The dark, haunted world ofÂ MacbethÂ is starting to take shape at Leeds Playhouse as rehearsals get underway forÂ Shakespeare’sÂ iconic tragedy.
In Director Amy Leachâ€™s and Designer Hayley Grindleâ€™s vibrant, raw and visceral vision of Shakespeareâ€™s thrilling tragedy, ambitious northern warrior Macbeth does whatever it takes to gain power and, ultimately, the throne.
The cast â€“ including Tachia Newall as Macbeth and Jessica Baglow as Lady Macbeth â€“
is a talented group of actors, each bringing different life experiences and perspectives to enrich the play.
“It makes for richer work, on and off stage,” said Amy Leach, Associate Director at Leeds Playhouse. “As a team that includes deaf and disabled actors, weâ€™re especially enjoying working out how the characters in the world communicate with each other, which is leading to lots of exciting new discoveries about the play.
“I also love hearing Shakespeare when itâ€™s spoken in regional accents and we have a brilliant variety â€“ including lots of Northern ones â€“ in this company. I find I understand Shakespeareâ€™s language and connect so much more to the heart of his characters when the text connects with the landscape that’s present in regional accents. I also think itâ€™s important that the many young people who will come and see this production hear and see themselves represented in the world of the play, to understand that Shakespeare is for them.”
The whole production will be creatively accessible to blind and visually impaired audiences, with audio description built into the play as a creative layer for every performance rather than something that is only heard through headphones for one or two performances.
The rest of the 11-strong cast are: Adam Bassett, who was Associate Director of the Playhouseâ€™s recent Ramps on the Moon production of Oliver Twist, as Macduff; Charlotte Arrowsmith (As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew for the RSC) as Lady Macduff and one of the three pivotal Witches; Benjamin Cawley (Dr Who, Shetland) as Ross; Kammy Darweish (Skyfall, Ackley Bridge) as Duncan; Tom Dawze, known to Playhouse audiences for Our Countryâ€™s Good in 2018, as Lennox; Karina Jones (Measure for Measure, As You Like It for the RSC) as a Witch; Shahbaaz Khan (ROAD, Northern Stage) as Malcolm; Gabriel Paul, known to Playhouse audiences from Queen of Chapeltown in 2017 (which also featured Benjamin Cawley), as Banquo; and Bradford-born graduate actor Ashleigh Wilder as a Witch.
The creative team includes Set & Costume Designer Hayley Grindle, who has created numerous designs for Leeds Playhouse including the incredible sets for Oliver Twist and Hamlet; Associate Director and Audio Description Consultant Ben Wilson; Lighting Designer Chris Davey; Sound Designer & Composer Nicola T Chang; Movement Director Georgina Lamb; Fight Director Claire Llewellyn of Rc-Annie Ltd; Assistant Movement Director Bakani Pick-Up; Assistant Designer (and Leeds Playhouse Resident Designer) Warda Abbasi; Casting Director Lucy Casson; and BSL interpreters Dave Wycherley, Alexia Blohm-Pain, Vicci Ackroyd, Anna Smith, Emma Dawber and Sarah Cox. Cast members Adam Bassett and Charlotte Arrowsmith are also BSL Consultants for the production.
Leeds Playhouseâ€™s Creative Engagement team will be creating and sharing a range of educational resources with schools to engage with young people across the city, including exclusive access to the rehearsal room, cast and creative team.
A Leeds Playhouse production
26 February â€“ 19 March
Press night: Thursday 3 March
Box office: 0113 213 7700