Monday, 11 August 2014

Maxine Peake as Hamlet at Royal Exchange


by William Shakespeare   

Directed by Sarah Frankcom

Designed by Amanda Stoodley 

The Royal Exchange Theatre,
St Ann’s Square, Manchester.
Thursday 11 September – Saturday 18 October  

PRESS NIGHT: Tuesday 16 September at 7.30pm

Acclaimed theatre and television actress Maxine Peake is set to star in a bold re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s HAMLET by William Shakespeare at the Royal Exchange Theatre - taking the title role in a new production which runs from Thursday 11 September to Saturday 18 October.   

Launching the theatre’s new Autumn Winter 14 / 15 Season – the production reunites her with Royal Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom following the huge success of THE MASQUE OF ANARCHY at last year’s Manchester International Festival.   

BAFTA nominated for her performances in both THE VILLAGE and HANCOCK AND JOAN, Maxine’s many other TV credits include SILK, RED RIDING and Myra Hindley in SEE NO EVIL.

Previous theatre credits for the Royal Exchange include RUTHERFORD AND SON, THE CHILDREN’S HOUR and, most recently, MISS JULIE.   

In Shakespeare’s most iconic play, Hamlet’s father is dead and Denmark has crowned a new king. Consumed by grief, Hamlet struggles to exact revenge with devastating consequences. HAMLET explodes with big idea and is the ultimate play about loyalty, love, betrayal, murder and madness.  
This stripped back, fresh and fast-paced version, will see Maxine Peake create a Hamlet for now – a Hamlet for Manchester.  
She 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.'   

Sarah Frankcom’s other recent Royal Exchange credits include A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, MISS JULIE, ORPHEUS DESCENDING, THAT DAY WE SANG and BLINDSIDED.  

She 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.' 

Also appearing 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.   

The production is designed by Amanda Stoodley and music is composed by Alex Baranowski. The creative team is completed by Lee Curran (lighting), Peter Rice (sound), Imogen Knight (movement) and Kevin McCurdy (fights).  
  • Maxine Peake will also be joining the Exchange as an Associate Artist this autumn.  Her new role will draw on her considerable talents as one of the nation’s best-loved actors and also as a writer. It will include opportunities for her to get involved in the theatre’s pioneering work with community groups and young people - and work with young actors from across the city.

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