Latest Press Releases


By William Shakespeare
Directed by Simon Godwin
Royal Shakespeare Theatre:
12 March – 13 August 2016
Press night:
Tuesday 22 March 2016, 7pm

Live from Stratford-upon-Avon: 8 June 2016

Casting is announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) 2016 production of Hamlet. The show, directed by Simon Godwin with Paapa Essiedu in the title role, will open in the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death, beginning previews on Saturday 12 March 2016.

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 modern state influenced by the ritual, beauty and cosmology of West Africa.”

Paapa Essiedu returns to the RSC after appearing in The Mouse and his Child, and as Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor in 2012. Two years after taking on the role of Edmund mid-way through a performance in Sam Mendes’ King Lear at the National Theatre, he will take the lead as one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic heroes. He is also known for his roles in popular Channel 4 series Utopia (2013) and Not Safe for Work (2015).

Paapa and Hiran Abeysekera (Horatio) are to appear alongside Maxine Peake, Bernard Cribbins and Matt Lucas in Russell T Davies’ BBC adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, airing in 2016 as part of their Shakespeare strand of programming. Paapa will play Demetrius, and Hiran will play Puck.

Cyril Nri returns to the RSC to play Polonius, after last performing with the company as Cassius in Gregory Doran’s production of Julius Caesar in 2012. He recently appeared in Channel 4’s series Cucumber.

Tanya Moodie will play Gertrude. She recently received an Olivier Award nomination for her role as Makeda in Indhu Rubasingham’s production The House That Will Not Stand (Tricycle Theatre, 2014), and appeared as Constance in The Globe production of King John (2015). She is also known for her role as Ella in the hit BBC drama Sherlock (2010-2012). 

The full cast of Hamlet includes: Hiran Abeysekera (Horatio), Romayne Andrews (Osric), Doreene Blackstock (Player Queen), Eke Chukwu (Voltimand), James Cooney (Rosencrantz), Bethan Cullinane (Guildenstern), Marième Diouf (Cornelia / Player), Paapa Essiedu (Hamlet), 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), and Clarence Smith (Claudius), Ewart James Walters (Ghost / Gravedigger) and Temi Wilkey (Player).

Hamlet is directed by Simon Godwin and 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.

Notes to Editors

For further information, please contact 0207 845 0512 or 01789 412622.

For press tickets please contact 01789 412660

To book tickets call 01789 403493 or online at 

The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by THE GATSBY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION and THE KOVNER FOUNDATION

BP £5 tickets and BP Shakespeare Pass for 16-25s
The BP £5 tickets and BP Shakespeare Pass for 16 – 25 year olds gives access to £5 tickets for all RSC productions whether we are performing in Stratford-upon-Avon, London or on tour. The pass enables 16-25 year olds to see five shows in Stratford-upon-Avon for £20 – the cheapest way to enjoy shows at the RSC. Tickets can be booked in advance on the phone, online or in person with some available for sale on the day of the performance.  The scheme is supported by Project Partner, BP.

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world.

Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. All our productions begin life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring them to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town.

We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre.  We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.  We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We reach 450,000 children and young people annually through our education work across the UK, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online. 

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