In honour of the four hundredth anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, A Kingdom for a Stage, a new play by Tony Diggle (Show Me The Money), directed by West End director Andrew Loudon (Carrie’s War, Gertrude’s Secret, Cool Hand Luke), comes to London’s Chelsea Theatre, starring Jonathan Coote as William Shakespeare, recently seen in As You Like It and Our Country’s Good at the Royal National Theatre.
The premiere production runs from 28 April to 7 May 2016, with a press night on 28 April.
William Shakespeare sits in the heavens with his peers, excited by the recreation of his Globe Theatre in London and by the four hundredth anniversary of his death. With Puck’s assistance, he returns to London, believing that everything is very much better.
When he discovers things are not nearly as rosy as he thought, he decides to “torment them (the people of the present day) for this error”. But Christopher Marlowe and Mephistopheles intervene, pointing out that Shakespeare’s own life was far from rosy itself!
The play compares the Britain of the Elizabethan and Jacobean age with the Britain of Elizabeth II, and contrasts Shakespeare the public man, as expressed through the general line of his plays, with Shakespeare the private man.
Tony Diggle is the author of six unpublished plays, one of which, Show Me The Money, he produced at the Chelsea Theatre in 2013.
Andrew Loudon trained at The Drama Studio and made his directorial debut in 1999 at the Pleasance, Edinburgh, with Little Women, the success of which led to further productions at the Sadler’s Wells, and its West End run at the Duchess Theatre. He also directed Carrie’s War at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, which received 4- and 5-star reviews at its West End transfer to the Apollo Theatre in 2009 and then embarked on a Number One UK tour in 2010. He also directed Gertrude’s Secret with Prunella Scales, Angela Griffin and Natalie Cassidy at Trafalgar Studios, Chichester Minerva and Leeds Grand, and in 2011 directed Cool Hand Luke at the Aldwych Theatre with Marc Warren in the lead.