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Happy Birthday Shakespeare - Twelve Nights Out to Celebrate

Written and compiled by Raphael Kohn

 

Today (23rd April) is the birthday of the UK’s greatest playwright, the Bard himself, William Shakespeare. If you’re looking to celebrate by seeing one (or more) of the incredible productions that British stages have to offer, here’s our guide to 12 upcoming productions of Shakespeare plays (or productions inspired by Shakespeare) to enjoy over the summer months!


1.    Love’s Labour’s Lost at The RSC:

•      Opening the 2024/25 season at the UK’s premiere producing house for Shakespeare plays, the RSC blends Shakespeare and Silicon Valley with Love’s Labour’s Lost. Featuring Luke Thompson (Bridgerton) as Berowne, this will be one ticket you’ll be glad to have found.

•      For tickets, visit https://www.rsc.org.uk/loves-labours-lost/

 

2.    Romeo and Juliet at the Duke of York’s Theatre

•      The hype-raising production opens at the Duke of York’s Theatre in May. Already completely sold-out, this production stars Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Francesca Amewudah-Rivers (School Girls) and Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who), and is directed by Jamie Lloyd (Sunset Boulevard).

•      Tickets are sold out, but returns may be available from https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/romeo-and-juliet/duke-of-yorks-theatre/

 

 

3.    Eddie Izzard’s Hamlet at Riverside Studios

•      The stand-up comedian and actor Suzy Eddie Izzard takes on the entirety of Hamlet as a one-performer show in a production touring from Chicago to London to Off-Broadway, haunting Riverside Studios in May 2024.

 

4.    Twelfth Night at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

•      Shakespeare’s comedy of mistaken identities comes to the glorious Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre for thankfully more nights than its title implies.



5.    Coriolanus at the National Theatre

•      Lyndsey Turner (The Crucible) will direct this production of Shakespeare’s tragedy of power and vengeance, starring David Oyelowo (Selma) in the title role. Coriolanus will begin performances in September 2024.

•      Tickets are not yet available, but will be sold from https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/.

 

6.    Player Kings at the Noël Coward Theatre and touring

•      Shakespeare’s Henry IV parts 1 and 2 are brought together into one play, adapted and directed by Robert Icke (The Doctor) and starring the legendary Sir Ian McKellen (The Lord Of The Rings). A royally incredible night out at the theatre!

•      Tickets available from https://playerkingstheplay.co.uk/

 

 

7.    Much Ado About Nothing at the Watermill Theatre

•      The Bard’s joyous romance gets a flash of Hollywood in the Watermill’s actor-musician 40’s-set adaptation. This really looks like quite something to talk about!

•      Tickets available from https://www.watermill.org.uk/much-ado

 

Well, we’ve reached the end of the list… or have we? That’s not twelve nights, is it? Here’s 5 more productions which aren’t Shakespeare shows in themselves - but are certainly inspired by the Bard!

 

8.    Kiss Me, Kate at the Barbican Theatre

•      A ravishing new production directed by Bartlett Sher (The King and I) and featuring Adrian Dunbar (Line of Duty) and Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos) plays at the Barbican theatre for a summer season of chaos and romance, based around a play-within-a-play production of The Taming Of The Shrew.

 


9.    & Juliet, touring

•      What would have happened to Juliet if she hadn’t ended her life at the end of Romeo and Juliet? (Sorry, spoilers…). & Juliet answers this question in Luke Sheppard’s exuberant production featuring the banging tunes of Max Martin, touring the UK from July 2024.

•      Tickets available from https://www.andjulietthemusical.co.uk/

 

10. Romeo & Juliet, Northern Ballet, touring

•      Shakespeare’s doomed romance (sorry, spoilers again…) takes to the stage in ballet form, touring the UK with Northern Ballet’s exceptional cast. Romantic, intense and tragic, this won’t be one to sleep on.

•      Tickets available from https://northernballet.com/romeo-and-juliet

 

 

11. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sh!tfaced Shakespeare at the Leicester Square Theatre

•      What happens when a group of people try to perform Shakespeare, but one actor is drunk (and gets drunker as the play goes on)? You can find out at the Leicester Square Theatre, where a different actor each night gets drunk before the show before the cast staggers through Shakespeare’s magical tale.

 

12. The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre

•      Shakespeare’s Hamlet goes anthropomorphic in this West End classic, reaching its 25th year in the West End this October. Prepare to go feral for Simba and his animal friends as he rightfully reclaims the throne of Pride Rock.



So there we have it – Twelve Nights, or what you will. Go out there and celebrate the UK’s everlasting legendary playwright!

 

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