One of the biggest classics ever

Exceptional. Moving. Emotional.

• FULL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR THE KENNETH BRANAGH THEATRE COMPANY’S ROMEO AND JULIET, STARRING LILY JAMES, RICHARD MADDEN AND DEREK JACOBI

• MEERA SYAL WILL PLAY THE NURSE ALONGSIDE MARISA BERENSON, JACK COLGRAVE HIRST, TOM HANSON, MATTHEW HAWKSLEY, TAYLOR JAMES, ANSU KABIA, RACHEAL OFORI, NIKKI PATEL, CHRIS PORTER, ZOË RAINEY, MICHAEL ROUSE, SAM VALENTINE AND KATHRYN WILDER

• DIRECTED BY KENNETH BRANAGH AND ROB ASHFORD, ROMEO AND JULIET WILL PLAY AT THE GARRICK FROM 12 MAY TO 13 AUGUST 2016 WITH THE PRODUCTION BROADCAST LIVE TO CINEMAS ON 7 JULY

The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company has announced the full cast for Romeo and Juliet, the fifth production in the inaugural Plays at the Garrick season. Joining previously announced Lily James (Juliet), Richard Madden (Romeo) and Derek Jacobi (Mercutio) will be Meera Syal as the Nurse. Romeo and Juliet will play at the Garrick Theatre from 12 May until 13 August with press night on 25 May. The production will be broadcast live to cinemas on 7 July.

Meera Syal said: «I’m so looking forward to joining such an exciting and prestigious company, and to be performing Shakespeare with them in this, his 400th anniversary year.»

Reuniting the stars of his celebrated film Cinderella, Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford will direct Shakespeareʼs heartbreaking tale of forbidden love. The full cast includes Marisa Berenson (Lady Capulet), Jack Colgrave Hirst (Benvolio), Tom Hanson (Paris), Matthew Hawksley (Anthony), Derek Jacobi (Mercutio), Lily James (Juliet), Taylor James (Prince), Ansu Kabia (Tybalt), Richard Madden (Romeo), Racheal Ofori (Potpan), Nikki Patel (Balthasar), Chris Porter (Lord Montague), Zoë Rainey (Lady Montague), Michael Rouse (Lord Capulet), Meera Syal (The Nurse), Sam Valentine (Friar Laurence) and Kathryn Wilder (Peta/Apothecary).

The cinema broadcast of Romeo and Juliet will be directed by Benjamin Caron, who has also recently directed the broadcast of The Winter’s Tale and collaborated with Kenneth Branagh on the forthcoming series of Wallander, due to be broadcast on the BBC in 2016. John Osborne’s The Entertainer, which will be the final production in the Plays at the Garrick season (20 August – 12 November), will also be broadcast to cinemas in 2016.

The Winter’s Tale, Harlequinade / All On Her Own, Red Velvet, The Painkiller, Romeo and Juliet and The Entertainer make up the inaugural seven-play season of work for the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company. For more information please see branaghtheatre.com

The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, in partnership with Picturehouse Entertainment, will broadcast three productions of its year-long Plays at the Garrick season live to cinemas worldwide. Participating cinemas and screening dates can be found at branaghtheatrelive.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

BIOGRAPHIES

Marisa Berenson plays Lady Capulet. Marisa is known for her work across stage, screen and in fashion and was dubbed the “It Girl” by Yves Saint Laurent in the early 1970s. Her film credits include Death in Venice, Cabaret, S.O.B., Barry Lyndon, I Am Love, The Love Punch and White Hunter and Black Heart. For her performance in Cabaret, she was nominated for the Golden Globe, the BAFTA and the National Board of Review. Her television movie credits include Playing For Time, Hemingway, Lo Scialo and Mafiosa. Marisa’s theatre credits include Design for Living (Nöel Coward, New York), Holiday (Ahmanson Theatre) and The Time of Your Life (William Sorayan). She is a UNESCO Good Will Ambassador, and UNESCO Artist for Peace. She is also an ambassador for the Hôpital Robert-Debré in Paris.

