News: Mike Noble and Laura Elsworthy lead ETT’s Macbeth

ETT (English Touring Theatre) has announced full casting for their new production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a co-production with Northern Stage, Shakespeare North Playhouse and Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.

In ETT’s first international tour since the pandemic, Macbeth will open at Shakespeare North Playhouse on 6 September 2023, with previews from 1 September, running until 23 September, in a design unique to the Playhouse’s space. The production will then be remounted, opening at Northern Stage to mark the start of the tour, and then travels to New Wolsey Ipswich, Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Dubai Opera House, Cambridge Arts Theatre, The Landmark Theatre Ilfracombe, and in early 2024, to Bristol Old Vic and Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford, with further tour dates to be announced.Alongside Macbeth in the autumn, ETT’s critically acclaimed production of I, Daniel Blake will resume its UK tour in September, playing at Stratford East and Edinburgh with further dates to be announced.

With Mike Noble in the title role and Laura Elsworthy as Lady Macbeth, the cast includes Lola Aluko (Lennox), Jasmine Elcock (Malcolm), Brian Lonsdale (Banquo), Guy Rhys (Macduff), Coral Sinclair (Lady Macduff), Ross Waiton (Duncan) and Leo Wan (Ross).

Richard Twyman, Artistic Director and CEO, and Sophie Scull, Executive Producer of ETT said, We are delighted to announce the cast for our upcoming production of Macbeth. They are anexceptional ensemble of actors, and we are so looking forward to the creative collaboration with them as we dig into the heart of this seminal play. Macbeth is a story that has seeped into our national consciousness – it’s clearly having a moment – and this production will tour extensively in the UK and internationally, so it felt vital to us that we built a cast and creative team that represented not only the hometowns of our co-producing partners Liverpool and Newcastle, but also the country more widely. We hope that audiences the length and breadth of the country will find something both familiar and provocative in the story and society that unfolds on stage. We can’t wait to get into the rehearsal room with this brilliant company and share what we create together with audiences across the country and the globe.”

Laura Collier, Creative Director of Shakespeare North Playhouse said, “It is such a joy to be co-producing Macbeth with our friends from English Touring Theatre, Northern Stage and Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. ETT’s version of Macbeth is intense and intoxicating, and its complexity and nuance seeks to resonate deeply with modern audiences. We’re so excited to welcome audiences to see this production set against the incredible backdrop of our newly installed Frons Scenae.”

Natalie Ibu, Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive of Northern Stage added, “Our production of Macbeth will be touring extensively across the UK and internationally and I can’t wait to see this extraordinary, and almost entirely Northern and Scottish ensemble, breathe new life into Shakespeare’s timeless tale of obsession and corruption. We know that for many of our audiences this may be their first experience of a live Shakespeare performance and so I’m especially pleased that performers will reflect the diversity of our audiences here in Newcastle.”

2023 has been a busy and productive period for ETT, with a highly acclaimed, sell-out tour of I, Daniel Blake, and a new version of The Good Person of Szechwan, commissioned by ETT, in a co-production with Sheffield Crucible and the Lyric Hammersmith. Further programming for the year includes the second series of ETT’s new writing podcast F**ked Up Bedtime Stories (for Adults) with more details revealed for its second season. There will be seven new episodes from writers including Chris Bush, Ella Hickson and Simon Stephens, and performers on the podcast including Maxine Peake, Stephen Mangan and Tamara Lawrance. ETT’s monologue project interrogating the characterisation of mixed-race identity in contemporary Britain, Mixed, continues with writers including Javaad Alipoor and Sabrina Mahfouz. ETT continues the third year of its flagship playwriting programme, Nationwide Voices, in collaboration with three new partner companies: Birmingham Rep, Manchester Royal Exchange and tiata fahodzi.

An ETT, Northern Stage, Shakespeare North Playhouse and Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg co-production

By William Shakespeare

Age guidance: suitable for mature 12-year-olds

Director: Richard Twyman; Designer: Basia Bińkowska; Lighting Designer: Azusa Ono; Sound Designer: Tingying Dong; Casting Director: Lotte Hines; Fight Director: Kevin McCurdy; Projection Designer: Will Duke; Music Consultant: David Colvin; Movement Director: Elinor Randle; Associate Director: Rachael Walsh; Academic and Text Consultant: Emma Whipday

Shakespeare North Playhouse: 1 – 23 September 2023
Press night: 6 September at 7pm
Northern Stage: 27 September – 7 October 2023
New Wolsey Ipswich: 17 – 21 October 2023
Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg: 25 – 28 October 2023
Dubai Opera House: 3 – 5 November 2023
Cambridge Arts Theatre: 8 – 11 November 2023
The Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe: 14 – 18 November 2023
Bristol Old Vic: 25 January – 10 February 2024
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford: 20 – 24 February 2024

A struggling and divided nation, tearing itself apart. So, when the Macbeths see their chance at the crown, why shouldn’t they take it?

But things don’t go according to plan. Dreams quickly turn to nightmares, humanity erodes, nature stirs. As society strives to make sense of the darkness that sits inside it, how long will it take for people to fight back against the endless cycle of violence and corruption?

A visceral and contemporary new production that speaks to a world we find ourselves living in now, asking why has Macbeth haunted our fears and nightmares for centuries, and what lesson this cautionary tale is still urgently trying to communicate to us?

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