It has been announced that RADA President Kenneth Branagh will direct a new production of Hamlet starring Tom Hiddleston to raise funds for the the transformation of RADA’s Chenies Street site in London.
The limited three week engagement of the production will play at RADA’s Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre and will see Kenneth Branagh’s Olivier Award winning theatre company joining forces with RADA to help further the Academy as a world-leader in dramatic arts training.
Running from the 1st to the 23rd of September, tickets for the production in the 160 seat space are available through a ballot which is now open until Sunday 6th August at 6pm.
The production will star RADA alumnus Tom Hiddleston in the title role, with all funds being raised from the production supporting the RADA Attenborough Campaign, which aims to raise £20million, enabling the regeneration of the Academy’s Chenies Street premises.
The new premises for RADA Will provide RADA’s first on-site accommodation for students as well as new library and enhanced archive.
Casting for the production is as follows: Ayesha Antoine(Rosencrantz / Bernarda), Lolita Chakrabarti (Queen Gertrude), Nicholas Farrell (King Claudius), Sean Foley (Polonius / Osric), Tom Hiddleston (Hamlet), Ansu Kabia (King Hamlet / Player King / Gravedigger), Caroline Martin (Horatia), Eleanor de Rohan (Guildastern / Marcella / Priest), Irfan Shamji (Laertes / Player Queen) and Kathryn Wilder (Ophelia).
Meanwhile, Hamlet will be designed by James Cotterill with lighting design by Paul Pyant (both RADA graduates) and sound design by Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid.
To ensure that the ticket release is fair, a ballot is now open, which can be entered online until 6pm on Sunday 6 August, and by phone from midday on 1 August until 5pm on 5 August (lines are open daily 10am – 5pm). Successful applicants shall be notified by or on 8 August and will then have 48 hours to book their tickets on 9-10 August.
If those who have entered the ballot are successful they will have the chance to purchase up to two tickets within the allotted 48 hour booking window. To minimise the chances of re-selling the tickets, all customers will only be able to collect their tickets on the day of the performance . Bookers must bring relevant documentation to collect their tickets, and photo identification will be required for under-25s bookers to gain access to the auditorium.
There will be no opportunities to return tickets nor any day tickets to purchase for Hamlet at the RADA box office in person or online.
Twenty percent of tickets will be priced at £15 and are only available to audiences aged 25 and under. A further twenty percent will be priced at £45, with the remaining tickets at £95.
Talking about the news Kenneth Branagh said: “I believe Shakespeare and RADA are very good things. This production celebrates both. We bring actors, writers, directors and technicians from last year’s KBTC Garrick season, and team them with RADA graduates past and present, together with artists from the larger creative world to explore Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The play speaks as loudly as ever to our volatile world and we are proud to have Tom Hiddleston lead an exciting group of actors, as he plays the title role for the first time.”
Tom Hiddleston said: “Hamlet presents almost limitless possibilities for interpretation. I can’t wait to explore them, with this great cast, at RADA. Kenneth Branagh and I have long talked about working on the play together, and now felt like the right time, at the right place. To be guided through it by him as a director, an expert and a friend, is our great good fortune. The performing arts exist to bring people together, not to break or keep them apart. I hope the funds raised by the production will help RADA continue to provide a wider field of equal opportunity to train actors, stage managers and technical theatre artists, from every background, to a standard of excellence and professionalism. We need to keep the doors open for everyone.”
Hamlet will be performed at the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre from the 1st to the 23rd September. For those wishing to enter the ballot visit: https://www.radahamlet.com/