Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh to play Richard III at the Rose Theatre Kingston

The Rose Theatre in Kingston and the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres have announced a new production of Shakespeare’s Richard III directed by and starring Adjoa Andoh, who plays Lady Danbury in Netflix hit Bridgerton.

The show runs at Liverpool Playhouse from 6 April 2023, and plays the Rose Theatre from 26 April to 13 May 2023.

Adjoa Andoh previously played Richard II at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Adjoa Andoh said in a press statement: “When Christopher Haydon, Artistic Director of the Rose Theatre, asked me what I might be interested in directing for their 2023 spring season, Richard lll was top of my list. Richard is a character I have loved since childhood. Growing up in a tiny Cotswold village in the 1960s & 70s, I immediately felt a connection to someone singled out because of their appearance. On first reading Shakespeare’s play as a child, I was outraged at the way Richard was portrayed, but now appreciate one of the questions Shakespeare posits – what happens to a person and their sense of self, if throughout their life bad intentions are ascribed to them based solely on their appearance? I call this body pathologising. It happens to many people in many circumstances across the world to this day, and in this production, I want to explore the story, and that question through the lens of race. I’m delighted that the show is a co-production with Liverpool Playhouse, as my mother is a Liverpudlian, and finally I get to perform in her beloved city; our childhoods united on stage. I can’t wait to whip off the corsets and share this production with audiences in Liverpool and London next spring.”

Adjoa Andoh is one of Britain’s leading actors, playing Lady Danbury in Bridgerton, Dr Isaacs in the psychological thriller Fractured, DI Nina Rosen in BBC1’s Silent Witness, Nenneke in The Witcher, and many other screen roles.

On stage Adjoa has been celebrated for lead roles at the National Theatre, including Condoleezza Rice in Stuff Happens, and Serafina Pekkala in His Dark Materials, the RSC, including playing Portia in Julius Caesar, and Shakespeare’s Globe, conceiving, co-directing, and playing Richard II in the UK’s first all women-of-colour production.

Other new productions announced for the Rose Theatre include Lord of the Flies from 18 to 22 April 2023, adapted by Nigel Williams from the novel from William Golding, directed by Amy Leach, and co-produced with Leeds Playhouse and Belgrade Coventry; and Peter Pan from 1 December 2023 to 7 January 2024, adapted by Evan Placey based on J.M. Barrie’s book, directed by Lucy Morrell.

Christopher Haydon, Artistic Director of Rose Theatre said: “Starting with Richard III, the Rose continues to offer audiences fiercely fresh perspectives on familiar stories. I last collaborated with Adjoa Andoh in 2017 when I ran the Gate Theatre. I’m thrilled that she’s now bringing her ferocious intellect and incandescent stage presence to the Rose, in the first Shakespeare we’ve presented in my tenure here as Artistic Director. Adjoa will both direct and star in a no doubt powerful and provocative production, that will both entertain and challenge. I’m delighted that we are partnering with Leeds Playhouse and the Belgrade Theatre to present Amy Leach’s startling new production of this epic and visceral story. Amy is a champion of creating accessible theatre, and this show will have creatively integrated audio description available at every performance. Our youth theatre will remain integral to our Christmas production which in 2023 will be a new version of Peter Pan. I’ve wanted to work with Evan Placey for many years – he is a terrifically talented writer with a particularly strong understanding of family audiences. I’ve no doubt that he and director Lucy Morrell, will be taking us on a very special trip to Neverland.”

Suba Das, Creative Director of the Liverpool Playhouse and Everyman said: “Both the Playhouse and the Everyman have had a long history of incredible Shakespeare performances by Liverpool acting royalty from Pete Postlethwaite to David Morrissey to Kim Cattrall treading our boards in some of the bard’s most iconic roles. It’s an honour in my first year here to continue this proud tradition and with the team at Rose Theatre to entice Adjoa off the Bridgerton set and back to Liverpool (where her mum grew up) to take on Richard III, one of the greatest plays and characters ever written. As both lead actor and director, Adjoa is assembling a stunning cast and creative team around her for a production that will examine race and trauma. It’s a timely reimagining and I’m so very proud our audiences at the Playhouse will be the first in the world to experience what will be one of the year’s theatrical highlights.”

📷 Main photo: Adjoa Andoh. Photo by Suki Dhanda

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