It has been announced that the new production will begin rehearsals on the 29th June.

Photograph: Magnus Sundholm/Rex/Shutterstock

Produced by Bill Kenwright, this will be the first play that will be rehearsed since theatres went dark in March.

This new production of Hamlet will see Ian McKellen in an age-blind interpretation of the young Prince and is the first production in Sean Mathias’ season at Theatre Royal Windsor, set to be followed by  Martin Sherman’s adaptation of Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard, with McKellen as Firs the elderly manservant. 

The cast is also set to include: Ben Allen, Emmanuella Cole, Alis Wyn Davies, Oli Higginson, Nick Howard-Brown, Jonathan Hyde, Asif Khan, Missy Malek and Jenny Seagrove.

Rehearsals will begin on Monday 29th June with strict measures in place to ensure the safety of the company. The schedule for rehearsals will be choreographed by around social distancing, screening, hygiene, and PPE, with close adherence to the latest government guidelines. There will be a daily review of the protection protocol based on practical considerations learnt in the rehearsal room. 

Sean Mathias said: “I have always been a fan of ensemble work so when Bill Kenwright asked me to be his Artistic Director at Windsor I saw a perfect opportunity to create a company and direct two of the greatest plays ever written. The disappointment at being halted by COVID 19 has now been replaced with encouraging signs that we can at least start to work on these beautiful plays with an exceptional company. We walk a tight rope through the forest whilst we await news of when we may actually perform in front of a live audience, but it will be invigorating to leave the house and get into a rehearsal room and be a part of British Theatre returning to the boards.”

Also commenting on the news, Ian McKellen said: “I feel lucky to be working again, thanks to Bill Kenwright’s inspiring optimism and Sean Mathias’s invitation to re-examine Hamlet, 50 years on from my first go. So now we will meet again. Don’t know when but do know where – Theatre Royal Windsor!”

As well as being directed by Sean Mathias, the creative team for the production will also include: set design by Lee Newby, costume design by Loren Elstein, lighting design by Jamie Platt and composer and sound design by Adam Cork.