Theatre News

RSC announce Tamburlaine casting for Michael Boyd's production

Jude Owusu will take on the title role

Mark Hadfield, Jude Owusu and Zainab Hasan
Mark Hadfield, Jude Owusu and Zainab Hasan
© Dan Wooller/Ric Bacon/Dan Wooller

Casting has been announced for Michael Boyd's production of Tamburlaine at the Swan Theatre in August.

Jude Owusu (The Cherry Orchard, Bristol Old Vic) will play the title role alongside Salman Akhtar (Magnetes/Capolin/Amyras), Sagar I M Arya (Bajazeth/Trebizon), Raj Bajaj (Ceneus/Argier/Calyphas), Shamia Chalabi (Persian Courtier), James Clyde (Menaphon/Morocco/Jerusalem), Anton Cross (Persian Courtier/Bajazeth Lord/Soldier/Celebinus), Ralph Davis (Agydas/Arabia/Orcanes) and Ross Green (Ortygius/Tunis/Captain).

Mark Hadfield will play Mycetes/Soldan/Almeda/Amasia, with Zainab Hasan (Anippe/Olympia), Naveed Khan (Soldier), Debbie Korley (Zabina/Soria), Rosy McEwen (Zenocrate/Callapine), Sam Pay (Soldier), Riad L Richie (Usumcasane), David Rubin (Techelles), Vivienne Smith (Ebea/First Virgin), David Sturzaker (Cosroe/Fez/Sigismund/Governor of Babylon),Yasmin Taheri (Second Virgin), James Tucker (Meander/Basso/Governor of Damascus/Baldwin/Perdicas) and Edmund Wiseman (Theridamas).

Boyd, the RSC's artistic director from 2002 to 2012, has adapted the original two parts of Marlowe's play and also directs the show. It was originally staged in New York in 2014.

He said: "We had a lot of success with Tamburlaine in New York, so it wasn't a straightforward decision to revisit the play for the RSC, but in the end I felt that the world and our understanding of the nature of tyranny have changed so much since 2014 that we will have no choice but to reread the play anew for a contemporary audience.

"We are living now through a time when angry rhetoric, and determined, self-dramatising men hold increasing sway over our lives. The received wisdoms of western liberal democracy can look weak and even moribund when faced with the strong men of the American, Russian, and Chinese right. In this context Tamburlaine seems to be an urgent play for our time."

The production will have design by Tom Piper, with lighting is by Colin Grenfell, sound by Claire Windsor and music by James Jones. Movement is by Liz Ranken and fights are by Terry King.