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The premier professional theatre troupe in the United Kingdom, responsible for producing many of today's best-loved British stars, including Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen.

Founded in 1960, the company is largely based out of Stratford-upon-Avon with ancillary facilities in London. Although they perform mostly Shakespeare, they have produced other dramatic works.

As mentioned above, their early works starred actors who would go on to become superstars in the acting world. Out of the six names mentioned above, four of them have been knighted. The educational TV series, Playing Shakespeare is a particular showcase of the company during that period beyond their performances.

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