Lolita Chakrabarti's newest play, Hamnet, has concluded its sold-out world premiere in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and revealed which cast members are transferring with the production to the West End this fall. The previously announced run at London's Garrick Theatre will begin September 30 and open October 18 for a run though January 6.
Reprising their roles will be Sarah Belcher as Joan, Will Brown as Burbage/Father John, Ajani Cabey as Hamnet, Frankie Hastings as Eliza/Customer, Karl Haynes as Ned, Alex Jarrett as Judith, Madeleine Mantock as Agnes Hathaway, Hannah McPake as Jude, Tom Varey as William Shakespeare, and Peter Wight as John/Will Kempe. Further casting will be announced at a later date.
Directed by Erica Whyman, Hamnet is based on Maggie O'Farrell's best selling novel of the same name which explores the personal life of William Shakespeare and his wife Agnes (Anne) Hathaway after they suffer the loss of their 11-year-old son to the plague. With William away in London's theatres while Agnes raises their children alone back in Warwickshire, the two must navigate their grief alone.
Chakrabarti—whose Life of Pi is now on Broadway—has gathered a creative team that includes set and costume designer Tom Piper, lighting designer Prema Mehta, sound designer Simon Bakerr, movement director Ayse Tashkiran, original music composer Oğuz Kaplangi, fight director Kate Waters, and casting director Amy Ball.
Royal Shakespeare Company and Neal Street Productions present the play in association with Hera Pictures. Hamnet has already been optioned by Hera Pictures, with a film in development with Neal Street Productions (founded by Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris and Caro Newling, and Amblin Partners). Maggie O’Farrell and Chloe Zhao are writing the screenplay.
The RSC has also announced the return of its podcast Interval Drinks which will feature a discussion of Hamnet between the book's author Maggie O'Farrrell and dirrector Eriva Whyman. Episodes are available to be downloaded for free via RSC's website or streamed on several podcast platforms. The world premiere at RSC's Swan Theatre ran April 1-June 17.