Theatre News

RSC announces Reuben Joseph and Valene Kane as Macbeth leads

The tragedy is back in Stratford

Headshots of Valene Kane and Reuben Joseph
Valene Kane and Reuben Joseph, photos supplied by the RSC – Reuben photo by Àsìkò

The RSC has announced lead casting for its upcoming new production of Macbeth, which opens in mid-August.

Reuben Joseph, last seen on stage in the West End production of Hamilton, will take on the role of the cursed and murderous thane, with Valene Kane (The Fall) as Lady Macbeth.

Joseph said today: “I don’t think there’s a single Scottish actor who hasn’t dreamt of getting their hands on the part of Macbeth. For it to be my RSC debut – following in the footsteps of some of my acting heroes, “stands not within the prospect of belief”. Playing Alexander Hamilton has me well versed in the disastrous consequences of ambition. Not to mention Hamilton’s own self-comparison to Macbeth in the show. They share a driving force, though one of them with far bloodier methods.

“I’m fascinated by the question of ‘how far can a person compromise their moral code, before they compromise their soul?’ It’s a notion that resonates deeply with audiences, who after four-hundred years, keep coming back to this story. That same pull draws me to the character, humbled at the prospect, but excited for the challenge.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Wils for entrusting me with this role and can’t wait for you all to see the world she is creating for the show. It promises to be Scotland as Stratford-upon Avon has never seen it before. Hopefully, we’ll see you there on the blasted heath.”

Kane added: “Lady Macbeth. She has become a synonym of the word evil and yet she is a role so many women resonate with, and certainly a role that has always captivated me: at once fearless, determined, powerful and vulnerable.

“I am fascinated by the interplay of the feminine and masculine, both within her and within the play. The complexities of relationship dynamics, and the investigation of a woman’s power in her marriage and in society, are so fertile here. Lady Macbeth is a gift and a privilege for any actor to dive into and it would not be an overstatement to say that I am ecstatic to be making my RSC debut in this role.

“One of the first words Wils used in her vision for the play was ‘wild’.  We are teetering on the edge of catastrophe, where the stakes are high, and every choice carries with it life-changing consequences. This take feels so right: their extraordinary actions are born out of an extraordinary world.

“As the only Irish actress within an otherwise all-Scottish company, there’s an added dynamic to the Macbeth’s relationship which I’m looking forward to exploring in rehearsals; the idea of Lady Macbeth as ‘other’, as an ‘outsider’.  I cannot wait to begin.”

The show plays from Saturday 19 August to Saturday 14 October 2023. Further casting will be announced later this month. Taking on directorial duties is Wils Wilson (associate director at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh) while the show has design by Georgia McGuinness, lighting by Kai Fischer, music by Alasdair Macrae and sound by Claire Windsor. Movement and choreography is by Julia Cheng, fights by Kaitlin Howard with casting by Simone Pereira Hind CDG and Anna Dawson.