Macbeth takes centre stage in Cathedral Festival
There will be toil and trouble in Norwich Cathedral’s Cloisters this summer as one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies takes to the stage.
Fresh from wowing last year’s Shakespeare Festival audiences with a magical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men will be returning in June to perform the Bard’s powerful tragedy Macbeth in the historic surrounds of the Cloisters.
The open-air Shakespeare Festival is always a summer highlight in the Cathedral’s cultural calendar and this year’s performances of Macbeth will take place on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 June. Tickets are on sale now.
The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, said the Cathedral was delighted to be welcoming back The Lord Chamberlain’s Men for the 2020 Shakespeare Festival.
The Dean said: “The Shakespeare Festival is always a summer highlight at the Cathedral and in recent years we have been delighted to host The Lord Chamberlain’s Men’s excellent productions in the Cloisters.
“It is wonderful to once again be welcoming back the company to join in our annual open air celebration of William Shakespeare.
“Last year, more than 1,500 people enjoyed watching The Lord Chamberlain’s Men perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and we are looking forward to seeing what they have in store with their latest production of Macbeth at the 2020 Shakespeare Festival.”
A gripping tale of supernatural magic, vaulting ambition and the perils of an insatiable lust for power, Macbeth puts the spotlight on one of Shakespeare’s most chilling couples.
Emerging victorious and decorated in war, Macbeth receives a thrilling pronouncement from three weird sisters who prophesy he will one day be King of Scotland. Overcome by ambition and driven on by his powerful wife, Macbeth sets in motion a terrible sequence of events from which there is no turning back.
Peter Stickney, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men’s artistic director, said: “Macbeth is one of my personal favourites, this production is a real thrill-ride from start to finish; I can’t wait for our audiences to see it. One of Shakespeare’s shortest plays but it really packs a punch, we have witches, sword fights, some of Shakespeare’s most captivating poetry and, of course, incredible characters facing incredible challenges, not least of whom is Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
“Dealing with huge themes of power, ambition, fear and with a big dose of the supernatural, this is one you will not want to miss!”
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men are a modern day incarnation of the Bard’s own travelling troupe of players, and they will be performing Macbeth just as it would have been played out in Shakespeare’s day - with an all-male cast, full Elizabethan costumes and traditional music and dance.
The company have spent more than 15 years entertaining audiences across the country and beyond, and at Norwich Cathedral they have previously performed The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Peter Stickney is this year celebrating five years at the helm of the company, and for him the Norwich Cathedral shows are always something of a homecoming as he grew up nearby in Saxlingham Nethergate, went to Long Stratton High and Hewett School, and first developed his love of theatre while acting in high school shows.
He said there was a real magic to watching Shakespeare performed in the open air.
“Experiencing Shakespeare’s productions outside, where he first saw them, is a truly special thing. As the light fades and the moon comes out, it is thrilling to think that we are looking at the same moon that Shakespeare did whilst listening to the words he wrote and saw performed himself,” he said.
“I am incredibly passionate about honouring Shakespeare’s plays, being part of his legacy and, simply, providing people with a truly entertaining evening. I hope that our work does that and I hope that people continue to be drawn to it.”
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men will perform Macbeth in Norwich Cathedral’s Cloisters on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 June at 7pm.
On both nights, doors will open at 6pm for people to enjoy the beautiful surrounds of the Cloisters before the show.
Tickets cost £20. Concessions (over 60s, NUS and under 16s) £18.
Seating will be provided but is unreserved.
For more information and to book tickets, visit cathedral.org.uk/shakespeare
Alternatively, book in person at Norwich Theatre Royal or call the box office on 01603 630000.
Photo by Bill Smith