A new production of Hamlet starring Sir Ian McKellen in the eponymous role is set to begin performances from 21 June, over eight months since rehearsals began.
The production, which will take place at the Theatre Royal Windsor, was delayed due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. However with lockdown measures expected to be relaxed as per the UK Government’s road map, the show is able to open at an initially reduced capacity. Performances that do not require social distancing are planned from 12 July.
Producer Bill Kenwright stated that he is “hugely optimistic” that government guidelines will allow for a “pretty historic opening.”
Directed by Sean Mathias, this interpretation of Shakespeare’s play was cast age, gender and colour blind. The 81-year-old Sir Ian will play the ‘young prince.’ In another unconventional twist, a limited number of on-stage seats will be available for theatregoers to be even closer to the action.
Marking the start of Mathias’ first season as artistic director at the theatre, Hamlet will be one of the first major new productions to open after the lockdown. The Theatre Royal has assured audiences that they will remain in line with government guidelines.
Sir Ian will be joined by an ensemble that includes Steven Berkoff and Jenny Seagrove. The same company will appear in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard this autumn.
Hamlet is running from 21 June to 4 September, with tickets going on general release from Saturday 20 March.
Words by Lucy Carter.
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Image: © Theatre Royal Windsor