Originally published 19 October 2016: Following performances across Europe, including Gdansk Shakespeare Festival; Mercury Theatre Colchester; Craiova International Festival; Park Theatre, London; four theatres in Spain; Neuss Globe Shakespeare Festival; and Kronborg Castle, Elsinore Hamletscenen, Flute Theatre and English Touring Theatre today announces that their production of Hamlet, adapted by Kelly Hunter, transfers to the Trafalgar Studios for a limited run this December. The production opens on 8 December, with previews from 6 December, and runs until 31 December 2016.
As well as adapting, Hunter directs Mark Arends (Hamlet), Finlay Cormack (Laertes), David Fielder (Polonius/ Gravedigger), Tom Mannion (Claudius), Katy Stevens (Gertrude) and Francesca Zoutewelle (Ophelia).
Hamlet, alone in his bedroom, is possessed by the tortured ghost of his father, rising from his own disturbed consciousness. Grief is transferred from person to person, spreading like poison through the family, and demonstrating how trauma can have wide-reaching consequences. The production tears open the wound at the heart of the play to explore Shakespeare’s existential opening question: who’s there?
This ninety-minute version features six actors and a sofa. It explores notions of the divided self and the transference of grief within one impossible claustrophobic night, shining a spotlight on mental health issues in our modern world.
Kelly Hunter is the Artistic Director of Flute Theatre, which she founded to continue her pioneering productions of Shakespeare. She is also an award-winning actor and director. Over the past 30 years, she has played major roles for the RSC, National Theatre, English Touring Theatre and the Icelandic company Vesturport. She has also worked extensively in film, TV and radio. From 2002-2006 she was the Artistic Director of Touchstone Shakespeare Theatre, which she created to offer Shakespeare to children with no access to the arts. Hunter has created a series of sensory drama games named The Hunter Heartbeat Method, which form her work with children with autism. This methodology has been the basis of a longitudinal study at Ohio State University since 2011. She is the author of two books, Shakespeare’s Heartbeat, drama games for children with autism, published by Routledge, and Cracking Shakespeare; A hands-on guide for actors and directors, published by Methuen.
Mark Arends plays Hamlet. His theatre credits include The Angry Brigade (The Bush Theatre), The Two Gentlemen Of Verona (Royal Shakespeare Company), 1984 (Almeida Theatre/Headlong), Company), Beauty And The Beast, The U.N. Inspector, A Dream Play (National Theatre), Cat In The Hat (National Theatre/Young Vic/Theatre de la Ville, Paris), Marianne Dreams (Almeida Theatre) and The Glass Menagerie, Henry V, What Every Woman Knows (Manchester Royal Exchange). Arends also founded and runs Make Mend and Do Theatre Company. For television his work includes New Tricks, Skins and The Innocence Project; and for film, Draw On Sweet Night, Cat In The Hat, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Pride and Prejudice.
Finlay Cormack plays Laertes. He will appear as Ariel in Flute Theatre’s production of The Tempest at the Orange Tree Theatre. His other theatre credits include Pride and Prejudice (European tour) and The Winter’s Tale (Aldeburgh Festival). For film, his work includes Chronology.
David Fielder plays Polonius/Gravedigger. His theatre credits include Fathers and Sons (Donmar Warehouse), The Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well, As You Like It, Hamlet, Richard III, King John and The Tempest (RSC), The Sunshine Boys (Oldham Coliseum), Bronte (The Watermill) and Waiting for Godot (Manchester Library Theatre – MEN Award for Best Actor). For television, his work includes Spatz, Floodtide, A Wanted Man, Widows, Mitch, Two’s Company, Softly Softly and The Naked Civil Servant; and for film, The Pledge, Superman III and Yanks.
Tom Mannion plays Claudius. His many theatre credits include The Patriotic Traitor (Park Theatre), All My Sons, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Bartholomew Fair, Much Ado about Nothing (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Women, Power & Politics Season (Tricycle Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream ( Shakespeare’s Globe), Metamorphosis (Lyric/No.1 Tour), The Cherry Orchard, The Romans in Britain (Sheffield Crucible), The Brothers Karamazov, The Philadelphia Story (Manchester Royal Exchange), Hamlet (The Old Vic), Coriolanus, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Julius Caesar (RSC), Art (Wyndham’s Theatre), Closer (West End), The Threepenny Opera (Donmar Warehouse), Cyrano de Bergerac (Almeida Theatre & national tour) and The Ends of the Earth, Rutherford and Son (National Theatre). For television, his work includes Unforgotten, Lucky Man, Mr Selfridge, Inside Men, Spooks, John Adams, New Tricks, Coup, Life on Mars, Hustle, Lip Service and Waking the Dead.
Katy Stephens plays Gertrude. Her theatre work includes The Kings Speech, (Chichester Festival Theatre and Birmingham Rep), Dr Scroggy’s War, Julius Caesar, (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Taming The Shrew, Candide, Titus Andronicus, The Grain Store, Forests, As You Like It, King Lear, Henry VI Parts 1&2, Antony and Cleopatra, Richard The III, Richard The II, Henry IV Pt 2, Henry V, Tamburlaine, The Histories (RSC), The Father, (Belgrade Theatre), Fit And Proper People (Soho Theatre), Silence, (Filter/RSC at Hampstead) and Mine (Shared Experience).
Francesca Zoutewelle plays Ophelia. Her theatre credits include All My Sons (Rose Theatre Kingston), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Filter/Brisbane Festival/Dublin Festival), Into The Woods, Britannia Waves The Rules (Manchester Royal Exchange), Merlin (Royal and Derngate), The Last Days of Troy (Shakespeare’s Globe) and A Christmas Carol (Birmingham Rep). For television, her credits include Agatha Raisin, Lewis, Poirot: Dead Man’s Folly; and for film, The Head Hunter and Mr Turner.
FLUTE THEATRE was founded by Kelly Hunter in 2014 to create performances of Shakespeare for audiences with no access to the arts. The productions strip away the pomp and ceremony of Shakespeare to explore the essence of how it feels to be alive. Flute’s production of The Tempest for children with autism began as a co-production with the RSC and OSU in 2014 and plays at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond from 25 October – 4 November 2016.