Posts

Whatsonstage announce results of survey to find the UK’s favourite Shakespeare play

WhatsOnStage

On William Shakespeare’s birthday, 23 April 2018, leading theatrical website WhatsOnStage announce the results of the company’s survey to find the nation’s favourite Shakespeare play – Hamlet leads the poll with 13% of the vote, narrowly beating Much Ado About Nothing with 12%, and Macbeth with 11%.

A mustplay role for any leading actor, recent productions of Hamlet have seen Benedict Cumberbatch take to the Barbican stage in Lindsay Turner’s production and Andrew Scott in the Almeida Theatre’s recent Olivier Award-nominated West End transfer, and will soon see the new artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe Michelle Terry open her inaugural season in the title role. Mel Giedroyc and John Hopkins are currently playing Beatrice and Benedick inMuch Ado About Nothing at the Rose Theatre in Kingston; and third-placed Macbeth has had two major revivals this year already – Rory Kinnear and Anne Marie Duff in the National Theatre’s production, and opening hot on its heels was Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack in the RSC’s staging.

Chief Operating Officer of WhatsOnStage Sita McIntosh said today, “454 years after the world’s greatest playwright was born, William Shakespeare’s plays are as loved as ever. Theatres around the UK are largely to thank for this, continuing to celebrate the Bard’s work with world-class performances, not least the Almeida’s outstanding, WhatsOnStage Award-winning staging of Hamlet starring Andrew Scott, which surely helped it to claim top spot. Happy birthday William Shakespeare.”

The top 10 in the poll as voted for by the public are:

  1. Hamlet
  2. Much Ado About Nothing
  3. Macbeth
  4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  5. Twelfth Night
  6. Othello
  7. Romeo and Juliet
  8. The Tempest
  9. King Lear
  10. Richard II

The plays voted on in the survey were the 36 plays included in Shakespeare’s First Folio.

,

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s, Erica Whyman: ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were talking about the ideas that our distinguished and emerging women have?’

I am sat in Gregory Doran’s office at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s HQ on International Women’s Day and have just presented Erica Whyman OBE with a single sunflower to mark the occassion.

“You are the second man to wish me a Happy International Women’s Day,” Whyman grins then resets. “Actually, that feels new to me. There are new desires to make lasting progress but in the raw and complex aftermath of the Me Too movement, it is not as easy as it sounds,” she says.

Erica Whyman headshot_2018_Photo by Ellie Kurttz _c_ RSC_209883

Erica Whyman OBE

Erica is deputy artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company; she has been at Stratford five years now and has achieved some remarkable things. Whyman too has long spoken out about inequality, particularly in theatre. With a new generation and real conversations taking place. How, I ask, does she feel about International Women’s Day today? “I had some discomforts with it,” she recalls. “But in the last decade I think moments to illuminate what our thinking is about gender are not bad things.”

She is a working mum in a high-pressure leadership role. What advice does she have for others wondering how to juggle this responsibility? “I’d say don’t feel oppressed if you don’t want to have children and don’t feel oppressed if you do. If it means that you can’t work in a way that some of your peers work – that’s ok. Let’s change the culture together,” says Whyman. 

Who, I ask, were her inspirations growing up? “I have retrospective ones like Joan Littlewood or Katie Mitchell. People who carved space for me to exist,” she explains. Yet, with hindsight, it was Whyman’s mother and her “rogue views” that helped her find her place in the world. “Because what she did was argue with me,” she declares. “She argued with me for thirty years and that taught me how to argue. It made me think very hard about a whole variety of issues. She was quite out there; she didn’t think there should be female doctors, for example. But she was incredibly powerful and passionate as a person. She was herself. So, the combination of spending a lot of my childhood being embarrassed and confused by my mother was an indirect but vital source of inspiration. In a geeky way it was books, I did get excited by Virginia Woolf,” says Whyman.

The critically acclaimed production of the RSC production of Hamlet starring Paapa Essiedu has been on a UK tour and just opened at Hackney Empire. Whyman is thrilled with the response. “Paapa is an amazing Hamlet and he is surrounded by a genuinely extraordinary cast,” she says. “There is a kind of physical explosive energy to both the production and Paapa’s performance. It’s a fantastic way to see the play in a whole new light.” 

