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Tennant’s Hamlet confirms West End transfer

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David Tennant’s Hamlet will transfer to the West End this Christmas, along with two other new Royal Shakespeare Company productions - A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Taming of the Shrew.

The trio of shows, currently playing in Stratford-upon-Avon, will all run at the Novello Theatre in a season from December to March 2009. Meanwhile, two new works will play at Wilton’s Music Hall - The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes by Adriano Shaplin and The Cordelia Dream by Marina Carr.

Hamlet will also star Patrick Stewart as Claudius. Gregory Doran will director both Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while Conall Morrison will Direct The Taming of the Shrew.

Michael Boyd, RSC artistic director, said: “Greg Doran’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream combines wide-eyed fairy magic with obscene humour in a production which speaks vividly to adults and young people alike. RSC alumni David Tennant, Patrick Stewart and Penny Downie, are coming back to the company, bringing new experience and perspectives, to work with Greg on Hamlet. And Conall Morrison’s terrifying reading of Shrew explores the deep seams of fear and anger which can be at the heart of sexual relationships in a riotously playful production.

“The RSC wants to connect contemporary people with Shakespeare and engage with the world as we know it, mining Shakespeare for inspiration but also drawing from contemporary writers and artists to re-examine his work. That’s why I’m particularly pleased that we can present two new works alongside the Shakespeare repertoire.

“Adriano Shaplin’s new play The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes was completed during his time as writer in residence, working in the rehearsal room directly with the Histories company, exploring epic theatre-making and grappling with the clash between art and science. Marina Carr has drawn on the universal themes from King Lear as the starting point for her two-hander, The Cordelia Dream. Both will be cross-cast from the Stratford ensemble, allowing our actors to flex their muscles on both Shakespeare and contemporary writing.”

The season will see the RSC resuming its deal with Delfont Mackintosh to present work in its London theatres, having taken a year off in 2007 to present its Histories project at the Roundhouse in Camden.

Vikki Heywood, RSC executive director, added: “The RSC is pleased to continue its agreement with Delfont Mackintosh to use the Novello Theatre, alongside other London venues. It’s great to be returning there with three Shakespeare plays direct from The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford, and to be taking new work to the beautiful and evocative space of Wilton’s Music Hall.

“This year we’ve hardly paused for breath as we’ve criss-crossed the capital - from the Hackney Empire in east London (to which we’re returning next year with Othello as part of a national tour), to the Tricycle and at the Roundhouse in north London, and the Soho and New London theatres in the West End - selling out shows all over town and reaching new and more diverse audiences. Between November 2007 and May 2008, more than 97,000 people have seen us in the capital.”

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