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Maxine Peake as HAMLET this March

25 February 2015


March 2015 sees the cinema release of Maxine Peake as HAMLET, the film of Sarah Frankcom’s acclaimed production of HAMLET at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

The compelling stage-to-screen film, directed by Margaret Williams (Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach, One Man Walking), sees Maxine Peake (The Theory of Everything, The Village, Silk) in the title role of Shakespeare’s iconic play, in which Hamlet, consumed by despair, struggles to exact revenge for his father’s murder, with devastating consequences.

The film is distributed by Picturehouse Entertainment and will open in nearly 300 cinemas and counting in the UK on Monday 23rd March 2015.



The strong, poignant production depicts intense family drama and the power of grief. Maxine Peake’s fierce and textured Hamlet imbues the role with anger, indignation and purpose. Filmed with eight cameras by an expert team, the film captures the intensity of the stage production with all the polish and care of a feature film.

Directed by award-winning Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre Sarah Frankcom (Masque of Anarchy, Punk Rock, A View from the Bridge), the Royal Exchange Theatre’s stage production of HAMLET played to sell-out houses throughout its run. This stripped-back, fast-paced version, with moments of humour, is a captivating production that rebalances the gender casting. HAMLET received four- and five-star reviews across the board.

Sarah Frankcom comments: “As a director I think you can only begin to think about doing HAMLET if you are absolutely passionate about a particular actor. Right from the beginning of this production it felt like a thrilling opportunity to explore, excavate and interrogate something with Maxine Peake, the most fearless and most courageous actor that I’ve ever worked with.”

Maxine Peake was BAFTA-nominated for her performances in both Hancock and Joan and The Village, and is hugely respected for her performances in Red Riding and as Myra Hindley in See No Evil.  She has a long relationship with the Royal Exchange Theatre and is now an Associate Artist. Earlier this year, her play Beryl was performed at West Yorkshire Playhouse.

The strong supporting cast includes John Shrapnel as Claudius/Ghost (Phedre, with Helen Mirren at the National Theatre; Macbeth, with Kenneth Branagh, 2016), Barbara Marten as Gertrude (The Mill, Vera), Gillian Bevan as Polonia (London Road, Teachers), Katie West as Ophelia (Without You and the Royal Exchange production Punk Rock), and Thomas Arnold as Horatio (Call the Midwife, Wolf Hall and Endeavour).



Maxine Peake as HAMLET is directed by award-winning filmmaker Margaret Williams, whose version of Written on Skin (Royal Opera House/BBC) won five awards including the Gramophone Contemporary Award and the Diapason d’Or.  Margaret said: “I was delighted to work with my incredible team on this astonishing project.  Being able to shoot creatively ‘in the round’ with tremendous support from the Royal Exchange Theatre made for a stimulating experience which was thoroughly enjoyable.”

The film is produced by Anne Beresford (MJW Productions) and Debbie Gray (Genesius Pictures), who both produced Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach.  Debbie Gray had major success in 2014 with the BAFTA-nominated film Northern Soul, which reached number ten at the UK box office and number one in the DVD chart. Anne Beresford is known for her work in music and arts as well as on feature films including Mouth to Mouth starring Ellen Page.

For the latest news and information follow the official social channels on Facebook and for Twitter use the hashtag: #MaxinePeakeHamlet



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About Maxine Peake as HAMLET
Maxine Peake as HAMLET is supported by the Royal Exchange Theatre, Genesius Pictures, Quidem Productions and the British Council.  The support of the British Council will enable the film to be seen more widely by cinema audiences throughout the world. The Royal Exchange gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the following in the making of the film: Oglesby Charitable Trust, Old Trafford Consulting Ltd, Martyn and Valerie Torevell, and all those who supported the theatre’s recent Catalyst project, including public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

About Picturehouse Entertainment
Picturehouse Entertainment is the distribution arm of Picturehouse Cinemas, the owner and operator of 20 Picturehouse Cinemas and programming agent for a further 42 venues across the UK.

Since its launch in 2010, Picturehouse Entertainment has distributed a diverse range of high profile alternative content to cinemas throughout the UK and internationally. This includes live satellite broadcasts of seasons from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Bolshoi Ballet and the National Theatre, and one-off events such as Stephen Fry’s talks, The Fry Chronicles and More Fool Me, and Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach Britten’s great opera filmed in the town that inspired it, Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary episode screened in cinemas simultaneously with the BBC broadcast, and the last night of Monty Python Live (mostly), beamed live from the O2 to more than 570 cinemas in the UK and 2,000 worldwide.

Picturehouse Entertainment’s feature film releases include BAFTA winner The Imposter, Shane Meadows’ The Stone Roses: Made of Stone, Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England, The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology featuring Slavoj