Tony winner Ralph Fiennes (Straight Line Crazy, Hamlet) and Olivier winner Indira Varma (Present Laughter, Titus Andronicus) will lead a new production of Shakespeare's Macbeth which will tour the U.K. and cross the pond to 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 Shakespeare Theatre Company April 2-28. Tickets for the U.K. engagements will be released in June. Tickets are already on sale for Shakespeare Theatre Company as part of its subscription offering.
Director Simon Godwin (King Lear, The Cherry Orchard) will helm the production featuring set design by Frankie Bradshaw in four site-specific warehouses. Emily Burns adapts. Further creative team members and full casting will be announced at a later date.
Fiennes said in a 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 says 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."
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.