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The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, a new theatre company led by actor-director Kenneth Branagh which is set to take over residence at the Garrick Theatre in London's West End from October 2015 to November 2016, has announced casting for its first two productions.
The Winter's Tale, which is the first production of the season, will be a new imagining of Shakespeare's late problem play running from 17 October 2015 to 16 January 2016.
Joining the previously announced Kenneth Branagh as Leontes and Dame Judi Dench as Paulina will be Tom Bateman (Florizel), Jessie Buckley (Perdita), Jack Colgrave Hirst (The Clown), Hadley Fraser (Polixenes), Michael Pennington (Antigonus), Miranda Raison (Hermione), John Shrapnel (Camillo), Kathryn Wilder (Mopsa), and Jimmy Yuil (Shepherd).
This tragicomedy is one of Shakespeare's most intricate works, blending the pastoral world of Bohemia with King Leontes' Sicilia – highlighting how jealously and obsession can be overcome by the power of forgiveness and redemption. The production will be co-directed by Rob Ashford.
The second production, Harlequinade by Terrence Rattigan will run in rep alongside 'The Winter's Tale' from 24 October to 13 January 2016.
The cast for the production will crossover with that of 'The Winter's Tale', and will include: Kenneth Branagh (Arthur Gosport), Tom Bateman (Jack Wakefield), Jessie Buckley (Muriel Palmer), Jack Colgrave Hirst (Tom Palmer), Hadley Fraser (First Halberdier), Miranda Raison (Edna Selby), John Shrapnel (George Chudleigh), Kathryn Wilder (Joyce Langland), and Jimmy Yuill (Mr Burton).
This backstage farce will once again be co-directed by Rob Ashford. Set backstage where a theatre company are preparing to present 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'The Winter's Tale', this face follows a husband and wife acting duo who are thrown into disarray as secrets from the past come to the foreground, proving that sometimes the best drama occurs behind the scenes.
Kenneth Branagh said of the announcement:
"This is a formidable group of actors - they combine fantastic experience in Shakespeare and comedy, with a youthful energy and brilliance that I'm excited to welcome to our season."
Tickets for all productions are now on sale.