In a bold re-imagining of Shakespeare’s most iconic work, Hamlet will open the Autumn/Winter 14/15 season on Thursday 11th September 2014.

BAFTA nominated Maxine Peake (The Village, Hancock and Joan) will lead the cast in this stripped back, fresh and fast-paced production which reunites her with Royal Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom.

Having had huge success at last year’s Manchester International Festival with The Masque of Anarchy, Frankom’s other recent Royal Exchange credits include A View From The Bridge, Miss Julie, Orpheus Descending, That Day We Sang and Blindsided.

In a play about loyalty, love, betrayal, murder and madness, Hamlet’s father, the King of Denmark is dead. In his place, his brother Claudius has been crowned King and in Hamlet’s grief-stricken effort to exact revenge, devastating consequences are met.

Speaking about her title role, Peake said, “Sarah and I have looked for a project that would stretch and excite us and HAMLET just seemed the next natural step to challenge us both in so many ways. I am so excited at how gender swapping can affect and throw up new ways of looking at this theatrical masterpiece.”

With her latest direction being described as a Hamlet for now – a Hamlet for Manchester, Sarah said, “Maxine started her acting career in our youth theatre. Her performances have thrilled our audiences and the Royal Exchange is her local theatre. HAMLET is a massively exciting challenge for any actor and director.

Appearing alongside Maxine Peake are Claire Benedict as Player King and Marcella; Gillian Bevan as Polonia; Jodie McNee as Rosencrantz; Barbara Marten as Gertrude; John Shrapnel as Claudius and the Ghost; Katie West as Ophelia and Ashley Zhangazha as Laertes.

The cast also includes Thomas Arnold, Michelle Butterly, Dean Gregory, Tachia Newall, Peter Singh and Ben Stott.

Members of the Royal Exchange’s Young Company will also be appearing as the Young Players.

With production designed by Amanda Stoodley and music composed by Alex Baranowski, the creative team is completed by Lee Curran (lighting), Peter Rice (sound), Imogen Knight (movement) and Kevin McCurdy (fights).

11th September-18th October
The Royal Exchange Theatre
St. Ann’s Square
Manchester M2 7DH

Directed by Sarah Frankcom
Designed by Amanda Stoodley

Evening Performance Times:
Monday – Saturday, 7.30pm
Matinee Performance Times:
Wednesdays & Saturday 2.30pm
Extra matinee: Tuesday 7 October, 2.30pm
Half Price Previews: Thursday 11 & Friday 12 September
Press Night: Tuesday 16 September, 7.30pm
Ticket Prices: Standard tickets from £15 (Concessions Available)
Audio-described Performance: Saturday 11 October, 2.30pm
BSL Interpreted Performance: Tuesday 14 October, 7.30pm
Captioned Performance: Thursday 9 October, 7.30pm
After-show Discussion Wednesday 8 October after 7.30pm performance

Box Office: 0161 833 9833.



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