The Merchant of Venice - on tour
London theatre news: Thursday 27 February 2020
Shakespeare - Shows - Tours
Tracy Ann Oberman is to star as Shylock in a new production of The Merchant of Venice set to tour from September with a stop-off at Rose Theatre Kingston.
Image courtesy Rose Theatre Kingston
A major co-production between five leading regional theatres, The Merchant of Venice will star Tracy Ann Oberman (EastEnders, Friday Night Dinner, Toast of London) in the role of Shylock and is set to tour from 4 September to 14 November.
This new production is led by Watford Palace Theatre in partnership with Leeds Playhouse, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Rose Theatre Kingston.
Tour dates are ...
4 - 19 Sept - Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
22 Sept - 3 Oct - Liverpool Playhouse
6 - 17 Oct - Watford Palace Theatre
20 - 31 Oct - Leeds Playhouse
3 - 14 Nov - Rose Theatre Kingston
Directed by Brigid Larmour, Artistic Director of Watford Palace Theatre, the setting for the play will be the London of the 1930s.
Ms Oberman was inspired to reframe the play's locational setting based on her own great grandmother's experience as a single mother in the East End of London.
Drawing on her family history of her grandmother and uncles who were on the front line at The Battle of Cable Street as children, Ms Oberman reimagines Shylock as an East End matriarch, a refugee from pogroms in Russia.
This timely retelling sees Shylock as a widow, and a survivor, running a small business from a dark and cramped terraced house in Cable Street, trying to give her daughter Jessica a better quality of life.
Tracy Ann Oberman said ...
"I've always wanted to reclaim The Merchant in some way and wanted to see how it would change with a single mother, female Shylock.
My own great grandma and great aunts were single mothers, widows, left in the East End to run the businesses and the homes which they did with an iron fist.
When I spoke about it to Brigid, she instantly got it, and said it gave a brilliant way into the problematic aspects of characters like Antonio and Portia - she saw them as aristocratic young Mosleyites, supporters of the British Union of Fascists led by Oswald Mosley.
That led us to an East End Cable Street, with pawn shops and money lending under the counter of shmatter stalls and seamstress jobs, in the weeks leading up to Mosley's Fascist march against 'The Jew' in 1936."
Brigid Larmour said ...
"The great Polish critic Jan Kott called Shakespeare 'our contemporary.'
This production brings together Tracy's powerful stage presence as an actor with her courageous activism, in a story with acute contemporary resonance.
Our national sense of pride in the 'Britain stood alone' view of 1940 can sometimes makes us forget how much support there was for fascism here in the 30s.
It is dangerous to forget."
Listing details for the performances at Rose Theatre Kingston are given below - see the links section for other theatre websites where the production will play.
Show listing information
It is London in 1936.
Fascism is sweeping across Europe, and Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists is threatening to march through the Jewish East End.
Shylock (Tracy-Ann Oberman - Eastenders, Doctor Who, Friday Night Dinner) is a survivor of anti-Semitic pogroms in Russia.
A widow, she runs a small business from her dark and cramped terraced house in Cable Street, hoping to give daughter Jessica a better future.
When aristocratic Antonio desperately needs a loan, he makes a dangerous bargain with this woman he has spat on in the street.
Will Shylock, bitter from a life plagued by racism and abuse, take her revenge?
A vivid evocation of our history, and a warning for our times.
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Brigid Larmour
Production: Rose Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Watford Palace Theatre
From: Tuesday 3 November 2020
Closes: Saturday 14 November 2020
Standard: £15 to £40
Concessions: £8 to £30
Links for this news item
ActDrop full listing for The Merchant of Venice
About London theatre news from ActDrop
We cover all kinds of news stories about theatre in the London area including items about West End, Fringe, Off West End and other venues, as well as new shows coming to the capital, theatre events like scratch nights, theatre festivals and other interesting theatre news that can't be so easily classified!
We'd love to hear from you if you have a news story we can share with theatre-goers.
If you are a producer, PR agent or a representative of a theatre company, we have a special page just for you.
And thanks for visiting ActDrop - your support is very much appreciated!