Shakespeare’s Globe is delighted to announce that Gugu Mbatha-Raw will star as Nell in Jessica Swale’s new play Nell Gwynn, directed by Christopher Luscombe.
Gugu recently starred in the feature films Belle and Beyond the Lights. She first came to fame playing Juliet opposite Andrew Garfield in Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, in 2005. Since then she has played Ophelia opposite Jude Law in Michael Grandage’s Hamlet on the West End and appeared on screen in Doctor Who and Touch. She also starred opposite Tom Hanks in 2011 in the feature film Larry Crowne. In 2014, Gugu received ‘Best Actress’ at the 2014 BIFA Awards for her lead in Belle. She was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award and for the ‘British Actress of the Year’ Award by the London Film Critics’ Circle for the same role. Her upcoming projects include the feature films The Whole Truth, Concussion, The Free State of Jones and Beauty and the Beast.
Nell Gwynn opens on 24 September and will be the last show in the Globe’s 2015 summer season. Set in 1660, after the fall of the Puritans and the restoration of Charles II to the throne, the play is an effervescent celebration of life in the theatre. Charting the rise of a charming but unlikely heroine, from her roots in Coal Yard Alley to her success as Britain’s most celebrated actress and the king’s consort, Nell Gwynn will be a fitting conclusion to a summer season filled with strong, transgressive female characters – from Portia to Rosalind, from Clytemnestra to Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.
Playwright and director Jessica Swale returns to the Globe, having delighted audiences in 2013 with her spirited Blue Stockings. Jessica is the Artistic Director and co-founder of the Red-Handed Theatre Company. Recent productions include Far From the Madding Crowd at the Watermill, The School for Scandal at the Park Theatre, and The Rivals starring Celia Imrie and The Belle’s Stratagem, for which she was nominated for the Evening Standard Award for Best Director, at Southwark Playhouse. She also directed Bedlam at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2010 – the first work by a female playwright ever performed at the theatre.
Christopher Luscombe’s recent directing credits include Spamalot and The Rocky Horror Show for ATG, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing for the RSC, Henry V for the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Madness of George III for Bath Theatre Royal and the West Yorkshire Playhouse/Bath Theatre Royal/UK tour of The History Boys. He has also previously directed The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Comedy of Errors at the Globe. Christopher was nominated for an Olivier Award for his West End revival of When We Are Married. Originally an actor, his screen credits include The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep.