Following the success of their first two productions, Macbeth and She Called Me Mother, and shortly after their upcoming tour of The Diary of a Hounslow Girl, Black Theatre Live has announced that it will be touring Britain’s first all-black Hamlet from September 2016. A co-production with Watford Palace Theatre and Stratford Circus Arts Centre, the show will be directed by Jeffery Kissoon, who has most notably worked for the RSC, the National Theatre, Robert Lepage, Peter Hall and in Peter Brook’s seminal production of The Mahabharata. Award-winning playwright Mark Norfolk, the inaugural winner of the Roland Rees Bursary, adapts the play from Shakespeare’s original folio edition to create a fast-moving, contemporary version that gets to the heart of a young man’s dilemma.
Mark Norfolk’s adaptation sees Denmark as a modern Black Empire of England where an intelligent young student returns to discover the world he once knew has crumbled. Faced with the new king’s change in regime and religion, and implored to defend what is left of his father’s decaying legacy, Hamlet now faces the greatest moral challenge – to kill or not to kill.
Director Jeffery Kissoon said, “In Hamlet we reflect on the Black experience, anxieties, and sensibilities in a modern era. Shakespeare’s wonderfully rich text explores a tormented humanity, asking the searching questions of life and death faced head-on by a young Black Prince. ‘Remember me’ is the theme of this production: by saying ‘Remember me’, the ghost of Hamlet’s father is urging Hamlet to remember not just him, but his background, heritage and all those that came before him”.
The threeyear programme from Black Theatre Live, now in its second year, brings high quality performances from culturally diverse perspectives to venues across the country. The initiative is a partnership of Tara Arts, Derby Theatre, Queen’s Hall Arts (Hexham), the Lighthouse (Poole), Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds, Theatre Royal Margate, Stratford Circus Arts Centre (London) & Key Theatre (Peterborough).
More information at www.blacktheatrelive.co.uk