Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play Hamlet in London in 2015. As had been previously rumoured, the Sherlock and The Hobbit star will play Shakespeare’s Danish prince at the Barbican in a production directed by Olivier Award nominee Lyndsey Turner.
Cumberbatch’s much anticipated Hamlet is one of a number of Shakespearean productions that will be seen at the arts centre as part of its September 2014 to January 2015 season. It joins the previously announced Royal Shakespeare Company productions of Henry IV Parts I and II, and a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Russian Dmitry Krymov, that will focus on the rude mechanicals. A version of Verdi’s Macbeth that sets the action in a post-colonial African landscape is also brought to the Barbican by South African director Brett Bailey.
The work of Henrik Ibsen, which has been hugely popular on the London stage recently with hit productions including A Doll’s House and Ghosts, is also central to the Barbican’s autumn/winter season. Thomas Ostermeier’s Schaubühne Berlin production of An Enemy Of The People, set amid today’s environmental and financial crises, and Simon Stone’s contemporary Australian production of The Wild Duck play alongside a version of Peer Gynt created by actress and director Irina Brook. Brook, the daughter of influential director Peter Brook, has created a production that also features new poems by Sam Shepard and songs by Iggy Pop.
The autumn season also marks a return to the Barbican for hip-hop martial arts show The Five & The Prophecy Of Prana, and for Forced Entertainment, which celebrates its 30th birthday by creating its first ever children’s show for the Christmas period, which will run in the Pit.
Also in the Pit, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor plays both parts in two-handed Edinburgh hit Howie The Rookie and this year’s Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award winner Dickie Beau makes his directorial debut with Camera Lucida, an ensemble show about the history of image making and funerary rituals.
Speaking about the season Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre at the Barbican, said: “This season, our bold programme of new theatre and daring adaptations from around the globe is driven by a desire to engage with important contemporary issues. We are also delighted to be able to confirm today that in 2015 we will present a new production of Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role. We look forward to working with Sonia Friedman Productions to bring this eagerly anticipated play to our stage.”
Friedman added: “I’m thrilled to be producing Hamlet with Lyndsey and Benedict and we are all delighted that the magnificent Barbican has agreed to present the show. Having recently produced Lyndsey’s extraordinary production of Chimerica in the West End, I am delighted to be working with her again and it is a real privilege to be working with one of the most gifted and exciting actors of his generation, Benedict Cumberbatch, in the title role.”