Preview: An all-female production of Hamlet at Hope Mill Theatre
Updated: May 7, 2019
By Jo Flynn ·
Girl Gang Manchester and Unseemly Women present Hamlet at Hope Mill Theatre from 2 May - 11 May
This isn’t any version of Hamlet you’ve seen before, as the entire production is female-lead. Directed by Kayleigh Hawkins and produced by Hannah Ellis Ryan and Evelyn Roberts with a whole team of talented women, this time the classic dive into insanity and honour takes on a long overdue perspective through wholly female eyes.
Not only does this open a host of fresh nuances to the 400+ year old text, but also addresses the lack of female-lead productions on the theatre scene. After hundreds of submissions to play a part this time around, it’s exciting to think of the rise of female lead theatre groups like Unseemly Women and Girl Gang are kick starting. After a successful, fresh and fun production of Romeo and Juliet last year, now the teams come together again to take on another one of Shakespeare’s most well known tragedies.
They hope to shed a new light on Hamlet who is played by the naturally funny and easygoing Eve Shotton. Coupled with unusual and interesting cuts by Kayleigh Hawkins and supported by an incredibly talented cast they aim to bring a new vibrancy to the traditionally macabre story. Like Romeo and Juliet the year before, the team don’t feel that gender really plays a vital part in the narrative and that’s what makes Hamlet a great choice. The play is all about justice, honour and morality – all of these things transcend gender. Other Shakespeare texts might be more problematic, but in this case gender just isn’t relevant to the performance.
Aside from the exciting fact we’re putting women at the forefront, this version aims to put the ensemble at the centre too. Audiences can expect to see larger parts played by traditionally smaller roles and some bold, even risky, choices made with cuts. The ensemble-first approach shows this is an authentic production celebrating everyone on the stage as a pose to that one coveted part that this show can end up revolving around historically.
The team have incorporated original songs and music written just for this performance, they use dance and other mediums to highlight this fresh take and drag it straight into 2019.
Not only have the team been working hard on Hamlet, but Unseemly Women run a project alongside the production where 4 shorter plays are developed in response to lines from the main show. This year the teams are responding to ‘Frailty thy name is woman!’. Four new short works will be produced in response and we can’t wait to see them! The Unseemly Women work ensures many more of those hundreds of casting calls are answered than just the 12 that feature in Hamlet, creating more equal opportunities for women in theatre. These shorter pieces will be performed at 7.30pm on the 9 May and 2.30pm on the 10 May at Hope Mill Theatre.
Don’t miss Hamlet as you’ve never seen it before running from the 2 May - 11 May at Hope Mill Theatre with matinees starting at 2.00pm and evening shows starting at 7.30pm and an interval of 15 minutes. For tickets and more information please visit the Hope Mill Theatre website or Girl Gang Manchester's Facebook.