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Donmar’s all-female Shakespeare heads for the big screen

Harriet Walter in the Donmar Warehouse's Julius Caeser. Photo: Helen Maybanks Harriet Walter in the Donmar Warehouse's Julius Caeser. Photo: Helen Maybanks
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The Donmar Warehouse’s all-female Shakespeare trilogy is set to hit UK cinemas later this year.

Filmed versions of Julius Caesar, Henry IV and The Tempest, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Harriet Walter, will be released throughout the year.

Julius Caesar premieres at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June before its nationwide release on July 12.

It has been nominated for two awards at the EIFF: best British feature film and best performance in a British feature film for Walter.

The trilogy began with a production of Julius Caesar at London’s Donmar Warehouse in 2012, followed by Henry IV in 2014. The Tempest opened at King’s Cross Theatre in 2016. All three plays star Walter.

Each of the plays in the trilogy is set in a woman’s prison, with performers adopting the roles of prisoners in a drama group.

The three productions were filmed live during a run at a purpose-built theatre near King’s Cross in London, where the trilogy played in repertory last year.

Lloyd said: “The whole mission was to represent those who felt they had no stake in our culture and the screen version tries to capture their fury and passion. To take the viewer where they could never get to while sitting in the theatre, even as it was unfolding live.”

Walter added: “The all-female, ethnically diverse cast asks the question: ‘Why are these people usually barred from performing the work of our national playwright?’ We hope to redress a huge gender imbalance both in our drama and in public life and hold Shakespeare’s mirror up to a more current world.”

Release dates for Henry IV and The Tempest are yet to be announced.

It is distributed by Trafalgar Releasing and supported by the Space.

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