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7 productions of Shakespeare plays not to miss

Get a dose of Shakespeare's otherworldly talents and head to one of the man's excellent plays

7. Titus Andronicus

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, 23 June to 2 September

This weekend heralds Shakespeare's 453rd birthday. What better way to celebrate the man and his legacy than by booking to see a show in his birthplace. The RSC's production of Titus Andronicus promises to be rather thrilling, with superb director Blanche McIntyre looking after proceedings. David Troughton plays the title role.

Andrew Scott in Hamlet
© Manuel Harlan

6. Hamlet

Harold Pinter, 9 June to 2 September

Andrew Scott opened at the Almeida Theatre as the Dane earlier this year and a West End transfer was announced almost as soon as curtain was raised on opening night. It's clear why: tickets sold out for the Almeida exceptionally quickly. Here's another chance to catch the magnificent performance from Scott once more. And no, tickets are not yet sold out. Get clicking!

Read our review of Hamlet here

Richard III rehearsals
© Alex Brenner

5. Richard III

Arcola Theatre, London, 11 May to 10 June

Shakespeare's nastiest king is taken on by RSC associate and all-round excellent actor Greg Hicks in this production from Mehmet Ergan. It's not the first time Hicks and Ergan have teamed up together, Ergan directed the actor in the acclaimed production of Clarion in 2015 and Hicks was back at the theatre in The Kreuzer Sonata last year. They've proved to be a thrilling duo and we can't wait to see what Hicks does with the role.

Ruth Alexander-Rubin and Mat Fraser in rehearsals for Richard III
© Nobby Clark

4. Richard III

Hull Truck, 4 to 27 May

Is there room for another Richard III on this list, I hear you asking? Well, definitely yes, if the production in question has the superb actor Mat Fraser starring in the titular role. Having worked for much of his career with disabled-led company Graeae, you may have also seen him on the telly box in American Horror Story and Channel Four's Cast Offs. In Northern Broadsides' production he should bring a new layer of meaning to the view of Richard III as the 'disabled king', too, as Fraser has thalidomide-induced Phocomelia.

Doon Mackichan and Tamsin Greig
© Marc Brenner

3. Twelfth Night

National Theatre, until 13 May

Simon Godwin directs this strong production of Shakespeare's bawdy comedy with a gender-bending casting decision at its heart: Tamsin Greig plays Malvolia. The rest of the cast are pretty wonderful too, and the ensemble includes Phoebe Fox, Daniel Rigby, Tamara Lawrance and Doon Mackichan.

Read our review of Twelfth Night

Cheek by Jowl's The Winter's Tale
© Johan Persson

2. The Winter's Tale

Barbican Theatre, until 22 April and available on BBC iPlayer until 7 May

Cheek By Jowl's production of Shakespeare's romance is about to come to its end at the Barbican, but there's still time to catch it on TV. The show was live-streamed and you can watch it up until May 7. Hurrah for that, because Declan Donnellan's production is a searing, invigorating version. Sarah Crompton called it 'a revelation' in her review for us.

Read our review of The Winter's Tale

Kirsty Bushell as Juliet and Edward Hogg as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet
© Robert Workman

1. Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare's Globe, 22 April to 9 July

The weather has got a little better (although the current cold snap isn't at all welcome), which heralds the beginning of the outdoor theatre season. And Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare's Globe is certainly a show to celebrate that yearly moment. The reviews haven't been uniformly great, it's true. But it's always an exciting experience sitting - or standing - in London's wooden O. ENO's artistic director Daniel Kramer directs the show which marks the beginning of the end of Emma Rice's tenure at the theatre after she announced she would be stepping down from running the space in April 2018.