British star Martin Freeman to play Shakespeare’s Richard III.

MARTIN FREEMAN in Richard IIIJamie Lloyd’s new Trafalgar Transformed season at the Trafalgar Studios kicks off this summer with Martin Freeman taking on Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Running from 1 July to 27 September 2014, the play will see LLoyd return to the Trafalgar Studios following his acclaimed first season of plays that included James McAvoy in Macbeth, John Simm and Simon Russell Beale in The Hothouse and Hayley Atwell and Mathew Horne in The Pride.

The news comes following last week’s story that Freeman’s Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch will play Hamlet next year at the Barbican Theatre.

Martin Freeman has risen to global star status through his performance as Tim in BBC comedy The Office, the lead role of Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit movie trilogy and as Dr Watson in the internationally acclaimed TV drama Sherlock.

The director of Richard III, Jamie Lloyd, said “I am thrilled to be returning to our transformed space at Trafalgar Studios and am delighted to kick off our second season with Shakespeare’s astonishing power play, Richard III. Last year, through our £15 Mondays scheme, a staggering 51% of the audience was comprised of first-time theatregoers, targeted with the help of organisations like the inspiring Mousetrap Theatre Projects (of which I am now a patron). I am confident that, with the brilliant and hugely popular Martin Freeman playing the title role in a provocative production, we will continue to attract a generational mix of theatregoers to our corner of the West End. I have wanted to work with Martin for many years and am sure he will bring something unexpected and unique to this iconic role”.

Jamie Lloyd currently has two successful productions running in London – The Commitments at the Palace Theatre and Urinetown at the St James Theatre.

STORY UPDATE: Benedict Cumberbatch is to play Richard III on TV. Ahead of playing Hamlet next year at the Barbican Theatre, Cumberbatch will tackle the role of Richard III in the BBC’s second series of Shakespeare’s History plays. Produced by Sam Mendes’ production company Neal Street Productions, who scored a success with The Hollow Crown TV films last year, the movie will be directed by former Royal Court artistic director Dominic Cooke.

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