Ralph Fiennes heads Almeida Theatre’s Richard III

Ralph Fiennes as Richard III. Image Miles Aldridge
Ralph Fiennes as Richard III. Image Miles Aldridge

Ralph Fiennes takes the title role in Shakespeare’s Richard III at London’s Almeida Theatre this summer, it was announced today. Directed by Almeida artistic director, Rupert Goold the production will also see Vanessa Redgrave makes her venue début as Queen Margaret.

The new season of work will also feature two provocative new plays – They Drink It In The Congo and Oil – and a new take on Hamlet with Andrew Scott as the troubled Dane.

Rupert Goold - artistic director, Almeida Theatre

Rupert Goold said: “We’re thrilled to present a season of plays which, whether classic drama or new writing, ask the big questions the Almeida is renowned for. How far will someone go for power? And what can one person do about global, international problems?

“We’re reviving two of Shakespeare’s most potent and political tragedies with some of our greatest actors. We welcome Ralph Fiennes back to the Almeida as Richard III, a character at once Machiavellian and totally recognisable to a modern audience.

“To see the man who has played both Voldemort and Amon Göth in this role in our intimate space will be an extraordinary event. We’re delighted he will be joined by Vanessa Redgrave in her Almeida debut as Queen Margaret.

“Andrew Scott will provide a startlingly fresh take on Hamlet, a tragedy which needs no introduction to modern audiences: and with Juliet Stevenson as Gertrude, in a production directed by Robert Icke, we’ll see the latent theatricality of the play laid bare.

“Adam Brace’s They Drink It In The Congo and Ella Hickson’s Oil are urgent and anarchic new plays about the increasingly small, fragmented world we live in. Playful in approach and epic in form, they take us on international journeys, exploring our dependency on limited resources and the costs of modern living”.

The season starts in June with Richard III, Shakespeare’s most notorious villain. Alongside Fiennes and Redgrave the cast includes David Annen, Tom Canton, James Garnon, Mark Hadfield, Scott Handy, Finbar Lynch, Aislίn McGuckin, Joseph Mydell, Joshua Riley, Lukas Rolfe and Joanna Vanderham.

They Drink It In The Congo starts its run in August and unpacks the problems of doing something good about something bad.​ The Congo is home to the deadliest conflict since World War II while London is home to a festival to raise awareness of the Congo (that is, if Stef can get the festival off the ground.)

This is Adam Brace’s second full length play. He is associate dramaturg at Nuffield Theatre, Southampton and lectures in Southampton University’s English Department. Adam regularly works in live comedy as a director and script editor.

The world premiere of Oil, an explosive new play which drills deep into the world’s relationship with this finite resource, takes place in October. An epic, hurtling crash of empire, history and family Oil drives our imaginations from 1889 to 2016 and beyond.

Hamlet, directed by Robert Icke, takes to the stage in February 2017 with Andrew Scott making his Almeida début in the title role in with Juliet Stevenson as Gertrude.

Tickets for the new season go on public sale May 12 with priority booking, open to Almeida members at Designers’ Circle level and above, on May 3. Other priority booking opens May 5.

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