Essiedu to reprise Hamlet role on RSC UK tour

Steve Orme

The Royal Shakespeare Company is to take on tour its production of Hamlet, which played in Stratford in 2016, with Paapa Essiedu reprising the title role.

Essiedu, an RSC associate artist, won best performance in a play at the 2016 UK Theatre Awards for Hamlet.

RSC executive director Catherine Mallyon said, “we’re passionate about taking the productions we make in our home in Stratford to theatres across the UK. We’re glad that many people across the country will have the opportunity to see our work at their local theatre in 2018.

“As well as Hamlet, our production Matilda the Musical will also go on its first UK and Ireland tour.”

Simon Godwin who directs commented, “Paapa Essiedu is British with Ghanaian heritage. When Paapa and I talked about the production, I realised how radical it might be to see Denmark through the lens of a completely different culture, a culture that Paapa himself had experienced.

“I began to imagine a Denmark re-conceived as a modern state influenced by the ritual, traditions and beauty of west Africa. So our setting is full of the colour, emotional intensity and passion associated with that part of the world.

“As Hamlet, Paapa is intelligent, youthful and charismatic, with a contemporary wit. But Paapa’s portrayal is also mercurial with an element of danger.”

Hamlet opens at The Lowry, Salford from 26 January until 3 February. It then tours to the Theatre Royal Plymouth from 6 until 10 February, Hull New Theatre from 13 until 17 February, Northern Stage in Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 20 until 24 February, Royal and Derngate in Northampton from 27 February until 3 March and Hackney Empire from 6 until 31 March.