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Shakespeare returns to Cathedral Cloisters

One of Shakespeare’s greatest plays will be performed in Norwich Cathedral’s Cloister this summer as Hamlet takes to the stage for this year’s Shakespeare Festival.

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men (TLCM) will perform the Bard’s epic masterpiece on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 July 2024 at the annual open-air theatre event which is always a summer highlight at the Cathedral.

It is a special year for The Lord Chamberlain’s Men who are celebrating their 20th anniversary – and to mark the occasion they are promising a stunning production of the Shakespearean tragedy widely considered to be one of the greatest plays of all time.

Audiences will be transported back to the state of Denmark of centuries past for this ultimate tale of high stakes, revenge and betrayal where Prince Hamlet famously asks, ‘To be, or not to be, that is the question’.

It is a welcome return for The Lord Chamberlain’s Men who last year wowed audiences at Norwich Cathedral with sold-out performances of Romeo and Juliet.

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Dr Andrew Braddock, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming back The Lord Chamberlain’s Men to Norwich Cathedral’s Shakespeare Festival in their 20th anniversary year.

“We know how much our audiences enjoy watching their shows in the beautiful surroundings of the Cathedral’s Cloister and we cannot wait to see their latest production of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.”

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men are a modern-day incarnation of the Bard’s own travelling troupe of players, and they will be performing Hamlet just as it would have been played out in Shakespeare’s day – with an all-male cast, Elizabethan costumes and traditional music and dance.

The company have spent two decades entertaining audiences across the country and beyond, and at Norwich Cathedral they have previously performed Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth.

The Norwich Cathedral shows are always something of a homecoming for TLCM’s artistic director Peter Stickney as he grew up nearby in Saxlingham Nethergate, went to Long Stratton High and Hewett School, and first developed his love of theatre while acting in high school shows.

‘Having grown up in Norfolk, our performances in Norwich are always a highlight of the tour for me personally and I cannot wait to bring our Elsinore to the hallowed Cloister of this beautiful cathedral and this fine city,’ he said.

‘This legendary play felt like a fitting choice for our special year. This year The Lord Chamberlain’s Men celebrate their 20th birthday. In this day and age, for an independent, un-subsidised theatre company to reach 20 years is a serious achievement and one that I am immensely proud of. “However, resting on our laurels is not something that either I nor the company do! This production is, I hope, going to be yet another example of us raising the bar.

‘Stylishly distilled down to just over two hours this epic play will astonish, entertain, challenge and delight in equal measure. Perfect for those who have never seen it before and hopefully offering something new and exciting for those who know it well. See you in July!’

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men will perform Hamlet in Norwich Cathedral’s Cloister on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 July 2024 at 7pm.

Tickets cost £22 plus booking fee. To book, visit cathedral.org.uk/shakespeare

Seating is provided but unreserved. On both nights, doors will open at 6pm for people to enjoy the beautiful surrounds of the Cloister before the show.