Jack Colgrave Hirst plays Benvolio. Jack has previously appeared in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s The Winter’s Tale as Clown and Harlequinade as Tom Palmer. Jack graduated from RADA in 2014 and his credits whilst there included Punk Rock, Mad to Go, Mercury Fur, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure and Three Sisters. His TV credits include The Trials of Jimmy Rose and Lucky Man.

Tom Hanson plays Paris. His theatre credits include French Without Tears (Orange Tree Theatre), The Gathered Leaves (Park Theatre) and Posh (Nottingham Playhouse). Credits in training include She Stoops to Conquer, Betrayal, In the Summer House, Much Ado About Nothing, The Way of the World, Poetic Bodies, Measure for Measure, Oedipus – Seneca, The Cherry Orchard and Period of Adjustment.

Matthew Hawksley plays Anthony. Matthew made his West End debut in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s production of The Winter’s Tale as Aegeum. Having trained at Bird College, his theatre credits include Annie (UK Tour), A Damsel in Distress (Chichester Festival Theatre), White Christmas (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and West Side Story (UK Tour).

Derek Jacobi plays Mercutio. Derek Jacobi’s stage credits include Heartbreak House, King Lear, two productions of Twelfth Night (Olivier Award; Best Actor), The Tempest, Macbeth, Richard III and Richard II, Much Ado About Nothing (Olivier Award; Best Actor), Cyrano De Bergerac (London Critics Circle Theatre Award; Best Actor), Ivanov, Antony and Cleopatra and three productions of Hamlet (also directed). Derek has performed in many productions with both Chichester Festival Theatre and NT Old Vic Theatre including Three Sisters, As You Like It, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Othello, Love For Love, Black Comedy and Hadrian VII. Derek’s film credits include Cinderella, Grace of Monaco, The King’s Speech, A Bunch of Amateurs, The Golden Compass, Gosford Park, The Children’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Gladiator, Joan Of Arc: The Virgin Warrior, Hamlet, Aladdin, Henry V, Three Sister and Othello. Derek’s television credits include Last Tango in Halifax, Titanic, Joe Maddison’s War, Margot, The Old Curiosity Shop, Doctor Who: Series III, Miss Marple: Murder at the Vicarage, The Jury, Frasier, The Secret Garden, Cyrano De Bergerac, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hamlet; Prince of Denmark, King Richard The Second, Markheim and The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes.

Lily James plays Juliet. Lily James is an actress of stage and screen who came to international prominence in Downton Abbey as Lady Rose and who has recently won acclaim for her role in Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 production of Cinderella in which she played the title character. Having graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2010, Lily’s stage credits include Desdemona in Othello (Sheffield Crucible), The Seagull (Southwark Playhouse), Vernon God Little (Young Vic) and Martin Crimp’s Play House and Definitely the Bahamas (both Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond). Lily has recently been seen in the BBC and The Weinstein Company’s production of War and Peace which also stared Paul Dano and Jim Broadbent and the feature adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in which she stars alongside Sam Riley, Charles Dance, Matt Smith and Douglas Booth.

Richard Madden plays Romeo. Richard Madden is best known for his compelling role of Robb Stark in the globally acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones and for his role as Prince Kit in Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella. A graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Richard’s roles on stage include Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe), Noughts and Crosses (Royal Shakespeare Company) and John Tiffany’s Be Near Me (Donmar Warehouse). In addition to Game of Thrones, Richard has also been seen on screen in Abi Morgan’s television adaption of Sebastian Faulk’s Birdsong, the Discovery Channel’s original mini-series Klondike and BBC One’s adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in which he stared opposite Holliday Grainger. Richard’s upcoming projects include Focus Feature’s action-thriller Bastille Day alongside Idris Elba.

Taylor James plays Prince. Taylor has previously appeared in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s production of The Winter’s Tale as Capnio. Taylor James’ theatre credits include The Duchess of Malfi (Old Vic Theatre), Danton’s Death (National Theatre), The Little Dog Laughed (Garrick Theatre), Piaf (Donmar Warehouse), Guys & Dolls (Piccadilly Theatre) and Mamma Mia (The Novello Theatre). Film credits include Christmas Eve, Howard’s Happy Place, Blitz and Mamma Mia. Taylor’s television credits include Red Dwarf, Sirens, Material Girl and Hotel Babylon.

