Hamlet, one of Shakespeare’s most brutal and violent tragedies, returns to Stratford-upon-Avon this March in time to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.
Paapa Essiedu will play the troubled Dane with Cyril Nri returning to the Royal Shakespeare Company for the role of Polonius in a production directed by Simon Godwin.
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.”
Paapa Essiedu is returning to the RSC after appearing in The Mouse and his Child, and as Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor in 2012. He is also known for his roles in popular Channel 4 series Utopia and Not Safe for Work.
Paapa and Hiran Abeysekera (Horatio) are to appear alongside Maxine Peake, Bernard Cribbins and Matt Lucas in Russell T Davies’ BBC adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, airing in 2016.
Cyril Nri returns to the RSC to play Polonius, after last performing with the company as Cassius in Gregory Doran’s production of Julius Caesar in 2012. He recently appeared in Channel 4’s series Cucumber.
Tanya Moodie will play Gertrude. She recently played Constance in The Globe production of King John. She is also known for her role as Ella in the hit BBC drama Sherlock.
The cast also includes: Bethan Cullinane, Marcus Griffiths, Theo Ogundipe, Natalie Simpson and Clarence Smith with further casting to be announced.
Hamlet plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from March 12 – August 13.