Gugu Mbatha-Raw will play the title role in Jessica Swale’s Nell Gwynn when the tale of an unlikely heroine’s rise to fame during the 17th century premieres at Shakespeare’s Globe in September.
Directed by Christopher Luscombe, the Doctor Who actress will star in the production from 24 September at the iconic bankside venue.
Mbatha-Raw, whose other screen credits include American TV series Touch, and films Belle and Beyond The Lights, has previously appeared on stage in productions including the Jude Law-led Hamlet and Big White Fog at the Almeida Theatre.
In Nell Gwynn, the BAFTA nominated performer will play the woman whose rags to riches story sees her rise from humble beginnings at Coal Yard Alley to become Charles II’s mistress and one of the Britain’s most celebrated actresses.
Set in 1660 following the fall of the Puritans and the restoration of Charles II, the play, Swale’s first for the Globe since 2013’s Blue Stockings, is an effervescent celebration of life in the theatre.
Nell Gwynn will provide a fitting conclusion to the Globe’s summer, continuing the theme of strong transgressive characters – from The Merchant Of Venice’s Portia to As You Like It’s Rosalind – seen throughout the Justice And Mercy season.
Prior to Nell Gwynn’s premiere in September, the Globe is still to welcome a whole host of productions to its alfresco stage, with the Charles Edwards-led Richard II, Richard III performed in Mandarin, Helen Edmundson’s The Heresy Of Love, the UK touring production of Much Ado About Nothing, a Cantonese version of Macbeth and Rory Mullarkey’s adaptation of The Oresteia set to play at the venue over the coming months.