THE Royal Shakespeare Company has chosen Ealing's Questors Theatre as its regional hub for London and south-east England.
Open Stages is the Stratford-on-Avon company's project to build bridges with amateur theatres throughout Britain, and the Questors is the only amateur venue chosen by the RSC out of ten theatres across the country.
RSC artistic director Michael Boyd, who grew up in Ealing, said: "I am delighted by this collaboration. I think The Questors is a wonderful exemplar of what we are trying to achieve with the Open Stages project. It is a hub centre, so it is pivotal to the project.
"The Questors was one of my first theatre-going experiences. Later, when I was at university in Edinburgh, I always enjoyed the fact that The Questors was part of the Fringe Festival. It was nice to have a little bit of Ealing there."
Questors' artistic director Mark Fitzgerald said: "The RSC invited all of the UK’s amateur companies to produce a production of Shakespeare’s work. We are the only amateur venue selected, because Michael believed we are professionally organised and could deal with the giant task.
"It has taken two years and over three hundred of our members to put this season together and make it happen."
As well as staging a Big Shakespeare Season over the next four weeks - including Othello, Romeo and Juliet, the comedy Coarse Shakespeare by Michael Green, and its youth theatre's production of The Tempest - the Questors has recently hosted two skills-exchange weekends led by members of the RSC and attended by 57 theatre companies.
For three weeks in April the theatre will also host a showcase of the very best in amateur theatre presented by 22 different companies, selected by the RSC.
Details of all the productions, which opened on Tuesday (28), can be seen on www.ealingtheatre.com.