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Adjoa Andoh to direct and star in Richard III

The show plays in Liverpool and Kingston next spring

Adjoa Andoh
© Suki Dhanda

Bridgerton and Richard II star Adjoa Andoh will return to the stage in a new production of Richard III, produced by the Rose Theatre and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres in association with Swinging the Lens.

Andoh will direct the new production, which opens at the Liverpool Playhouse on 6 April 2023, before transferring to the Rose Theatre from 26 April 2023. Further casting and creative team members are to be revealed.

Andoh explained today: "When Christopher Haydon, artistic director of the Rose Theatre, asked me what I might be interested in directing for their 2023 spring season, Richard lll was top of my list.

"Richard is a character I have loved since childhood. Growing up in a tiny Cotswold village in the 1960s and '70s, I immediately felt a connection to someone singled out because of their appearance.

"On first reading Shakespeare's play as a child, I was outraged at the way Richard was portrayed, but now appreciate one of the questions Shakespeare posits – what happens to a person and their sense of self, if throughout their life bad intentions are ascribed to them based solely on their appearance? I call this body pathologising. It happens to many people in many circumstances across the world to this day, and in this production, I want to explore the story, and that question through the lens of race.

"I'm delighted that the show is a co-production with Liverpool Playhouse, as my mother is a Liverpudlian, and finally I get to perform in her beloved city; our childhoods united on stage. I can't wait to whip off the corsets and share this production with audiences in Liverpool and London next spring."

Haydon added: "Starting with Richard III, the Rose continues to offer audiences fiercely fresh perspectives on familiar stories. I last collaborated with Adjoa Andoh in 2017 when I ran the Gate Theatre. I'm thrilled that she's now bringing her ferocious intellect and incandescent stage presence to the Rose, in the first Shakespeare we've presented in my tenure here as artistic director. Adjoa will both direct and star in a no doubt powerful and provocative production, that will both entertain and challenge."

Suba Das, creative director of the Liverpool Playhouse and Everyman said: "Both the Playhouse and the Everyman have had a long history of incredible Shakespeare performances by Liverpool acting royalty from Pete Postlethwaite to David Morrissey to Kim Cattrall treading our boards in some of the bard's most iconic roles.

"It's an honour in my first year here to continue this proud tradition and with the team at Rose Theatre to entice Adjoa off the Bridgerton set and back to Liverpool (where her mum grew up) to take on Richard III, one of the greatest plays and characters ever written.

As both lead actor and director, Adjoa is assembling a stunning cast and creative team around her for a production that will examine race and trauma. It's a timely reimagining and I'm so very proud our audiences at the Playhouse will be the first in the world to experience what will be one of the year's theatrical highlights."

The Rose will also stage Lord of the Flies (18 to 22 April 2023) and a festive staging of Peter Pan (1 December 2023 to 7 January 2024).