In his long and distinguished career, Ian McKellen has played Hamlet twice, in productions 50 years apart. In 1971 he took the rôle on tour and in the West End and then last year, aged 81, he revisited it in a age, colour, and gender-blind production at the Theatre Royal, Windsor. Despite Covid, that four-month run was completely sold out.
Now McKellen is to return to Hamlet in a world première at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, performing with the Edinburgh Festival Ballet Company. It is sure to be one of the hottest tickets in the Fringe line up.
Ian – performing Hamlet’s famous speeches, soliloquies and more – will share the rôle of Hamlet with lead dancer Johan Christiansen, and will be on stage throughout the 75-minute production.
McKellen says: “At a crucial moment in ‘Hamlet’, Shakespeare describes in detail a dance, performed by the actors touring through Elsinore. Hamlet says: ‘What a piece of work is a man… how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable in action.’ The same could be said of Peter Schaufuss and his company of wonderful dancers. It’s inspiring to watch them and work with them.”
Also performing at every performance will be Luke Schaufuss, Stefan Wise and artists from the Edinburgh Festival Ballet.
Director and choreographer Peter Schaufuss
Original music composed by Ethan Lewis Maltby
Production design by Ben M Rogers
This production of ‘Hamlet’ will launch the 400-seat Ashton Hall at Saint Stephens Edinburgh, a new performance venue in the Scottish capital named after the famous choreographer, the late Sir Frederick Ashton
Hamlet plays at Ashton Hall from 2 – 28 August.