Fiennes Returns for Shakespeare Double BillDate: 9 November 1999
Hollywood star Ralph Fiennes returns to London to take part in his favourite theatre's most ambitious project to date. In April 2000, the fringe powerhouse, the Almeida Theatre Company, will take over the ruined shell of the Gainsborough Film Studios in Shoreditch, east London, to present Shakespeare's great explorations of power, Richard II and Coriolanus . Fiennes will play the title roles in both plays. Booking for both productions opens this week.
Richard II will open on 12 April with previews from 30 March; Coriolanus will open on 14 June with previews from 1 June. The plays will then run in repertoire until 22 July. On Saturdays, it will be possible to see both plays in a single day.
The Shoreditch Shakespeares will reunite Fiennes and Almeida artistic director Jonathan Kent who were responsible for the Almeida's hugely successful 1995 production of Hamlet at the Hackney Empire, later transferring to New York, as well as the 1997 Almeida production of Ivanov which also visited Moscow after its London opening.
The Gainsborough Studios, built 100 years ago, were the home of many of Alfred Hitchcock's early films including The Lodger and The Lady Vanishes. The building has been derelict since the Studios closed 50 years ago. Before re-development begins, the Almeida will install an improvised auditorium and stage sets for the Shakespeare productions. Shakespeare himself began his acting and writing career less than half a mile away from the present Studios where the first public playhouse in London was established by James Burbage in 1576.
Fiennes won a Tony and a New York Drama Desk Best Actor Award for his Hackney Hamlet. His other theatre credits include, for the National, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Father and Sons and Ting Tang Mine, and for the RSC, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Troilus and Cressida and Love's Labour Lost. His award-winning film work includes Schindler's List, The English Patient, Quiz Show, Oscar and Lucinda, Strange Days and the recently released Onegin.