Playing Hamlet for the third time in his career, Tony winner Ian McKellen takes the stage in the Ashton Hall at Saint Stephens Theatre for a re-imagined and already sold-out Hamlet. The show runs as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland through August 28, with opening night August 4.
McKellen shares the role of the Danish prince with lead dancer Johan Christiansen, contrasting McKellen's take on the character's speeches and soliloquies with dance performed by Christiansen. The performance concept adapts Shakespeare's famous tragedy in a collaboration between McKellen and the show's director and choreographer Peter Schaufuss.
Also in the cast for the 75-minute production are Luke Schaufuss, Stefan Wise, and artists from the Edinburgh Festival Ballet Company. Following performances August 3, 4, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, and 24, McKellen will participate in Q&A sessions following performances called The Hamlet After Party in the Lower Hall at Saint Stephens. The cabaret-style show will also include Richard Lewis and additional cast members.
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Featuring original music composed by Ethan Lewis Maltby and production design by Ben M. Rogers, the show inaugurates the new 400-set Ashton Hall at Saint Stephens Theatre in Edinburgh, which has been named in honor of the late choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton.
“At a crucial moment in Hamlet," said McKellen in a statement, "Shakespeare describes in detail a dance, performed by the actors touring through Elsinore. Hamlet says, ‘What a piece of work is a man... how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable in action.’ The same could be said of Peter Schaufuss and his company of wonderful dancers. It’s inspiring to watch them, and work with them.”
McKellen previously played Hamlet in 1971 on tour and in the West End and then again at age 81 in 2021 at the Theatre Royal Windsor.
For tickets and more information, visit CitizenTicket.co.uk.