Hamlet-RSC-RST-659.jpg

Paapa Essiedu as Hamlet.

We are talking the week of the Olivier Award nominations and the RSC have been overlooked – for the second year running. Does it bruise? “Yes, it does bruise us…” she says cautiously. “I spent eight years in Newcastle Upon Tyne, before that I worked in Notting Hill and in Southwark – before Southwark was sexy. I have spent my life in places that the centre of the establishment likes to think are peripheral: European theatre, theatre made in the North, theatre made by women etc. So, I am probably a little more sanguine; I expect the RSC to be overlooked. Will we survive it? I should say so.”

The RSC have chosen female directors for all plays in the summer 2018 season. Whyman says that this was not a deliberate move. What would a more equal future for women look like? “Polly Findlay, who I’m working closely with at the moment on Macbeth, puts it better than I can. She says: ‘I’d really like to be talking about our ideas.’ Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were talking about the ideas that our distinguished and emerging women have?”

Erica is in the middle of rehearsals for the upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet. “I couldn’t be more excited by it,” she says quickly. “It’s a much better play than I thought it was, it keeps revealing itself to me to be truly great. It portrays Romeo and Juliet as widely equal in a world that doesn’t expect that. Both the depths of emotion he is capable of and the types of courage that she is capable of are surprising. My cast is properly diverse and I am thrilled by that because it doesn’t feel like boxes on a piece of paper. When Beth Cordingly, playing Escalus, walks on stage and says “What, ho! You men, you beasts,’ to stop the fighting it rings with contemporary resonance and a sense of male violence.”

Audience development is key to the future. What does she think of the current conversations around arts coverage? “We need to get critics out of London,” she says. “Perhaps we are in a transition from what we think our established audience is: as a newspaper, as a theatre or indeed politics,” she says. “We have this idea of an audience who are middle aged and I think we’re wrong about them, because I’m middle aged and they are wrong about me,” says Whyman.

Shakespeare is one of the only compulsory cultural figures left on the curriculum. Whyman acknowledges the challenges that this presents her peers. She is definitely alarmed at the current state of affairs. In my lifetime of two or three different forms of Conservative…” She quickly corrects herself to say that that is not the right word. “Wealth creation governments, that have had an absolute logic to them: create the wealth and enable it to be distributed. Well, they have failed.” 

“I recognise the realities of life, I watch the news. It feels like we are in a crisis.” She takes a little pause. “It’s about being able to say who we are effectively and working in a way together, that is greater than the sum of its parts.” 

We have been talking for almost an hour and our time together is nearly up. Is there anything that she’d like to add? “It is easy to be bleak about the state of the world and I am bleak about the state of the world,” she continues, more resilient than sad. “But my greatest privilege is that I see how lively and intelligent and rich that a generation of theatre-makers instincts are about audiences and not just about art. It is also an exciting time because I think people’s blood is up.”

She is smiling as she says that and I believe every word.  

 

Hamlet runs at Hackney Empire until 31 March 2018 

Macbeth runs at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 20 March to September 2018

Romeo and Juliet runs at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 21 April 2018 and will be broadcast live to cinemas on the 18th July 2018, with a UK tour planned in 2019.

Full Casting announced for RSC National Tour of Hamlet

Paapa Essiedu
Paapa Essiedu

Paapa Essiedu

Tour opens in Salford, before visiting Plymouth, Hull, Newcastle Upon Tyne and Northampton, January – March 2018. Production then runs at Hackney Empire between 6 And 31 March 2018.

National Press Night: Tuesday 30 January 2018 at The Lowry, Salford

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will tour its acclaimed production of Hamlet, originally seen in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016, to Salford, Plymouth, Hull, Newcastle upon Tyne and Northampton between January and March 2018, before transferring to London’s Hackney Empire between 6 and 31 March 2018.

“A landmark production” Financial Times
“Simply a terrific Hamlet, a blazing new star standing at the heart of an intelligent and engrossing production” TheSunday Times

Directed by Simon Godwin, the production will see RSC Associate Artist Paapa Essiedu reprise his award-winning performance in the title role as one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic heroes.

