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Harold Pinter Theatre, London

Andrew Scott interview – ‘I loved Shakespeare as a kid, but I didn’t know why’

Winner of Best Shakespearean Performance at this year’s Critics’ Circle Awards, Andrew Scott says he “loved Shakespeare as a kid”, but can’t put his finger on why.

The actor won the award for taking on the title role in Robert Icke’s Almeida Theatre production of Hamlet, which transferred to London’s West End last year.

Speaking about his relationship with the Bard, he said: “I did these little drama competitions in Dublin and I loved it. I think I loved it when there was Andrew Scottno pressure. I think his work is treated with too much reverence maybe. Any evidence we have of who the guy was, he’s not a reverent man. He’s full of life and the best things in life, so I think he would have been pleased about these diverse audiences coming to see his plays.”

During the original Almeida run, the production was extended for one week, with tickets being offered for free exclusively to under-25s. Scott described this week as “the best week of the whole run”.

“It wasn’t people who have seen 14 different versions”, he said. “There were people who maybe were a little more vocal, but also a little more shocked and non-vocal. To do that play in front of people who don’t know what’s going to happen is the best buzz you can get as an actor.”

Scott worked with director Icke, whose Mary Stuart has just transferred to the West End, on the production for a year and a half, a process Scott describes as ”slow-roasting”.

“We slow-roasted our ideas to try and think about what the play is, rather than what we think it is. The memories of sitting with him, with no pressure, are really wonderful.”

Photo courtesy Peter Jones, Hamlet production images courtesy Manuel Harlan

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