Theatre

RSC’S 2016 PRODUCTION OF HAMLET WITH PAAPA ESSIEDU TO BE BROADCAST ON BBC FOUR 21 JUNE

Simon Godwin’s landmark production of Hamlet (2016) with Paapa Essiedu in the title role on Sunday 21 June at 9pm, to be broadcast on BBC Four.

Directed by Polly Findlay with Chris Eccleston and Niamh Cusack, this contemporary production of Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thriller premiered at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in Spring 2018 and transferred to the Barbican in November of the same year.

Macbeth is designed by Fly Davis with lighting by Lizzie Powell and music by Rupert Cross. Sound is by Christopher Shutt and movement is by Aline David with fights by Kate Waters and illusions by Chris Fisher.

Full cast comprises David Acton (Duncan); Afolabi Alli (Company); Donna Banya (Donalbain/Gentlewoman); Stevie Basaula (Bloody Captain/2nd Murderer); Edward Bennett (Macduff); Katy Brittain (Doctor); Raif Clarke (Boy); Niamh Cusack (Lady Macbeth); Paul Dodds (Chamberlain 1); Christopher Eccleston (Macbeth); Josh Finan (Company); Bally Gill (Ross); Mariam Haque (Lady MacDuff); Michael Hodgson (Porter); John Macaulay (Chamberlain/Lord); Luke Newberry (Malcolm); Tom Padley (1st Murderer); Tim Samuels (Lennox) and Raphael Sowole (Banquo).

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2016 production of Hamlet, directed by Simon Godwin with Paapa Essiedu in the title role, opened the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death in 2016 in Stratford-upon-Avon. Paapa Essiedu later reprised the role for the 2018 UK tour and in Washington DC.

Director Simon Godwin said: “I wanted to find a context where, as a character, Hamlet could feel dislocated, where he could feel conflicted by the demands of his ancestors against the pressure to find a new way of thinking…I began to imagine a Denmark re-conceived as modern state influenced by the ritual, beauty and cosmology of West Africa.”

Hamlet is 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.

The full cast comprises of Hiran Abeysekera (Horatio), Romayne Andrews (Osric), Doreene Blackstock (Player Queen), Eke Chukwu (Voltimand), James Cooney (Rosencrantz), Bethan Cullinane (Guildenstern), Marième Diouf (Cornelia / Player), Paapa Essiedu (Hamlet), Kevin N Golding (Bernardo / Priest / Player King), Marcus Griffiths (Laertes), Byron Mondahl (Professor of Wittenberg / English Ambassador), Tanya Moodie (Gertrude), Theo Ogundipe (Fortinbras / Marcellus / Lucianus), Cyril Nri (Polonius), Natalie Simpson (Ophelia), Clarence Smith (Claudius), Ewart James Walters (Ghost / Gravedigger) and Temi Wilkey (Player).

Other confirmed RSC titles being broadcast on BBC Four this June include Much Ado About Nothing (2014, directed by Christopher Luscombe, with Edward Bennett as Benedick and Michelle Terry as Beatrice); Othello (2015, directed by Iqbal Khan, with Hugh Quarshie in the title role and Lucian Msamati as Iago) and The Merchant of Venice (2015, directed by Polly Findlay, with Makram J. Khoury as Shylock).

All six RSC Culture in Quarantine productions are currently part of the UK education syllabus and the broadcast will be supported by a week-long programme of GCSE lesson plans themed around Romeo and Juliet taking place from Monday 15 – Friday 19 June as part of BBC Bitesize Daily.

Focussing on Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, the lessons will offer special insights from RSC actors and directors about how to decode Shakespeare’s language and bring 400-year-old plays to life for today’s audiences.

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