A new production of “Hamlet,” starring the 81-year-old actor in the title role, has begun rehearsals in Windsor, first major new UK live theatre production to start rehearsals following COVID-19 lockdown.
Rehearsals are carefully choreographed around social distancing, screening, hygiene, and PPE, with close adherence to the latest government guidelines, with a daily review of the protection protocol based on practical considerations learnt in the rehearsal room. If the show can’t yet go on, rehearsals at least will.
Director Sean Mathias said: “I have always been a fan of ensemble work, so when Bill Kenwright asked me to be his Artistic Director at Windsor I saw a perfect opportunity to create a company and direct two of the greatest plays ever written. The disappointment at being halted by COVID 19 has now been replaced with encouraging signs that we can at least start to work on these beautiful plays with an exceptional company. We walk a tight rope through the forest whilst we await news of when we may actually perform in front of a live audience, but it will be invigorating to leave the house and get into a rehearsal room and be a part of British Theatre returning to the boards.”
Ian McKellen said: “I feel lucky to be working again, thanks to Bill Kenwright’s inspiring optimism and Sean Mathias’s invitation to re-examine Hamlet, 50 years on from my first go. So now we will meet again. Don’t know when but do know where – Theatre Royal Windsor!”
Cast includes: Ben Allen, Emmanuella Cole, Alis Wyn Davies, Oli Higginson, Nick Howard-Brown, Jonathan Hyde, Asif Khan, Missy Malek, Ian McKellen, Jenny Seagrove