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Full cast for The Merchant of Venice (1936) with Tracy-Ann Oberman announced

The new production plays at stops across the UK

Tracy Ann Oberman

Full casting has been revealed for a new adaptation of The Merchant of Venice, which plays next spring in Watford and Manchester.

Led by Tracy-Ann Oberman as Shylock, this new vision for Shakespeare's play places the action in 1930s east London, against a backdrop of rising fascism across Europe and on these shores – through the likes of Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists.

Oberman and Brigid Larmour's reimagining opens at Watford Palace Theatre on 27 February 2023, before transferring to HOME in Manchester where it runs from 15 March.

Set to join Oberman will be Hannah Morrish (Antony and Cleopatra), playing the role of Portia, alongside Raymond Coulthard (Mr Selfridge) as Antonio. The pair were both involved in workshops for the show at the RSC earlier this year.

Gráinne Dromgoole, Priyank Morjaria and Xavier Starr also join the team, all of whom graduated in the last three years. Completing the cast are Adam Buchanan (Pride and Prejudice) and Jessica Dennis (Twelfth Night).

Larmour (who also directs) said today: "We've assembled a brilliant cast of actors to join Tracy-Ann. It's a creative mix of established leading actors with exciting recent graduates – just like when I gave our Portia, Hannah, her first job out of drama school in 2016! We have direct links with the history we explore in the production. Members of Tracy-Ann's family took part in the Battle of Cable St, a relative of Adam's witnessed it from an upstairs window at the age of five, and Jessica's grandmother was briefly arrested for ‘plot to treason' in Germany in the 1930s."

Oberman added: "After our Covid cancellation, The Merchant of Venice (1936) has come back better and stronger with a most exciting future ahead. This team of actors are the dream team – fearless, brave, and talented. Ray and Hannah join us from our RSC workshop earlier this year, and I am looking forward to welcoming the full cast to discover our new ‘Rialto' in Cable Street 1936."

The show is designed by Liz Cooke, with lighting by Rory Beaton, sound by Sarah Weltman and composition by Erran Baron Cohen. Further creative team members are to be revealed by the production.

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