Maxine Peake to play Hamlet at Royal Exchange
Maxine Peake is to appear in a ‘radical re-imagining’ of Hamlet, directed by Sarah Frankcom at the Manchester Royal Exchange.
Peake is joining the theatre as an associate artist in autumn 2014 and the role will be the first of a number of creative collaborations with the theatre. She has previously appeared in productions of Rutherford and Son, The Children’s Hour and Miss Julie at the Exchange.
Hamlet will reunite her with Frankcom, the Exchange’s artistic director, with whom Peake worked on the recent staging of The Masque of Anarchy as part of the Manchester International Festival.
Peake said: “Sarah and I have looked for a project that would stretch and excite us and Hamlet just seemed the the next natural step to challenge us both in so many ways. I am so excited how gender swapping can affect and throw up new ways of looking at this theatrical masterpiece; then to be asked to join the Exchange as an artistic associate was just the cherry on the cake.
“I am so honoured to be part of this building’s future for a little while, especially in this climate of savage cuts when more than ever we need to support our wonderful regional theatres. I feel no need to compete with London – more than ever local people need a voice and a creative outlet in these extreme times and I feel the Exchange has a huge role to play in that.”
Frankcom added: “Maxine started her acting career in our youth theatre. Her performances have thrilled our audiences and the Royal Exchange is her local theatre. We are thrilled she is going to be working more closely with us. Hamlet is a massively exciting challenge for any actor and director. I am certain Maxine will be a compelling and extraordinary Hamlet for our time.”