Joining Paapa in the cast are Romayne Andrews (Rosencrantz), Lorna Brown (Gertrude), James Cooney(Horatio), Patrick Elue (Fortinbras), Kevin N Golding (Player King), Tracy-Anne Green (Player), Maureen Hibbert(Player Queen), Whitney Kehinde (Cornelia), Byron Mondahl (Professor of Wittenberg), Joseph Mydell (Polonius),Mimi Ndiweni (Ophelia), Esther Niles (Osric), John Omole (Voltemand), Clarence Smith (Claudius), Buom Tihngang (Laertes), Ewart James Walters (Ghost) and Eleanor Wyld (Guildenstern).

RSC Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, said: “We are passionate about taking the productions we make in our home in Stratford-upon-Avon to theatres across the UK.  In 2018 we are glad that many people across the country will have the opportunity to see our work at their local theatre. As well as Hamlet, our acclaimed production of Matilda The Musical will also embark on its first UK and Ireland tour, and our First Encounters with Shakespeare production of Julius Caesar will visit schools and theatres between January -March.”

Paapa Essiedu won Best Performance in a Play at the UK Theatre Awards in 2016 for his role as Hamlet.  Paapa’s other RSC credits include Edmund in King Lear, Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The Mouse and his Child.  Additional theatre credits include King Lear (National Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Tobacco Factory).  He played Demetrius in Russell T Davies’ adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for BBC1 (2016), and appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s 2017 film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. Paapa will shortly be seen on TV in The Miniaturist and Mike Bartlett’s Press (both BBC 1) and Jack Thorne’s Kiri (Channel 4).

See Paapa talking about the role: https://youtu.be/762waHrlqJM

Simon Godwin’s work as a director includes The Two Gentlemen of Verona (RSC), Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe),Twelfth Night, Man and Superman, The Beaux’ Stratagem and Strange Interlude (National Theatre). He is Associate Director at the National Theatre, and was Associate Director at Northampton Royal & Derngate between 2001-04.

Simon Godwin said: “I’m delighted that Hamlet will be touring in 2018.  Paapa Essiedu is British with Ghanaian heritage. When Paapa and I talked about the production, I realised how radical it might be to see Denmark through the lens of a completely different culture, a culture that Paapa himself had experienced.  I began to imagine a Denmark re-conceived as a modern state influenced by the ritual, traditions and beauty of west Africa.  So, our setting is full of the colour, emotional intensity and passion associated with that part of the world.

“As Hamlet, Paapa is intelligent, youthful and charismatic, with a contemporary wit.  But Paapa’s portrayal is also mercurial with an element of danger.

“Part ghost story, part family tragedy, part dark comedy, Hamlet is an urgent and gripping thriller.  I can’t wait to see how audiences respond to it around the country.”

Watch a clip from the production in 2016: https://youtu.be/–tWffBTyqM

Hamlet is directed by Simon Godwin and designed by Paul Wills with lighting by Paul Anderson. Music for the production is composed by Jamiroquai percussionist Sola Akingbola. Sound is by Christopher Shutt. Movement byMbulelo Ndabeni. Fights by Kev McCurdy.

#RSCHamletTour

Hamlet performance dates

National press night: Tuesday 30 January 2018 at The Lowry, Salford

The Lowry, Salford
26 January – 3 February 2018
Box Office: 0843 208 6000
www.thelowry.com
Theatre Royal Plymouth
6 – 10 February 2018
Box Office: 01752 267222
www.theatreroyal.com
Hull New Theatre
13-17 February 2018
Box office: 01482 300306
www.hulltheatres.co.uk
Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne
20 – 24 February 2018
Box Office: 0191 230 5151
www.northernstage.co.uk

Royal & Derngate, Northampton
27 February – 3 March 2018
Box Office: 01604 624811
www.royalandderngate.co.uk
Hackney Empire
6 – 31 March 2018
Box Office: 020 8985 2424
www.hackneyempire.co.uk

Last chance to see the West End transfer of Robert Icke’s critically acclaimed production of Hamlet starring Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott in Hamlet

Andrew Scott in Hamlet

Audiences have under a month left to enjoy the multi award-winning Robert Icke’s (Mary Stuart, The Red Barn, Uncle Vanya, Oresteia, Mr Burns and 1984) innovative production of Hamlet, starring Andrew Scott (SherlockDenialSpectre, Pride and Cock) live on stage, which must end on 2 September 2017 at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

BBC Two will broadcast this critically acclaimed stage production of William Shakespeare’s classic play, starring BAFTA and Olivier award-winning actor Andrew Scott in the title role.

