In addition to the recent news that it will return to the region in February 2012 with The Taming of the Shrew, The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced it will be coming back to the North East this autumn with its young people’s version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, performing at a variety of locations in Tyneside, Durham, and North Yorkshire.

A unique adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, the RSC’s Young People’s Hamlet is a specially condensed 80 minute, high energy version designed to provide an ideal first experience of Shakespeare for 8 -11 year olds. Although primarily aimed at children the YPS productions have proved just as popular with audiences of all ages.

The show, directed by the award-winning American writer and director Tarell Alvin McCraney, which performed to sell out audiences in the region in 2010, will be publicly presented at four locations - Charles Thorp Comprehensive School (formerly Ryton Comprehensive) (27 Sep): Crook Primary School (28 Sep); Laurence Jackson School (29 Sep) and The Maltings Theatre in Berwick-upon-Tweed (30 Sep). The tour heralds a new way of reaching audiences who may not normally get access the the RSC’s work. In schools the daytime performances will be for schoolchildren, with evening performances aimed at their families and the local community.

The North East leg of the YPS Hamlet tour has been co-ordinated by the RSC in collaboration with the Theatre Royal’s Learning team.

The cast of nine, who have now been with the RSC since the beginning of 2009 and received excellent reviews for their performances on the earlier tour, includes Dharmesh Patel as Hamlet, Gateshead-born Peter Peverley as Polonius and Debbie Korley as Ophelia. Dyfan Dwyfor plays Laertes, Marcellus and Rosencrantz, Gruffudd Glyn plays Barnardo, Guildenstern and Oscic, Patrick Romer, the ghost, a player and a pirate, David Rubin, Claudius, Simone Saunders, Horatio and Kirsty Woodward plays Gertrude and a player.

The show, which was produced in line with the RSC’s Stand up for Shakespeare manifesto and aims to improve the way Shakespeare is experienced in schools, uses the original text throughout and has been specially adapted by Tarell Alvin McCraney and Bijan Shebani to engage young audiences. Joining Tarell on the creative team are Jean Chan (Designer), Tom Piper (Associate Designer) Michael Fentiman (Associate Designer) and Terry King (Fight Director).

Most performances are open to the public, and tickets for the Ryton show can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office. Other venues are selling tickets directly, at varying prices (see below).

Hamlet appears at Charles Thorp Comprehensive School (in Ryton) on Tues 27 Sep 2011 (7pm); at Crook Primary School on Weds 28 Sep (1pm & 6pm); Laurence Jackson School in Guisborough on 29 Sep (10.45am and 7.30pm) (call 01287 636361) and at The Maltings Theatre in Berwick-upon-Tweed on 30 Sep (2pm & 7.30pm) (call 01289 309 333). Tickets for the Ryton and Berwick shows are £5 for 18 yrs and under and £10 for adults and tickets for the Ryton show only can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at http://www.theatreroyal.co.uk