Lucy Briggs-Owen and Tom Bateman play Viola and Will Shakespeare
Lucy Briggs-Owen and Tom Bateman play Viola and Will Shakespeare

Tom Bateman will play Will Shakespeare and Lucy Briggs-Owen will play Viola De Lesseps, the roles created on screen by Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow, in the forthcoming West End premiere of Shakespeare in Love.

Bateman's theatre credits include The Duchess of Malfi at The Old Vic and Much Ado About Nothing opposite David Tennant and Catherine Tate at Wyndham's Theatre; Briggs-Owen's stage credits include several productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as Noises Off in the West End and most recently Fortune's Fool at The Old Vic.

Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) from the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, Shakespeare in Love will open at the Noel Coward Theatre in "early July 2014" (dates tbc).

Shakespeare in Love is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions.

Directed and designed by Cheek by Jowl's Declan Donellan and Nick Ormerod, the production will feature a cast of over 26 actors and musicians.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare in Love
Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare in Love

In the screen version of Shakespeare in Love, Joseph Fiennes played Shakespeare, who is suffering writer's block while working on what will become Romeo and Juliet.

A young actor who has been cast to play Romeo is actually a noblewoman named Viola, who has had to disguise herself as it's against the law for women to perform on stage. Author and actor fall in love and their passionate, but doomed, love affair inspires Shakespeare's writing of his great tragedy.

The film, directed by John Madden, won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress for Paltrow and Best Supporting Actress for Judi Dench, who made a cameo appearance as Queen Elizabeth.

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