Ansu Kabia plays Tybalt. Ansu has previously appeared in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s production of The Winter’s Tale as Cleomenes and Harlequinade as Johnny. His previous theatre credits have included To Sir With Love (Northampton and Touring Consortium), The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Mouse and his Child (both RSC), She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange (Old Vic New Voices), A Few Man Fridays (Riverside Studios), Antony and Cleopatra, King Lear, The Grainstore, As You Like It (all RSC), The Great Theatre of the World (Arcola Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Harlow Playhouse), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Manchester Library Theatre), Othello (Upstairs at the Gatehouse), Blue/Orange (The Cockpit Theatre) and Much Ado About Nothing (Manchester Library Theatre). Ansu’s television credits include Casualty, The Bill, Wizards vs Aliens and City on Fire.

Racheal Ofori plays Potpan. Since graduating from Italia Conti Academy in 2013, she has worked in both theatre and television. Her theatre work include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Tooting Arts Club) and The Merchant of Venice (Globe Theatre). Racheal’s debut solo show Portrait, was performed to a sell-out audience at the Edinburgh Fringe 2015 and subsequently transferred to the Camden People’s Theatre, Bush Theatre and the Southbank Centre as part of a UK tour. The success of Portrait led to appearances on BBC2 and BBC Radio 4. Rachael’s other television work includes the BBC’s Wizards Vs. Aliens.

Nikki Patel plays Balthasar. Nikki made her stage debut last year in the lead role of Alia in Future Conditional (Old Vic Theatre). She is well-known for playing Amber Kalirai in Coronation Street for which she received an NTA nomination for Best Newcomer. Nikki’s other television appearances include Waterloo Road, The Bright Side and The Five.

Chris Porter plays Lord Montague. Chris trained at LAMDA and has since gone on to appear in theatre productions such as The Winter’s Tale, The Wind in the Willows, Henry V, Twelfth Night, Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (all Guildford Shakespeare), Round and Round the Garden (Mill At Sonning), Martine (Finborough Theatre), What the Dickens (Gonzo Moose & Drum Plymouth), Friend or Foe (Colchester Mercury), The Hypochondriac (Liverpool Playhouse and ETT), Victory (Arcola), Hard Times (Compass), Onysos the Wild (503 and Traverse), Tartuffe (Watermill), Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Globe Theatre, Warsaw), Angels Among The Trees (Nottingham Playhouse), The Legend of King Arthur and Bartleby (Red Shift), Saints Day and The Road to Ruin (Orange Tree Theatre),The Art of Success (Arcola), The Winter’s Tale, The Maid’s Tragedy (Shakespeare’s Globe) The Dwarfs, The Local Stigmatic and Lakeboat (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith & Assembly Rooms). In addition to his work on stage, Chris has also appeared on screen in David Mamet’s film The Winslow Boy and on television in Bad Girls, Footballer’s Wives, The Bill and The Genius of Mozart.

Zoë Rainey plays Lady Montague. Zoë has previously appeared in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s productions of The Winter’s Tale as Emilia and Harlequinade as Wardrobe Mistress. Zoë’s further theatre credits include Anything Goes (UK and Ireland Tour), The Return of the Soldier (Jermyn Street Theatre), The Famished Land (Greenwood Theatre), John Ferguson (Finborough Theatre), Oh What A Lovely War (Theatre Royal, Stratford East), Dancing at Lughnasa (Royal and Derngate and Oxford Playhouse), Finding Neverland (Leicester Curve), School For Scandal (Theatre Royal Bath), She Stoops To Conquer (Olivier Theatre, National Theatre), The Commitments (Workshop, Leicester Square Theatre), Wicked (Victoria Apollo Theatre), Sunshine on Leith (Dundee Rep and UK Tour), Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre), Gigi (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Parade (Donmar Warehouse), Guys and Dolls (UK Tour), Jean de Florette (Workshop, The Venue), The Woman in White (Palace Theatre), Little Women (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Jekyll and Hyde (UK Tour) and War Crime Tribunal (Pleasance and Underground Theatre). In addition to her work on stage, Zoë’s film credits include Beauty and the Beast, Mr Holmes and Cinderella.

