West End transfer for RSC’s Hamnet

Published: 23 March 2023
Reporter: Steve Orme

"Wonderful news": Maggie O’Farrell Credit: Sophie Davidson
“It feels right”: Lolita Chakrabarti
“Overwhelmed” by the response: RSC acting artistic director Erica Whyman Credit: Joseph Bailey

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s world première of Lolita Chakrabarti’s adaptation of the Maggie O’Farrell novel Hamnet which has sold out in Stratford is to transfer to the West End.

The production will run for a 14-week season at the Garrick Theatre from Saturday 30 September until Saturday 6 January 2024.

O’Farrell said, “it’s wonderful and welcome news. I was astonished at how fast the Stratford tickets sold and it’s lovely to know that more people will have the chance to see it in its new London home.

“It’s been a joy from start to finish to work with the RSC, Hera Pictures, Neal Street Productions, director Erica Whyman and playwright Lolita Chakrabarti on bringing this adaptation into being. I’ve been lucky enough to attend rehearsals and to have a glimpse into the creative process of transposing a novel into a play has been fascinating.

“Although Shakespeare was born in Stratford and maintained strong ties with the town throughout his life, London was of course the centre of his professional life. It feels particularly apt and moving, therefore, that a play which puts Hamnet centre stage will now move to the world of theatrical London.”

Chakrabarti added, “it feels right that we bring Hamnet to London, to the streets he would’ve walked and the world he inhabited. The West End is no stranger to Shakespeare’s work but I hope London audiences will come to see Hamnet to meet the entire Shakespeare family and discover more about the works they helped to inspire.”

Erica Whyman, the RSC’s acting artistic director, said, “I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to Hamnet in Stratford and the palpable excitement about bringing this beautiful and important book to the stage.

“We’re having a rewarding and inventive time in rehearsals and I’m delighted that we’ll now be able to share this emotional rollercoaster of a story with audiences in London.

“Lolita's brilliantly sharp adaptation carries us from the wild flowers of Stratford to the boisterous success of London theatre—and now the production will too.”

    Related listings

  • Hamnet - Maggie O'Farrell, adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti (Royal Shakespeare Company and Neal Street Productions, in association with Hera Pictures)

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