Both Hytner and Kinnear have confirmed over the past two years that they would work together on the Shakespeare tragedy, but have not until now committed to a timeframe. Last April (See The Goss, 8 Apr 2008), Hytner said: “The world and his wife can do Hamlet first” – referring to the recent high-profile offerings from David Tennant care of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Jude Law’s now Broadway-bound turn for the Donmar Warehouse.
With those now out of the way, he said today – at a press briefing to launch the National Theatre’s 2008-9 Annual Report (See Today’s Other News) – that the time will be right for a new NT Hamlet in 2010.
Rory Kinnear won Olivier and Ian Charleson Awards for playing a fop in Hytner’s 2007 NT production of Restoration comedy The Man of Mode. The two also worked together in 2006 on Samuel Adamson’s new play Southwark Fair, where Kinnear’s other credits have included Philistines, The Revenger’s Tragedy and, earlier this year, Burnt by the Sun.
The NT production won’t be Kinnear’s first brush with Hamlet. Prior to his NT seasons, Kinnear played Laertes to Ben Whishaw’s prince in Trevor Nunn’s “teenage” Hamlet at the Old Vic in 2004. His other Shakespeare credits include The Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest for the RSC.
The 2010 Travelex season will also comprise: the postponed production of Georg Buchner’s 1835 piece about the French Revolution, Danton’s Death, marking the NT debut for Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage – who, ironically, had to withdraw from the project this year in order to take over directing duties from Kenneth Branagh on the Jude Law Hamlet - as well as Middleton’s 17th-century tragedy Women Beware Women, directed by Marianne Elliott; and a new play by Moira Buffini called Eurydice and directed by former NT artistic director Richard Eyre.
For the past seven years, the £10 Season has been sponsored by finance company Travelex, who are now backing the NT Live cinema screenings of some of the theatre's productions instead. Hytner said today that another £10 Season sponsor is still being sought, but that the annual initiative would carry on regardless. NT chairman Hayden Phillips added that it must because “it’s in our bloodstream” at the National and “so vital to those extraordinary audience figures” – of 93% capacity across the year – announced today.