Tom Hiddleston is to star in a Kenneth Branagh-directed production of Hamlet – but for only three weeks in a theatre with 160 seats.
The production will raise money for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) and promises to be one of the hottest theatrical tickets of recent years.
The ballot opens at noon on Tuesday 1 August and tickets will be difficult for people to get their hands on.
Hiddleston, a Rada graduate, said Hamlet presented “almost limitless possibilities for interpretation”.
He added: “Kenneth Branagh and I have long talked about working on the play together, and now felt like the right time, at the right place.
“The performing arts exist to bring people together, not to break or keep them apart. I hope the funds raised by the production will help Rada continue to provide a wider field of equal opportunity to train actors, stage managers and technical theatre artists, from every background, to a standard of excellence and professionalism. We need to keep the doors open for everyone.”
The production is a collaboration between Rada and Branagh’s theatre company, which recently had a year’s residency at the Garrick in the West End.
It will run in Rada’s 160-seat Jerwood Vanbrugh theatre in central London from 1-23 September. The ballot for tickets is open online until 6pm on 6 August – or by phone until 5pm on 5 August.
Ticket winners will be selected at random with successful entrants able to purchase a maximum of two. Twenty per cent of the tickets will be priced £15 and available only to under-25s. A further 20% will be £45 and the remainder £95.
In something of a first, there will be no guaranteed tickets for critics, with journalists welcome to take their chances in the ballot.
To prevent the risk of a black market, people will only be able to collect their tickets up to an hour before the show with documentation to prove who they are.
The money raised from the production will support the Rada Attenborough project, which aims to raise £20m for the regeneration of the academy’s premises on Chenies Street including, for the first time, the provision of on-site accommodation.
Branagh said the production would be a celebration of both Shakespeare and Rada.
“The play speaks as loudly as ever to our volatile world and we are proud to have Tom Hiddleston lead an exciting group of actors, as he plays the title role for the first time. This work has been in discussion and planning over a period of years. To find its expression at, with, and for Rada, is a privilege,” he said. [Source]