Ahead of its world premiere this spring, Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet will transfer to the West End. Hamnet begins previews at the Garrick Theatre on 30 September, with an opening night on 12 October, and performances to 20 Jan. 2024.
Set in 1580s Warwickshire, Hamnet follows Agnes Hathaway who meets William Shakespeare. When the plague forces Shakespeare and his wife to lose their only son, a person’s loss gives birth to a new life.
“The motivation, for me, in writing the novel was to give a voice and a presence to the only son of William Shakespeare, who died when he was eleven and has ever since been relegated to a literary footnote in his father’s biography,” said O’Farrell.
“Although Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and maintained strong ties with the town throughout his life, choosing to return to his family there when he retired, London was of course the centre of his professional life. It feels particularly apt and moving, therefore, that a play which puts Hamnet centre stage will now move to the world of theatrical London.”
Lolita Chakrabarati adapts Hamnet. She previously adapted Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, winning Best New Play at the 2022 Olivier Awards.
Madeleine Mantock will play Agnes Hathaway, with further casting to be announced. Erica Whyman directs, with set and costume Design by Tom Piper, lighting design by Prema Mehta, sound design by Xana, music by Oğuz Kaplangi, and movement by Ayse Tashkiran.
Hamnet is at the Garrick Theatre.