 BBC viewers will have a front row seat at this celebrated production of Hamletwhich will broadcast on BBC Two in 2018. The programme was commissioned by Patrick Holland(Controller, BBC Two) and Emma Cahusac (Commissioning Editor, Arts) and is produced by John Wyver at Illuminations Television. Shot live in front of a West End audience, BBC viewers will be given close-up access to this generation’s most acclaimed Hamlet.

Following a sell out run at the Almeida Theatre, Hamlet has enjoyed a limited season in the West End, with over 55,000 people booked in so far across the entire run, equating to 96% of all tickets. 62% of Hamlet’s audience have been first time attendees. Over 28,000 seats were available at £30 or under, specifically for under 30s – with over 300 available for each of the 96 performances. 15,000 tickets were sold at £25 or less.

Robert Icke, Director (and Almeida Theatre Associate Director) says: “It has been a real joy to work with such a gifted and dedicated company of actors on bringing this most famous play to audiences in 2017. The production has been on a wonderful journey from the Almeida to the West End, and I am very much looking forward to this next step on BBC Two. To be able to offer our version of Hamlet to as wide and diverse an audience as possible has always been of paramount importance to us, and now we are thrilled to be able to bring it to people across the country.”

In celebration of the show’s final weeks at the Harold Pinter Theatre, the critically acclaimed Almeida Theatre production of Hamlet has offered a number of exclusive events and behind-the-scenes insights into the production including a cast Q&A and an In conversation with Robert and Andrew. The final event announced will run on 22 August.

LIVE STREAM IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT ICKE, ANDREW SCOTT AND STEPHEN GROSZ – HAMLET, MADNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH

 Tuesday 22 August – 2pm

Two of Hamlet’s key themes are madness and grief; and mourning, bereavement and emotion are central to the story. Director Robert Icke used psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz’s book THE EXAMINED LIFE as a reference point in rehearsals and one of the most feted aspects of the production has been that, in Andrew’s performance, these emotions feel unusually personal and raw. Robert, Andrew and Stephen discuss the character, the play and its themes of madness and mourning, sanity and survival, live from the Facebook Studio.

Watch the live stream from 2pm on Tuesday 22 Aug via Time Out London. Available to watch again in full after the event.

 

RADA President Kenneth Branagh to direct Tom Hiddleston in Hamlet

Kenneth Branagh’s Olivier Award-winning theatre company will join forces with RADA for a co-production of Hamlet, to support the transformation of RADA’s Chenies Street site in London, further developing the Academy as a world-leader in dramatic arts training.

The production will feature RADA alumnus Tom Hiddleston in the title role and will play a strictly limited three week run at RADA’s 160-seat Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre from 1-23 September 2017.

All funds raised will support the RADA Attenborough Campaign, which aims to raise £20million, enabling the regeneration of the Academy’s Chenies Street premises.

RADA’s new premises will provide RADA’s first on-site accommodation for students. RADA already supports 70% of students on its core programmes financially, and such new accommodation will further remove financial barriers to training.

The regeneration, which will also include a new library and enhanced archive, will convert the listed Drill Hall to become a flexible, 250 seat public theatre, named the Richard Attenborough Theatre.

