Production 2008

David Tennant as Hamlet (2008) Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC

The famous tragedy of Hamlet was brought to life for many audience members new to Shakespeare by director Gregory Doran's clear storytelling and familiar modern setting.

David Tennant played Hamlet as an agitated T-shirt and parka-wearing wreck in a world where the players never escape observation.

In Robert Jones' set, weighed down with enormous sparkling chandeliers, all the action was reflected in the glossy black mirror-like floor and the huge full-height mirrors at the back of the stage, which shattered dramatically when Polonius was shot.

Patrick Stewart played a hostile and insensitive Claudius and the Ghost, with Penny Downie as Gertrude. The production broke for the interval with a thrilling cliff-hanger: Hamlet, knife aloft, ready to stab Claudius.

For a full cast and creative team list, see the RSC Performance Database.

Doran's production was filmed for DVD and broadcast on BBC Two in 2009. In the film, the theme of observation continues as the action is occasionally viewed as images on a CCTV monitor, and Hamlet films the players' performance with a Super-8 camera.

Watch extracts from the BBC film, listen to interviews and find more resources on the BBC website:

For the show's programme, the Hamlet company created a Rehearsal Scrapbook - use the links on the left to read the articles.

Photograph by Ellie Kurttz shows David Tennant as Hamlet © RSC

Buy DVD: Hamlet 2008

Hamlet 2008 - DVD front cover

Download the Rehearsal Scrapbook (PDF 1.2MB)

Download the Rehearsal Scrapbook (PDF 1.2MB)

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