We're opening our newly refurbished Swan Theatre with the world stage premiere of Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet in 2023.
Hamnet will open in the newly refurbished Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from 1 April 2023.
The story pulls back a curtain on the imagined family life of the greatest writer in the English language, William Shakespeare, his wife Agnes and their children and is a love letter to passion, birth, grief and the magic of nature.
Hamnet is based on the best-selling novel by Maggie O’Farrell, winner of the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Maggie says: "The motivation, for me, in writing the novel was to give a voice and a presence to the only son of William Shakespeare, who died when he was 11 and has ever since been relegated to a literary footnote in his father’s biography.
"I wanted to write a book that put this forgotten child centre-stage, to say to the world that he was important, he was grieved, his life was significant, and that without his early death, we wouldn’t have Hamlet and we wouldn’t have Twelfth Night. That Hamnet the boy will now be appearing in a play with his name, in the very town where he lived and died, is an incredibly moving thought."
Hamnet will be directed in the Swan Theatre by our Acting Artistic Director, Erica Whyman who says: "Maggie’s beautiful novel moved and inspired me in the darkest days of lockdown as it did for so many. It is high time we heard the compelling story of Agnes Hathaway and her children, voices that have been somewhat neglected, and who offer a wholly new perspective on ‘her Poet’."
The novel is being adapted for the stage by award-winning playwright Lolita Chakrabarti, who adds: "It has been a gift to absorb this story and to imagine Anne Hathaway (Agnes in the book) and her husband William Shakespeare. It has been a fascinating task to look at our greatest writer in the English language as a man, not a genius, and to discover the family behind him and the influences on his work."
Priority booking for Hamnet will open on Wednesday 16 November from 10am. Public booking opens on Tuesday 29 November.
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Hamnet marks the official re-opening of the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon following a major refurbishment which began in January 2022.
Changes include new infrastructure for lighting, sound and video, repairs to the woodwork and brickwork, new wider seats with armrests in all positions replacing the previous bench seating, improved access including more designated wheelchair spaces and an enhanced hearing loop.
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