Saoirse Ronan to make UK stage debut in feminist Macbeth

Actor reunited with James McArdle in London staging of the Shakespeare tragedy

The four-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan is to make her UK stage debut as Lady Macbeth in a "feminist" version of Shakespeare's tragedy at the Almeida theatre in London. The production will reunite the Irish actor with James McArdle, her co-star in the 2018 film Mary Queen of Scots, and present a "more equivalent relationship" between the Macbeths than is usually shown, according to the Almeida's artistic director, Rupert Goold.

The play will be staged by Yaël Farber, who Goold hailed as an “earthy, political, blood-and-mud kind of director” and promises, he said, to be a visceral experience in the intimate space of the Almeida. The Tragedy of Macbeth, as it will be billed, was in the works before theatres were closed because of the pandemic and Goold said he was relieved that he had been able to keep a team of such in-demand talents together. The play will open in September.

The 27-year-old Ronan, who won acclaim on Broadway in a 2016 staging of The Crucible, is among several "extraordinary young actors" in the Almeida's new season. From mid-June it will welcome back socially distanced audiences of about 100-120 people (reduced from its usual capacity of 325). The opening show is called And Breathe …, a title that will resonate with the beleaguered theatre industry as it reopens for business after months of nail-biting closure.

It is a theatrical adaptation of Yomi Sode's forthcoming poetry collection, Manorism, exploring loss and grief. Featuring live music and projections, the production will be directed by Miranda Cromwell and stars David Jonsson from the BBC banking drama Industry. Jonsson had been cast in a major role in Daddy, the play by Jeremy O Harris that the Almeida was forced to postpone when the pandemic hit.

Lolita Chakrabarti's two-hander Hymn, which starred Adrian Lester and Danny Sapani and was livestreamed from an empty Almeida in February, will return to the theatre over summer. Goold said that he hopes to either livestream the Almeida's other shows this year or record them for future digital release. Hymn will be followed by the world premiere of Once Upon a Time in Nazi Occupied Tunisia by Josh Azouz, directed by Eleanor Rhode. A dark comedy with shades of Quentin Tarantino and Martin McDonagh, the play explores the complicated history of Arab-Israeli relations and is "zany, moving and provocative", said Goold. – Guardian

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