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Written by William Shakespeare
Performed in English

Night-time on the battlements of Elsinore Castle. The ghost of old king Hamlet appears before the guardsmen. Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, has married Hamlet’s widowed mother, the ‘most seeming-virtuous queen,’ Gertrude. Claudius is now king of Denmark. The ghost tells Hamlet that he is his father’s spirit, and is ‘doom’d for a certain term to walk the night,’ until his son can avenge his ‘foul and most unnatural murder.’

Perhaps Shakespeare’s greatest play, and described by Laurence Olivier as ‘the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind,’ Hamlet encapsulates the vast literary themes of mortality, corruption and revenge. With some of the most famous lines in the English language, Hamlet tells of a young prince who is tortured by his father’s death and his own inability to be moved into action, and charts his dangerous voyage of murder and madness in the corrupt court ruled by his murderous uncle…

Produced by Cheek by Jowl. The first performance of Hamlet was at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds on 4th September 1990.

“Declan Donnellan’s production overlaps and intercuts scenes with a fascinating dexterity that appears to move the play at breakneck speed.”

City Limits
Cast and creative team


Malcolm ScatesBarnado / Guildernstern / Priest
Peter MoretonFrancisco / Reynalso / Player Queen / Fortinbras
Patrick MillerMarcellus / Rosencrantz
Duncan DuffHoratio
Daniel ThorndikeHamlet’s Ghost / Player King / 2nd Gravedigger
Scott CherryClaudius
Jason MorellVoltemand / Captain / Messenger / Osric
Peter de JersyLaertes
Peter NeedhamPolonius / 1st Gravedigger
Timothy WalkerHamlet
Natasha ParryGertrude
Cathryn BradshawOphelia

Creative Team

DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod
Composer / Musical DirectorPaddy Cunneen
Movement DirectorJane Gibson
Lighting DesignersJudith Greenwood & Nick Fisher
Fight DirectorJohn Waller
Company Stage ManagerLouise Yeomans
Deputy Stage ManagerMartin Lloyd Evans
Assistant Stage ManagerPaul Clay
Wardrobe ManagerBlossom Beale
Wardrobe SupervisorAngie Burns
Previous performances

Previous Performances

27–31 January 1991Hong Kong, Lee Theatre, Hong Kong
18–20 January 1991 Athens, Athens College Theatre, Greece
12–14 January 1991Thessaloniki, Ex Royal Theatre, Greece
19 November–13 December 1990London, Lyric Theatre, UK
13–17 November 1990Horsham, Arts Centre, UK
6–10 November 1990Taunton, Brewhouse Theatre, UK
30 October–3 November 1990Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre, UK
23–27 October 1990Bracknell, Wilde Theatre, UK
16–20 October 1990Windsor, Theatre Royal, UK
10–11 October 1990Kyoto, Fumin Hall, Japan
27 September–7 October 1990Tokyo, Globe Theatre, Japan
18–22 September 1990Cambridge, Cambridge Arts Theatre, UK
11–15 September 1990Basildon, Townsgate Theatre, UK
4–8 September 1990Bury St Edmunds, Theatre Royal, UK


“Declan Donnellan’s production overlaps and intercuts scenes with a fascinating dexterity that appears to move the play at breakneck speed.”

City Limits
Production photo
Photograph: John Haynes
Production photo
Photograph: John Haynes

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

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