The complete cast and creative team has been announced for the upcoming production of Macbeth, starring Tony winner Ralph Fiennes (Straight Line Crazy, Hamlet) and Olivier winner Indira Varma (Present Laughter, Titus Andronicus) as previously announced.
The duo will lead the new production of Shakespeare's classic through a tour of the U.K. and across the pond in Washington, D.C. The production is set to premiere in Liverpool beginning November 24 where it will play until December 16.
Following its premiere engagement, the production will travel to Edinburgh in 2024 to run January 13-27, and then on to London for a run February 11-March 23. Next, the production will cross the pond to Washington, D.C. to play an off-site venue with Shakespeare Theatre Company April 9-May 5.
Fiennes and Varma will be joined by Ben Allen as Ross, Ewan Black as Malcolm, Levi Brown as Angus, Jonathon Case as Seyton, Danielle Fiamanya as Second Witch, Keith Fleming as King Duncan/Siward, Michael Hodgson as Second Murderer, Lucy Mangan as First Witch, Jake Neads as First Murderer/Donalbain, Richard Pepper as Lennox, Steffan Rhodri as Banquo, Rose Riley as Menteith, Lola Shalam as Third Witch, Rebecca Scroggs as Lady Macduff/Doctor, Ethan Thomas as Fleance, and Ben Turner as Macduff.
Director Simon Godwin (King Lear, The Cherry Orchard) is helming the production, which will feature set and costume design by Frankie Bradshaw in four site-specific warehouses, lighting design by Jai Morjaria, and sound design by Christopher Shutt. Emily Burns adapts the original Shakespeare text.
Fiennes said in a previous statement, “Ever since we collaborated on Man and Superman, I’ve longed to work with Indira Varma and Simon Godwin again. Simon brought us together then, and he’s reuniting us for Macbeth." He continued, "Macbeth is a play that always carries relevance but with wars in Ukraine and Sudan—and murderous authoritarian regimes very present in the world—the play seems particularly current. But, Shakespeare’s examination of the minds of his protagonist—the intimate nature of this—is what gives the play its brilliant and terrifying focus.” The thought was echoed by Varma who also said that the leading couple's "fraught relationship" and the play's exploration of ambition and corruption "still feel chillingly poignant in our modern world."
Godwin put a more explicit context on the production. "Macbeth is a remarkable portrait of a marriage and a terrifying account of the drift towards tyranny. The experience will be heightened by playing in different spaces across different cities before ending our journey—during a U.S. election year—in America's capital."
The composer of new original music will be Asaf Zohar, with sound system design by Christopher Shutt and Sam Clarkson. The movement director is Lucy Cullingford, the hair, make up and prosthetics designer is Susanna Peretz, the fight director is Kate Waters, the casting director is Amy Ball, and the children’s casting director is Ellie Collyer-Bristow.
Fiennes has had a long career of performing Shakespeare, including Anthony and Cleopatra at National Theatre, Troilus & Cressida, King Lear, Love's Labour Lost, Much Ado About Nothing, and King John at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Richard III, Richard II, Coriolanus, and Hamlet at the Almeida. Hamlet transferred to Broadway's Belasco Theatre and earned him a Tony Award. Fiennes also made his feature film directorial debut helming Coriolanus in which he also starred as the titular character. Varma returns to Shakespeare, having previously starred in Titus Andronicus at London's Globe Theatre.
Serving as Artistic Director of Shakespeare Theatre Company since September 2019, Godwin has directed three shows so far at the regional theatre: King Lear starring Patrick Page, as well as Much Ado About Nothing and Timon of Athens. Prior to his recent work in Washington, D.C., he directed Twelfth Night, National Theatre's Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo & Juliet, and Royal Shakespeare Company's Timon of Athens, Hamlet, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. he also directed Antony and Cleopatra which starred Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo.
Produced by Wessex Grove and Underbelly in association with Shakespeare Theatre Company, the producers revealed that the production will "push the boundaries of what a theatrical experience can be" by playing in warehouses across the four cities. The hope is to encourage a new audiences to discover live theatre.