Royal Shakespeare Company to tour Hamlet with Paapa Essiedu

RSC HAMLET 1. IMAGES Manuel Harlan

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced today that it will tour its acclaimed production of Hamlet that was originally seen in Stratford-upon-Avon last year.

Directed by Simon Godwin, the production will see the RSC associate artist Paapa Essiedu reprise his award-winning performance in the title role as one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic heroes.

RSC executive director, Catherine Mallyon, said: “We are passionate about taking the productions we make in our home in Stratford-upon-Avon to theatres across the UK. 

“In 2018 we are glad that many people across the country will have the opportunity to see our work at their local theatre.”

Paapa Essiedu won Best Performance in a Play at the UK Theatre Awards in 2016 for his role as Hamlet.  Paapa’s other RSC credits include Edmund in King Lear, Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Mouse and his Child.

RSC Hamlet

Additional theatre credits include King Lear (National Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Tobacco Factory).  He played Demetrius in Russell T Davies’ adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for BBC1 (2016).

Simon Godwin said: “I’m delighted that Hamlet will be touring in 2018.  Paapa Essiedu is British with Ghanaian heritage.

“When Paapa and I talked about the production, I realised how radical it might be to see Denmark through the lens of a completely different culture, a culture that Paapa himself had experienced. 

“I began to imagine a Denmark re-conceived as a modern state influenced by the ritual, traditions and beauty of west Africa.  So, our setting is full of the colour, emotional intensity and passion associated with that part of the world. 

“As Hamlet, Paapa is intelligent, youthful and charismatic, with a contemporary wit.  But Paapa’s portrayal is also mercurial with an element of danger. 

“Part ghost story, part family tragedy, part dark comedy, Hamlet is an urgent and gripping thriller.  I can’t wait to see how audiences respond to it around the country.”

2018 Tour

January 26 – February 3, The Lowry, Salford
February 6 – 10, Theatre Royal Plymouth
February 13-17, Hull New Theatre
February 20 – 24, Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne
February 27 – March 3, Royal & Derngate, Northampton
March 6 – 31, Hackney Empire.

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