Before we knew him from The Night Manager or as Loki in the Marvel Universe, Tom Hiddleston had humble beginnings on the London stage. As tickets for his Hamlet go on sale, we track Hiddleston’s theatre career.
He made his first foray into theatre in 1999, when he appeared at Edinburgh Festival Fringe with his student drama group. He starred in a production of Journey’s End, RC Sherriff’s First World War drama in which Hiddleston appeared as Captain Stanhope. A review in the Independent highlighted his “magnificently ferocious” performance, which “provided the emotional core of the play”. A promising start for a young actor’s career.
However, Hiddleston would not appear on stage for another six years. He was cast in the starring role in Yorgjin Oxo: The Man at Latchmere pub venue Theatre503. The bizarre piece was about a group of marshlanders and saw the audience sat on hessian sacks stuffed with hay. Again, Hiddleston shone, with The Stage hailing his "outstanding" performance.
He went on to perform in two productions at the Barbican with Cheek By Jowl. He toured Europe playing Alsemero in The Challenging, and the world when he played Posthumus Leonatus and Cloten in Cymbeline. The year was 2008, and buzz was just beginning to build around the exciting RADA graduate. In a feature interview, the Telegraph labelled him a "name to watch", and he won the Olivier Award for Most Promising Newcomer in Cymbeline, but was also nominated for playing Cassio on Othello at the Donmar Warehouse.
His next project (which was part of the Donmar’s season in the West End) saw him star alongside Kenneth Branagh, who will direct Hiddleston as Hamlet at RADA. He played Lvov alongside Branagh’s Ivanov in the Chekhov classic, garnering five-star reviews from the critics.
After runs in The Children’s Monologues at the Old Vic and The Kingdom of Earth at the Criterion, Hiddleston returned to the Donmar Warehouse to take on the title role in Coriolanus. Yet again, he impressed the critics and was nominated for an Olivier, this time for Best Actor.
His next role on stage will be Hamlet, in an exclusive run at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He will be reunited with Branagh who directs the piece for three weeks only. If you’re lucky enough to hold a ticket, it’s sure to be a performance to remember.