Gemma Arterton will take on the title role in The Duchess Of Malfi at Shakespeare’s Globe’s new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse next year, when the new Jacobean indoor space opens for the first time.
The British actress, who is well known for her on screen roles in an array of hit films including Quantum Of Solace, St Trinian’s, Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters and Tamara Drewe returns to the Bankside venue for the first time since making her professional stage debut in 2007’s Love’s Labour’s Lost.
Arterton, who follows in the footsteps of actresses including Peggy Ashcroft, Helen Mirren, Eleanor Bron and, most recently, Eve Best, all of whom have played the lead role in John Webster’s epic tragedy, may be best known for her appearances on the big screen, but she has made her mark on the London stage, appearing in productions including The Master Builder at the Almeida and The Little Dog Laughed at the Garrick theatre.
Talking about her forthcoming role and Shakespeare’s Globe return, Arterton said: “To play the Duchess of Malfi in a magical new theatre seemed an irresistible opportunity for me. I am thrilled to be coming back to Shakespeare’s Globe and I really look forward to the adventure of performing in such an intimate and wonderful space.”
Directed by the venue’s outgoing Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole, Webster’s tragic drama about a recently widowed duchess who marries below her class, setting in motion a tirade of vengeance from her brothers, will be the first tale to be told in the Globe’s new candlelit space, which has a diverse inaugural season ahead of it.
The Duchess Of Malfi, which plays from 9 January to 16 February, will be followed by Francis Beaumont’s anarchic comedy The Knight Of The Burning Pestle, Cavalli’s rarely performed comedy L’Ormindo, John Marston’s The Malcontent, which will be performed by a cast of 12 to 16-year-olds, and a number of musical and theatrical performances by world-renowned artists.