Michael Rouse plays Lord Capulet. Michael has previously appeared in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s productions of The Winter’s Tale as Gaoler and Harlequinade as Rehearsal Pianist. Michael’s previous theatre credits include Three Men in a Boat (UK Tour), The Bodyguard (The Adelphi Theatre), Carousel (Barbican), West Side Story (Dubai), Matilda The Musical (RSC), Oklahoma (Chichester Festival Theatre), Lord of the Rings (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), The Boy Friend (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Once in a Lifetime, The Mandate and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (all National Theatre), Dona Rosita: The Spinster (Orange Tree Theatre), The Winter’s Tale (Lincoln’s Inn), Reasons For The Fall of Emperors (Kings Head), The Secret Garden (RSC), Sweeney Todd (Hereford Courtyard) and Saturday Night Fever (Cologne). Michael’s film and television credits include 24: Live Another Day, Alien Autopsy, Mary Queen of Scots, You Might Be Wrong and The Man Who knew Too Little.

Meera Syal plays the Nurse. Meera is known for her work across television, film and on stage. Meera’s stage credits include Behind The Beautiful Forevers (National Theatre), If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep (Royal Court Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Killing Of Sister George (Arts Theatre), Shirley Valentine (Menier Chocolate Factory/Trafalgar Studios), Rafta, Rafta (National Theatre), Bombay Dreams (Apollo Victoria), The Vagina Monologues (Old Vic, West End and Madison Square Gardens New York), The Great Celestial Cow (Royal Court Upstairs and tour), Minor Complications (Royal Court Upstairs), True Dare Kiss (Royal Court Upstairs), Byrthrite (Royal Court Upstairs), School For Scandal (Bristol Old Vic), My Girl (Theatre Royal, Stratford East), Blood Wedding (Half Moon and Tour), Peer Gynt (National Theatre) and The Oppressed Minorities Big Fun Show (Edinburgh Festival and Shaw Theatre). In addition to her work on stage, Meera’s film credits include A Nice Arrangement, Absolutely Anything, All In Good Time, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Desert Flower, Mad, Sad & Bad, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Scoop, Anita and Me, Beautiful Thing, International Reactions, Sammi and Rosie Get Laid and It’s Not Unusual. Meera’s television credits include The Boy In The Dress, Goodness Gracious Me, Broadchurch, Psychobitches, The Job Lot, The Brink, The Kumars, Crackanory, Silk, Family Tree, Hunted, The Jury, Little Crackers, Beautiful People, Jekyll, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, The Secretary Who Stole £4 Million, Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee, The Kumars, Goodness Gracious Me, Band Of Gold, Deadly Crack, Absolutely Fabulous, Sean’s Show, JO Brands THROUGH THE CAKEHOLE, My Sister Wife, Kinsey, A Little Princess, Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, The Real Mccoy, Flight, Crossing the Floor and Holding On.

Samuel Valentine plays Friar Laurence. Samuel’s previous theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet (The Globe), The Witch of Edmonton, High Society, The Sea, Much Ado About Nothing, Poetic Bodies, The Convent of Pleasure, Oedipus (all RADA) and Emma – Rehearsed Reading (Friends of Brunswick Square). Samuel’s appearances on television have included Poldark, The Hollow Crown and Black Mirror.

Kathryn Wilder plays Peta/Apothecary. Kathryn has previously appeared in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s productions of The Winter’s Tale as Mopsa and Harlequinade as Joyce Langland. In addition to this she has appeared on stage in A Telescope Trained on the Sky, Drawing (The Yard), As You Like It, Sweet Charity, The Changeling, The Women of Twilight, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Medea, The Boat Play, The Recruiting Officer, The Tempest, August: Osage County, Chicken Soup with Barley (all RADA).