Theatre fans are thrilled to hear the announcement today that legendary stage director Kenneth Branagh will be presenting his latest production, Hamlet, with none other than his protégé Tom Hiddleston in the starring role.
The production will be in aid of raising money for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and with a short 3 week run in a theatre that holds only 160 people. Tickets will be almost as hot a prospect as the star himself.
Rumours have been circulating for a few months that the pair were reuniting to bring to life a Shakespearean production. Branagh and Hiddleston have a long and successful history of working together. They appeared together in the Donmar production of Ivanov in 2008, as well as the highly acclaimed series Wallander and it was Branagh’s casting of Hiddleston as Loki in the Marvel’s Thor that brought him to world wide audiences.
Branagh is a RADA graduate and is the school’s current President, with Hiddleston being a graduate of the esteemed institution. Hiddleston said in a statement “Kenneth Branagh and I have long talked about working on the play together, and now felt like the right time, at the right place.
“The performing arts exist to bring people together, not to break or keep them apart.”Hiddleston said ” I hope the funds raised by the production will help RADA continue to provide a wider field of equal opportunity to train actors, stage managers and technical theatre artists, from every background, to a standard of excellence and professionalism. We need to keep the doors open for everyone.”
The cast also includes Ayesha Antoine, Sean Foley, Ansu Kabia, Caroline Martin, Eleanor de Rohan and Irfan Shamji.
All proceeds of the production will go towards RADA’s Attenborough Campaign, named in honour of the late Sir Richard Attenborough who was RADA’s previous President. The campaign hopes to raise £20 million to regenerate the site on Chenies Street and provide RADA’s first on-site accommodation for students.
Branagh spoke to The Stage saying that the production would be a celebration of both Shakespeare and RADA “The play speaks as loudly as ever to our volatile world and we are proud to have Tom Hiddleston lead an exciting group of actors, as he plays the title role for the first time. This work has been in discussion and planning over a period of years. To find its expression at, with, and for RADA, is a privilege,” he said. He went on to add “I’m not someone who gets particularly nostalgic, but there is definitely a moment in your life where you look back with a different clarity. This is one such moment, and doing Hamlet here feels like coming full circle. RADA gave me confidence, support and creative freedom. I had a fantastic time here.”
Due to the expected rush on tickets, there is a ballot system which is open until Sunday August 6, and you can enter the ballot for no more than two tickets on the production’s website. Winners will be notified next week and will then get their chance to purchase their tickets. There are a number of £15 tickets available for under-25s, and the remaining tickets start at £45.
Hamlet will be at RADA’s Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre from September 1 – 23.