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Helen Mirren, Benedict Cumberbatch and Judi Dench among All-Star Cast of Shakespeare Live!



The BBC and the Royal Shakespeare Company have today announced more stellar performers and musical highlights for Shakespeare Live! From The RSC on BBC Two on 23 April.

Helen Mirren, Gregory Porter, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Kinnear, Rufus Hound, Henry Goodman, The Shires, David Suchet, Simon Russell Beale, Roger Allam, Antony Sher, Harriet Walter, John Lithgow, Alexandra Gilbreath, Tim Minchin, Anne Marie Duff, Pippa Nixon, Orchestra of the Swan, the cast of Horrible Histories and Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra are joining the already stellar line-up as part of Shakespeare Live! From The RSC on 23 April 2016, to mark 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare.

The performance in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre will be given in front of an invited audience, which will include His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales who is President of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, as well as RSC supporters, partner schools and theatres, local residents and the general public through a series of ballots for free tickets.

As previously announced, David Tennant will be hosting the show and will be joined by Judi Dench, Rufus Wainwright, Ian McKellen, Joseph Fiennes, English National Opera, Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Paapa Essiedu, Alison Moyet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Al Murray and the Royal Ballet. This once-in-a-life-time cast, assembled and directed by Gregory Doran, Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, will come together on the evening of 23 April to stage a unique show in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, which will be broadcast on BBC Two that evening at 8.30pm.

Alongside numerous theatrical performances to be revealed on the night, Shakespeare Live! From The RSC will feature Shakespeare-inspired work spanning the musical genres – including hip-hop, blues, musical theatre, jazz, opera and classical numbers based on his plays.

The show will open with a rendition of ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story, choreographed by Will Tuckett and performed by 19 of the most gifted musical theatre students from across the UK.

Country duo The Shires will perform a special interpretation of Shakespeare’s poem ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’; Henry Goodman and Rufus Hound will give their own rendition of Brush Up Your Shakespeare from the musical Kiss Me Kate; and the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra will perform Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder.

Akala and his award-winning music theatre production company Hip Hop Shakespeare will perform a brand new composition; Othello-inspired dance from the Birmingham Royal Ballet will feature; while dancers from the Royal Ballet will perform Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, accompanied by the 65-piece Orchestra of the Swan.

Musicians Rufus Wainwright, Gregory Porter and Ian Bostridge will also be offering songs inspired by Shakespeare: Rufus Wainwright will sing Sonnet 29; a filmed performance of Gregory Porter singing When That I Was And A Little Tiny Boy will feature; and there is a haunting rendition of Come Away, Death from Ian Bostridge accompanied by Sir Antonio Pappano, recorded at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare is buried.

Shakespeare Live! From The RSC will be broadcast on BBC Two on 23 April and is part of the BBC Shakespeare Festival 2016. The BBC Shakespeare Festival 2016 will see the BBC use the full range of its services – local, national and global – to make Shakespeare irresistible to everyone.

Shakespeare Live! From The RSC will also be screened live to 368 cinemas in the UK and Europe by Picturehouse Entertainment – information here:

BBC Worldwide is the international distributor for Shakespeare Live! From The RSC across cinema, television, video on demand and DVD.


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