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Fiennes Opens in Shoreditch Shakespeare

By • West End
British film star Ralph Fiennes returns to the London stage tomorrow night after a three-year absence to take part in his favourite theatre's most ambitious project to date. Fiennes stars, with fellow Brit film actor Linus Roache, in a double bill of Shakespeare, presented in the ruined shell of the Gainsborough Film Studios in Shoreditch, east London.

Fiennes plays the title roles in Richard II, which opens tomorrow following previews from 30 March and continues until 5 August, and Coriolanus, which joins the former in repertory on 14 June following previews from 1 June and continues until 5 August 2000.

Shakespeare in Shoreditch, as the project is called, reunites 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 and is set to be re-developed into luxury flats. Before that, however, the Almeida has moved in, installing a hugely atmospheric improvised auditorium and stage sets for the two plays.

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 The End of the Affair, Onegin, Schindler's List, The English Patient, Quiz Show, Oscar and Lucinda and Strange Days.

Linus Roache plays Henry Bolingbroke to Fiennes' Richard II and Tullus Aufidius to his Coriolanus. Roache's many stage credits include The Deep Blue Sea and Keeping Tom Nice for the Almeida, Uncle Vanya, King Lear and Julius Caesar for the RSC, and Juno and the Paycock for the National. His film credits include Priest, The Wings of the Dove, The Venice Project and Siam Sunset.

Fiennes and Roache are joined by a distinguished company featuring John Bennett, Paul Benzing, David Burke, Stephen Campbell Moore, Alan David, Angela Down, Philip Dunbar, David Fahm, Stephen Finegold, Oliver Ford Davies, Emilia Fox, Bernard Gallagher, Barbara Jefford, Danielle King, Paul Moriarty, Damian O'Hare, Oliver Ryan, Marc Small, Roger Swaine, Robert Swann and Ed Waters.

Richard II and Coriolanus are directed by Jonathan Kent and designed by Paul Brown with lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Jonathan Dove and sound by John A Leonard.


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