Royal Shakespeare Company’s Acclaimed Production Hamnet is coming to the West End.

In a thrilling announcement, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and Neal Street Productions, in association with Hera Pictures, have unveiled the eagerly anticipated West End transfer of Hamnet. Directed by Erica Whyman and adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti, this extraordinary production garnered rave reviews during its sell-out run at the RSC, breaking box office records at the esteemed Swan Theatre. Now, as it gears up for its London debut, Hamnet has already achieved a remarkable feat, boasting the biggest box office advance in the illustrious history of the Garrick Theatre. And the critics response to the original run confirms a guaranteed smash hit is on the cards.

"Alex Jarrett as Judith and Harmony Rose-Bremner as Susanna pitch it perfectly... Outstanding acting from Mantock"

The Times

"Tender take on Maggie O’Farrell’s novel"

The Financial Times

"The evening soars, and sears"

Daily Telegraph

Hamnet: Production Photography Manuel Harlan
Hamnet: Production Photography Manuel Harlan

Set in Warwickshire in 1582, Hamnet tells the captivating tale of Agnes Hathaway, a gifted healer, who encounters the Latin tutor William Shakespeare. Drawn together by powerful yet concealed desires, they embark on a life together, forging a family against all odds. As William finds his calling in the vibrant world of theatre in London, Agnes remains at home, dedicated to raising their three children, and serving as the unwavering pillar in William’s life. Tragedy strikes when the plague claims the life of their beloved 11-year-old son, Hamnet, thrusting both parents into a profound and individual confrontation with grief. However, from the depths of their anguish, something truly extraordinary emerges, sparking wonder and transformation.

The stellar cast will see the return of talented actors who previously enthralled audiences in the Stratford-upon-Avon production. Sarah Belcher takes on the role of Joan, joined by Will Brown as Burbage/Father John, Ajani Cabey as Hamnet, Frankie Hastings as Eliza/Customer, Karl Haynes as Ned, Alex Jarrett as Judith, Madeleine Mantock as Agnes Hathaway, Hannah McPake as Jude, Tom Varey as William Shakespeare, and Peter Wight as John/Will Kempe.

Hamnet: A view from backstage at Swan Theatre

The production of Hamnet will feature the brilliant creative team including Set and Costume Design by Tom Piper, Lighting Design by Prema Mehta, Sound Design by Simon Baker, Music by Oğuz Kaplangi, Casting by Amy Ball CDG, Movement by Ayse Tashkiran, and Fights by Kate Waters. With such talent behind the scenes, audiences can expect a visually stunning and emotionally resonant theatrical experience.

In an additional exciting development, the RSC has recently announced the return of its popular in-house podcast, Interval Drinks. The inaugural episode features an insightful conversation between Erica Whymanand acclaimed author Maggie O’Farrell. Delving into the novel Hamnet and its transformation onto the stage, they explore themes of Hamlet, autobiography in fiction, and the significant role Shakespeare’s son plays in his work. The Interval Drinks podcast series can be downloaded for free via the RSC website, as well as various podcast platforms including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Hamnet: Behind the scenes
Hamnet: Behind the scenes

Maggie O’Farrell’s powerful novel, Hamnet, has captivated readers worldwide, with over 1.5 million copies sold. The book has received numerous accolades, including being named Waterstones Book of the Year and winning the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2020. It also earned O’Farrell the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction, solidifying her place as a celebrated author. Having topped the Sunday Times Bestseller list in 2021, Hamnet was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction (2021) and the British Book Awards’ Fiction Book of the Year (2021), further cementing its literary acclaim.

As the anticipation builds for the West End transfer of Hamnet, theatre enthusiasts and literature lovers alike eagerly await this remarkable production. With its exceptional cast, captivating story, and the masterful direction of Erica Whyman, Hamnet is poised to become a must-see theatrical event, promising to leave an indelible mark on the London theatre scene.

Hamnet: Production Photography Manuel Harlan

Click here for more information and for tickets.