The acting company and creative team are made up from members of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company and RADA.  They are Ayesha Antoine (Rosencrantz / Bernarda), Lolita Chakrabarti (Queen Gertrude),Nicholas Farrell (King Claudius), Sean Foley (Polonius / Osric), Tom Hiddleston (Hamlet), Ansu Kabia(King Hamlet / Player King / Gravedigger), Caroline Martin (Horatia), Eleanor de Rohan (Guildastern / Marcella / Priest), Irfan Shamji (Laertes / Player Queen) and Kathryn Wilder (Ophelia). Hamlet will be designed by James Cotterill with lighting design by Paul Pyant (both RADA graduates) and sound design byPaul Arditti and Christopher ReidLucy Bevan and Emily Brockmann are casting directors for the production.

RADA and the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company are also delighted to work with colleagues from many other parts of the industry, as well as current RADA Technical Theatre Arts Students.

To ensure that the ticket release is fair, a ballot will open at midday on 1 August, which can be entered online until 6pm on Sunday 6 August, and by phone from midday on 1 August until 5pm on 5 August (lines are open daily 10am – 5pm). Successful applicants shall be notified by or on 8 August and will then have 48 hours to book their tickets on 9-10 August.

Selected at random, all successful ballot applicants are guaranteed the opportunity to purchase a maximum of two tickets within the allotted 48 hour booking window. Tickets for specific dates however cannot be guaranteed and all dates are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Purchases will be limited to a maximum of two per person across all performances. No tickets to be sold by third parties and resale of tickets is strictly prohibited. To help prevent the chance of resale, customers will only be able to collect their tickets on the day of the performance (60 mins before the show begins). Bookers must bring relevant documentation to collect their tickets, and photo identification will be required for under-25s bookers to gain access to the auditorium.

Additionally, no returns shall be offered for the production. Consequently there will be neither a returns queue, nor day tickets available to purchase for Hamlet at the RADA box office in person or online.

Twenty percent of tickets will be priced at £15 and are only available to audiences aged 25 and under. A further twenty percent will be priced at £45, with the remaining tickets at £95.

As this is a fundraising event, the decision has been taken to offer no free tickets to media. Any journalist wishing to purchase a ticket will be able to enter the ballot. This is in an attempt to create a level playing field and to raise as much money as possible for the RADA Attenborough Campaign.

Edward KempDirector of RADA, said: “We’re thrilled that Kenneth Branagh returns to RADA to work with graduates of the Academy in support of our capital campaign. At RADA our close links with the industry are a vital part of the training, and we’re committed to maintaining these links in an ever-changing industry. This is a wonderful opportunity for actors from our graduating third year, as well as our current technical theatre and stage management students, to work alongside immensely talented professionals – forming a collaboration of artists that brings together a wealth of experience and exuberant young talent.”

Kenneth Branagh said: “I believe Shakespeare and RADA are very good things. This production celebrates both. We bring actors, writers, directors and technicians from last year’s KBTC Garrick season, and team them with RADA graduates past and present, together with artists from the larger creative world to explore Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The play speaks as loudly as ever to our volatile world and we are proud to have Tom Hiddleston lead an exciting group of actors, as he plays the title role for the first time. This work has been in discussion and planning over a period of years. To find its expression at, with, and for RADA, is a privilege.”

Tom Hiddleston said: “Hamlet presents almost limitless possibilities for interpretation. I can’t wait to explore them, with this great cast, at RADA. Kenneth Branagh and I have long talked about working on the play together, and now felt like the right time, at the right place. To be guided through it by him as a director, an expert and a friend, is our great good fortune. The performing arts exist to bring people together, not to break or keep them apart. I hope the funds raised by the production will help RADA continue to provide a wider field of equal opportunity to train actors, stage managers and technical theatre artists, from every background, to a standard of excellence and professionalism. We need to keep the doors open for everyone.”

LISTINGS

HAMLET
By William Shakespeare

Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre
Malet Street
London
WC1E 7JN

Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm from 1 – 23 September
Matinees at 2.30pm on 2, 9, 16, 23 September

www.radahamlet.com
Box Office (Cambridge Live) 01223 357 851

Tickets £95, £45 and £15 for under-25s
No credit card or booking fees

Accessible seating is available at all performances.

The run will also include accessible performances, details of which will be announced shortly; patrons are encouraged to provide access requirements when registering for the ticket ballot.

