The stage premiere of Shakespeare in Love will open at London’s Noel Coward Theatre in the summer of 2014. This new play will be adapted for the stage by Lee Hall from the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. Declan Donnellan will direct and the production will be designed by Nick Ormerod. Shakespeare in Love will be produced by Disney Theatrical Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions.
Priority booking opens later this month and the box office will be open to the public in February 2014, with preview performances beginning in early July 2014.
Based on the acclaimed film that won seven Academy Awards®, including one for Best Screenplay, the new stage production will have a cast of over 26 actors and musicians. The full creative team and cast will be announced in due course.
Lee Hall, who has worked as a writer across theatre, TV, radio and film, won the 2009 Tony Award® for Best Book for his stage adaptation of Billy Elliot. The musical, which also won the Olivier Award for Best Musical in 2006, was based on his screenplay for the film of the same name which saw him nominated for an Academy Award®. In 2008, Hall won the London Evening Standard Award, Best Play for The Pitman Painters. Hall has been writer in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Live Theatre and his screenplay for War Horse was directed by Steven Spielberg in 2011. Other theatre credits include Cooking With Elvis at Live Theatre in Newcastle, Spoonface Steinberg at the Ambassadors Theatre the West End (adapted also for TV and Radio) and Two’s Company at Live Theatre and Bristol Old Vic.
Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod formed Cheek by Jowl in 1981 and have since directed and designed over 30 productions for the company which have been performed in over 300 cities in 40 countries all over the world. With Cheek by Jowl, Donnellan and Ormerod have reimagined many of Shakespeare’s texts including the all male As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Troilus and Cressida and Othello. Cheek by Jowl is an associate company of the Barbican in London and in 1989 Donnellan was made Associate Director of the National Theatre where productions have included Fuente Ovejuna, Sweeney Todd, The Mandate and both parts of Tony Kushner’s Angels In America. Additional theatre credits include ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, The Changeling, Great Expectations and British premiers of Outcry, Homebody/Kabul, Sara and Lady Betty (written by Donnellan). In 2000, Donnellan formed Moscow-based company The Chekhov Festival whose productions have included Boris Godunov and Three Sisters, and recently the pair co-directed feature film Bel Ami starring Robert Pattinson, Kristin Scott Thomas and Uma Thurman. His book, The Actor and The Target, originally published in Russian (2001), has since appeared in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Romanian and Mandarin.
“Everyone who loves the theatre loves what Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman created with the miracle that is Shakespeare in Love,” said Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer Disney Theatrical Productions. “It is a Valentine to the Theatre and what better way to celebrate that than to turn to consummate theatre artists: Declan, Nick, Lee and Sonia are all working at the top of their game and it is an honour for our Disney Theatrical team to partner with artists of their weight and calibre.”
Sonia Friedman, Producer, said:
“Every now and then a story comes along that cries out to be staged. This is one such story. Shakespeare in Love bursts with life and is a moving and hilarious celebration of everything that we love about the inspirational and transformative power of theatre. This project has been several years in development and Tom Schumacher and I are thrilled to be confirming its world premiere in London.”
Plagued by debt, tormented by writer’s block and in desperate need of a new hit, promising new playwright Will Shakespeare finds his muse in the form of passionate young noblewoman, Viola De Lesseps. Their forbidden love soon draws everyone, including Queen Elizabeth herself, into the drama and inspires Will to write the greatest love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet.
This romantic comedy promises to transport audiences back to Shakespeare’s London, teeming with characters and all its vibrant colours, music and life. Shakespeare in Love revels in the sheer joy of love itself.