Hamlet: RSC 2016 production to be shown on BBC Four

Published: 12 June 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

Paapa Essiedu as Hamlet Credit: Manuel Harlan

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2016 production of Hamlet featuring Paapa Essiedu in the title role will be broadcast on BBC Four as part of the Culture in Quarantine series on Sunday 21 June at 9PM.

The play opened at the RSC in Stratford in the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death. It went on a UK tour in 2018 and was also seen in Washington DC.

Director Simon Godwin said, “I wanted to find a context where, as a character, Hamlet could feel dislocated, where he could feel conflicted by the demands of his ancestors against the pressure to find a new way of thinking. I began to imagine a Denmark re-conceived as a modern state influenced by the ritual, beauty and cosmology of West Africa."

The cast comprises Hiran Abeysekera (Horatio), Romayne Andrews (Osric), Doreene Blackstock (Player Queen), Eke Chukwu (Voltimand), James Cooney (Rosencrantz), Bethan Cullinane (Guildenstern), Marième Diouf (Cornelia / player), Kevin N Golding (Bernardo / priest / Player King), Marcus Griffiths (Laertes), Byron Mondahl (Professor of Wittenberg / English ambassador), Tanya Moodie (Gertrude), Theo Ogundipe (Fortinbras / Marcellus / Lucianus), Cyril Nri (Polonius), Natalie Simpson (Ophelia), Clarence Smith (Claudius), Ewart James Walters (ghost / gravedigger) and Temi Wilkey (Player).

Hamlet is designed by Paul Wills with lighting by Paul Anderson. Music for the production is composed by Jamiroquai percussionist Sola Akingbola. Sound is by Christopher Shutt.

Details of other plays in the series can be found at the BBC iPlayer web site.