@RADA_London
#RADAHamlet

Hamlet at RADA is kindly supported by:

Champagne Partner
Taittinger

Technology Partners
Spektrix
Supercool

Wardrobe Partner
Selfridges

Following a critically acclaimed and sell-out run at The Almeida Theatre, Hamlet will transfer to the Harold Pinter Theatre for a strictly limited season from 9 June – 2 September

Andrew Scott in Hamlet

Andrew Scott in Hamlet

Olivier Award-winning director, Robert Icke’s (Mary Stuart, The Red Barn, Uncle Vanya, Oresteia, Mr Burns and 1984), ground-breaking and electrifying production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, starring BAFTA award-winner Andrew Scott (Moriarty in BBC’s Sherlock, Denial, Spectre, Design For Living and Cock) in the title role, will transfer to the Harold Pinter Theatre, following a critically acclaimed and sell out run at the Almeida Theatre. Hamlet will run for a limited season only from 9 June to 2 September 2017 with press night on Thursday 15 June.

Hamlet is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group (Sunday In The Park With George, Buried Child, Oresteia), Sonia Friedman Productions and the Almeida Theatre (Chimerica, Ghosts, King Charles III, 1984, Oresteia), who are renowned for introducing groundbreaking, critically acclaimed transfers to the West End.

Rupert Goold, Artistic Director, Almeida Theatre said “We’re delighted that with this transfer more people will be able to experience our production of Hamlet. Robert, Andrew, and the entire Hamlet company have created an unforgettable Shakespeare which we’re looking forward to sharing even more widely over the summer in partnership with Sonia Friedman Productions and ATG.”

 Robert Icke, Director (and Almeida Theatre Associate Director) said “It has been such a thrill to work with Andrew and the extraordinary company of Hamlet on this play so far, and I’m delighted we’re going to continue our work on this play in the West End this summer. I’m also extremely proud to be working with the Almeida and our producers, ATG and Sonia Friedman, to be able to present this play in a way that genuinely throws the doors open to a bigger range of audience members. In an increasingly expensive industry, I can’t tell you how brilliant it is for them to commit to having 300 tickets priced at under £30 at every single show.”

 Andrew Scott, playing Hamlet, “I’m so thrilled and honoured to be playing this extraordinary role with these brilliant actors in Rob’s stunning production. We have been overwhelmed with the reaction to our interpretation of Hamlet and I’m so happy that we can share it with a larger audience. This is a play full of heart, compassion and humanity. I’m so happy that we are able to offer 300 tickets for under £30 to every performance in the West End run to allow everybody a chance to see the play.”

The confirmed cast for the transfer of Robert Icke’s production includes Marty Cruickshank (Player Queen), Jessica Brown Findlay (Ophelia), Calum Finlay (Rosencrantz), Joshua Higgott (Horatio),Daniel Rabin (Reynaldo), David Rintoul (Ghost/Player King), Andrew Scott (Hamlet) Juliet Stevenson (Gertrude), Luke Thompson (Laertes), Peter Wight (Polonius), Angus Wright (Claudius)and Matthew Wynn (Bernardo/Player 3/Priest). Further cast will be announced in due course.

Hamlet has design by Hildegard Bechtler, with lighting by Natasha Chivers, sound by Tom Gibbons,and video design by Tal Yarden. The Associate Director is Daniel Raggett. Casting is by Julia Horan.

Multi award-winning Director, Robert Icke, has adapted/directed at the Almeida Theatre Mary Stuart,Uncle Vanya, Oresteia (also West End, and for which Icke won the Critics’ Circle, Evening Standard and Olivier Award for Best Director) and the multi-award-winning 1984 with Duncan Macmillan (also West End as well as playing several UK and international tours, and a forthcoming Broadway run at the newly opened Hudson Theater).

His work as a director includes The Fever at The May Fair Hotel, Mr Burns at the Almeida, Boys andRomeo and Juliet for Headlong. He made his National Theatre debut directing The Red Barn, at the Lyttelton Theatre in October 2016 starring Mark Strong and Elizabeth Debicki.

