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Kenneth Branagh to direct Tom Hiddleston in Hamlet

Tom Hiddleston. Photo: Shutterstock Tom Hiddleston. Photo: Shutterstock
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Tom Hiddleston will play Hamlet in a new production directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Branagh’s theatre company is joining forces with RADA for the production, which will take place at the drama school’s Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre in central London.

It runs from September 1 to 23 and will raise funds for RADA’s major capital appeal.

RADA alumnus Hiddleston will lead a cast that also includes Lolita Chakrabarti as Gertrude, Kathryn Wilder as Ophelia and Nicholas Farrell as Claudius.

Hiddleston said the role offered “almost limitless possibilities for interpretation”.

“I can’t wait to explore them, with this great cast, at RADA. Kenneth Branagh and I have long talked about working on the play together, and now felt like the right time, at the right place,” he said.

“The performing arts exist to bring people together, not to break or keep them apart. I hope the funds raised by the production will help RADA continue to provide a wider field of equal opportunity to train actors, stage managers and technical theatre artists, from every background, to a standard of excellence and professionalism. We need to keep the doors open for everyone.”

The cast also includes Ayesha Antoine, Sean Foley, Ansu Kabia, Caroline Martin, Eleanor de Rohan and Irfan Shamji.

The production has design by James Cotterill, lighting by Paul Pyant and sound by Paul Arditti.

All proceeds will go towards RADA’s Attenborough Campaign, which is raising £20 million to regenerate its Chenies Street site and provide RADA’s first on-site accommodation for students.

The project will also include a new library, archive and a 250-seat theatre, named the Richard Attenborough Theatre.

Branagh, who is RADA’s president, returns to the school to direct Hamlet, a role he performed in 1981 while studying there.

In an exclusive interview, he told The Stage: “I’m not someone who gets particularly nostalgic, but there is definitely a moment in your life where you look back with a different clarity. This is one such moment, and doing Hamlet here feels like coming full circle. RADA gave me confidence, support and creative freedom. I had a fantastic time here.”

Tickets for Hamlet will be available by ballot, which will be open from midday on August 1 until 6pm on August 6. Successful applicants will have 48 hours to book their tickets, with purchases limited to two tickets per person.

Hamlet is produced by RADA and the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company.