Transgender actor to star as Hamlet

London theatre news: Wednesday 22 May 2019

London West End - Seasons - Shows

Non-binary, transgender actor, Jenet Le Lacheur, will play the title role in Iris Theatre's contemporary production of Hamlet, exploring identity, gender and meaning.
Jenet Le Lacheur as Hamlet at Iris Theatre

Jenet Le Lacheur - courtesy Iris Theatre

Iris Theatre's 2019 anniversary season gets underway with Hamlet from 19 June to 27 July, and closes with the world premiere of a new family friendly Hunchback of Notre Dame (1 August to 1 September).

If you're unfamiliar with Iris Theatre's productions, they take place during the summer months at St Paul's Church in Covent Garden - right in the heart of London's famous theatreland.

St. PaulŐs Church in Covent Garden seen from the garden.

Photo by Peter Brown 2015

Iris Theatre's productions are different to other West End shows for these are promenade performances which take place in the lovely gardens and inside the church itself.

And that means you follow the performance as it moves between locations - with much of the action taking place outdoors.

If you want a flavour of how these shows work, take a look at our 4 star review of last year's The Tempest from Iris Theatre.


Casting has now been announced for Shakespeare's well-known play, with non-binary transgender actor, Jenet Le Lacheur, cast in the title role in a contemporary production that will be an exploration of identity, gender and meaning.

The production will utlilise multiple layers of overlapping storytelling and extensive video and filmed footage of state propaganda interrupted by a shadowy resistance, broadcasting grainy CCTV footage showing a hidden truth.

The production also features a radical soundtrack, and a band of players, inspired by voguing club kids, bringing energy and joy to the work.

Director Daniel Winder said ...

"In this, the 10th year of our outdoor summer season, I am thrilled to be bringing to Covent Garden a radical take on Shakespeare's greatest play.

Never has this timeless story been more relevant, and this thrilling production will draw on all those contemporary parallels.

We are going to find as much joy as we can in this tragic tale of wild abandon and youthful rebellion."

About the cast

Jenet Le Lacheur (Hamlet) was Juliet in Redefining Juliet (Barbican) and 1st cover Scorpious Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Chilld (West End).

Clare Bloomer (Gertrude) was Shylock in a gender re-working of The Merchant of Venice at the 2000-seat Silvano Toti Globe Theatre in Rome and Duke of York's Theatre, West End.

Vinta Morgan (Claudius) has worked extensively at the RSC and was Duke of Norfolk in Jamie Lloyd's Richard II (Trafalgar  Studios).

Paula James (Polonius) was Emilia in the RSC's recent production of The Comedy of Errors and Mum in Dead Reckoning (Young Vic).

Jenny Horsthuis (Ophelia) returns to Iris Theatre after previously playing Lady Macduff in Macbeth and D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers.

Joe Parker (Laertes) recent roles include Mercrutio in Romeo and Juliet, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and Hotspur in Henry IV.

Harold Addo (Horatio) made his professional debut as Jim Hawkins in Iris Theatre's Offie Award-winning production of Treasure Island.

He is currently in Billy Budd at the Royal Opera House.

Other roles in Hamlet will be taken by members of the company.

About iris Theatre

Award-winning company Iris Theatre launched its first summer season in 2009 with an acclaimed outdoor promenade production of Romeo & Juliet.

In the decade since they have produced 16 more shows in the grounds of St Paul's Church ranging from Alice in Wonderland to Shakespeare's Macbeth.

The company has a mission to support the development of the next generation of

professional theatre practitioners, and produces a fresh, vibrant repertoire of year-round work resulting in affordable and accessible theatre for all.

The quest for diversity of perspective, background and story are at the heart of all that the company do.

Iris have been nominated for 11 Off West End awards and won the award for Best Production for Young People for Treasure Island.

The Actors Church

St Paul's Church, more commonly known as The Actors Church, is the world-famous church that sits adjacent to Covent Garden Piazza.

St Paul's was designed by Inigo Jones in 1633 and is a working church, well-known for its relationship with the theatre community.

As well as being home to Iris Theatre and their annual open-air theatre season, the church offers a broad programme of concerts and performances.

Show listing information


Hamlet is back from university; back home to a cold little island hanging on to the edge of Europe.

Everything has changed; his country is in crisis; his father is dead; and his uncle, a right-wing strongman, has seized power.

Amidst all this chaos his mother has committed the ultimate betrayal.

As paranoia and rumor swirl around the fractured state, the truth is becoming ever more distant and unknowable.

"To be or not to be, that is the question …"

But can Hamlet find any answers before his own doubts and fears eat him alive?

This modern promenade production will place Shakespeare's greatest tragedy within a contemporary context that will illuminate both the play and our own relationship with its timeless themes.


Jenet Le Lacheur - Hamlet

Clare Bloomer - Gertrude

Vinta Morgan - Claudius

Paula James - Polonius

Jenny Horsthuis - Ophelia

Joe Parker - Laertes

Harold Addo - Horatio


Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Daniel Winder
Set designer: Mike Leopold
Costume designer: Madeline Berry
Lighting: Benjamin Polya
Sound: Filipe Gomes
Fight director: Nathaniel Marten (fight choreographer)
Movement: Amy Warren
Video designer: Helga Fannon
Production: Iris Theatre


Iris Theatre
St Paul's Church
Bedford St
Covent Garden


From: Wednesday 19 June 2019

Closed: Saturday 27 July 2019


Previews: (19th - 24th June): £15

Standard: £20


Early Bird: £15

Early Bird Children (under 16): £14

Book before Monday 11th March for Early Bird ticket prices across all shows.

Children (under 16): £15


Show website
ActDrop full listing for Hamlet

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