Andrew Scott’s Hamlet at Almeida Theatre For Free, for anyone aged 25 and under from 10-13 April

Andrew Scott in Hamlet

Andrew Scott in Hamlet

Hamlet for Free will run from Monday 10 – Thursday 13 April with five performances of the Almeida’s production of Hamlet, directed by Robert Icke with Andrew Scott in the title role, exclusively available to anyone aged 25 and under. Free tickets for Hamlet can be booked online now at almeida.co.uk.

Alongside the play, Hamlet For Free will feature a programme of free performances, events, and workshops inspired by the themes and making of Hamlet. The Almeida will be open from 9.30am each day during the festival with the entire building and café bar dedicated to young people.

Festival highlights include:

  • Press Go, an interactive promenade piece created in response to the themes of Hamlet which will run throughout each day of the Festival. Press Go sees a group of fearless young actors invite their audience on a journey around Islington in a murder mystery thriller where every move they make has game-changing consequences. Win or lose, how this story ends is entirely up to the audience. Playing in teams of two they will visit multiple locations, with the choices they make along the way affecting how their journey unfolds. Combining storytelling, gaming and the ingredients of a classic psychological thriller, Press Go is a bold, cinematic and playful alternate reality game developed in collaboration with the Almeida’s Young Producers, written by Hannah Wood of StoryJuice Ltd and directed by Christopher Elmer-Gorry.
  • Jacob Anderson (aka Raleigh Ritchie) will take part in Lads Lounge, a discussion about crisis in modern masculinity, and talk about his television and music career. Jacob’s debut album ‘You’re A Man Now, Boy’ was released in 2016 and he can currently be seen on television as Greyworm in Game of Thrones.
  • A programme of workshops which will provide young people with the opportunity to learn from leading industry professionals including Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold, award-winning spoken word artist Polarbear, Poet Vanessa Kisuule, stage and screen-writers Rachel De-Lahay and Vinay Patel, stage combat company RC Annie, immersive theatre-makers Coney, and members of the Hamlet cast. The Almeida technical team will demonstrate how lighting, sound and stage management come together to create a seamless performance and there will be opportunities to go behind the scenes at the Almeida to see how a production comes together.
  • Answers Back: Who the hell’s in charge here? a panel event on the themes of leadership and division explored in Hamlet, will feature a panel of young people discussing what makes a good leader and how young people can motivate social change in this period of global political unrest.
  • An Audio Described and Captioned matinee performance of Hamlet for young deaf or hard of hearing and blind or visually impaired audiences, preceded by a Touch Tour on Wednesday 12 April.

Hamlet for Free renews the Almeida’s commitment to ensuring affordable and accessible tickets for young people across the year. From The Treatment onwards, at least 500 £5 tickets per production will be available to audiences aged 25 and under, spread across a choice of four performances and audiences aged 26 – 30 will have access to a further 450 £15 tickets per production. See almeida.co.uk for further details of ticket schemes and concessions.

Rupert Goold, Almeida Artistic Director said: “Hamlet For Free celebrates the young people who belong at the heart of the Almeida’s community. We are delighted to be producing this entirely free festival around Robert’s production of Hamlet, harnessing the imagination and energy of the Almeida for what will be an electric four days. We want to open up the doors of the theatre and welcome everyone aged 25 and under inside to experience the shows we create, the actors on stage, the creatives off stage, and to offer a platform for young people to explore their own talent, at no cost. It’s vital to remove any barriers to attending and making theatre and we are excited to welcome first-timers, students and young theatre-makers. No one should feel that theatre “isn’t for them” and Hamlet For Free is a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with audiences new to the Almeida and create a memorable and valuable experience. Hamlet For Free renews our commitment to ensuring affordable accessible tickets for young people across the Almeida’s artistic programme. We hope to see young audiences return for The Treatment, Ink and Against later this year with the discounted ticket schemes we’re rolling out.”

The full schedule for Hamlet For Free will be announced soon, with tickets for events available to book online from Monday 13 March. Tickets for free performances of Hamlet are exclusively available to anyone aged 25 and under from 10 – 13 April and can be booked now online at almeida.co.uk. Tickets are limited to two per person. The provision of free tickets for Hamlet for Free has been generously supported by Gregory Nasmyth and Samantha Rowe-Beddoe.