackered at the end of it”.

The prince then spoke to supporters of the Costume Workshop project, including Lydia and Manfred Gorvy.

Urging Mr Gorvy to take a seat, rather than stand for him, Charles asked about their backing for the construction, Mrs Gorvy said.

She said they had recounted when they watched the “absolutely charming” Charles himself treading the boards for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, in April 2016.

They were in the audience when Charles delivered the famous line from Hamlet, “To be – or not to be”, in Stratford, alongside other stars of stage and screen.

“We told him we had seen him (perform) and he said ‘I was terrible’,” Mrs Gorvy added.

“He wasn’t – but he’s got a great sense of humour.”

As he was leaving, Charles joked with the waiting crowd outside asking: “Are you trying to get in?”

He turned and waved as another group caught his eye, asking them: “Are you waiting for a play, or something?”

His Royal Highness visited the site of our new Costume Workshop, met some of our talented Costume team and watched an extract from The Boy in the Dress. pic.twitter.com/lUmc6cO6JA

— The RSC (@TheRSC) February 18, 2020

School teacher Stephanie Morel-Jean, who had brought a group of students from France, called back to him: “No, I’m from France.”

As the prince exclaimed “Oh, from France!”, he laughed as Mrs Morel-Jean added: “This is the best day of my life!”.

Later in Coventry, Charles officially opened the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) at the University of Warwick’s main campus site on the outskirts of the city.

He saw a showcase of projects including an electrical racing bike developed by engineering students and Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) new self-driving concept car.

Royal visit to Warwickshire and the West Midlands
The Prince of Wales looks at models of Project Vector during a visit to the National Automotive Innovation Centre in Coventry (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

Sir Ralph Speth, JLR’s chief executive, reminded the prince that it would be 50 years on Wednesday since Charles first publicly raised the issue of environment and plastics.

In a speech, Charles praised the NAIC as a centre bringing together “the brightest minds to tackle some of our society’s toughest problems”.

He added: “If we want to keep travelling, then we really have no choice other than to decarbonise this essential industry, as rapidly as possible.

“By bringing the key people together we can make a real difference in the efforts to transform the way we travel. ”

In his role as patron of The Almshouse Association, the prince is also visiting the Nicholas Chamberlaine Almshouses in Bedworth.

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