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Tunbridge Wells Shakespeare Project stages Macbeth at Salomons with EastEnder Aaron Sidwell and Louise Jameson

A theatre project set up with the aim of bringing top quality, professional Shakespeare to the people is launching with one of the playwright's best known works. The Shakespeare Project will stage Macbeth in Tunbridge Wells after a successful fundraising campaign.

Scroll down to hear artistic director Peter Basham.

Peter Basham as Macbeth Picture: Rosie Marks Photography
Peter Basham as Macbeth Picture: Rosie Marks Photography

Some top names will be stepping on stage at the original Victorian Theatre at Salomons Estate, Tunbridge Wells from Tuesday, November 5 until Sunday, November 24.

Macbeth is the tale of a devastating thirst for power and its consequences, of unbridled ambition and serial murder; supernatural forces and the psychological fallout of a world in turmoil.

The contemporary production explores the dark and uncanny corners of Shakespeare’s tragedy, and features a stellar line-up. They include Tunbridge Wells-based Louise Jameson, along with EastEnders actor Aaron Sidwell. Peter Basham, Aamira Challenger, Tom Chapman, Vangelis Christodoulou, Ffion Jolly, Adam Sopp, Sarah Wadell and Gerald Bishop make up the full cast.

Louise Jameson in Macbeth
Louise Jameson in Macbeth

Artistic director Peter Basham set up the project earlier this year. He said: “I’m delighted to have assembled such a fantastic team both on and off the stage. "Macbeth is a part that every actor dreams of playing and I am tremendously excited to start rehearsals with such a talented cast. I’d like to thank Arts Council England and the Jerwood Foundation for their generous support, our Kickstarter backers, corporate sponsors and also the team at Salomons Estate who have been so supportive of the project.”

"Arguably Shakespeare’s finest play, about to be performed in one of Kent’s most glorious locations, with a new and innovative troupe. What’s not to love about this fresh look at a classical masterpiece? I’m very excited to be included.”

Ffion Jolly as Lady Macbeth Picture: Rosie Marks Photography
Ffion Jolly as Lady Macbeth Picture: Rosie Marks Photography

Doctor Who and EastEnders star Louise Jameson said: “I am over the moon to have the opportunity to join this phenomenal new theatre company opening in Tunbridge Wells. "Having grown up in Maidstone but educated in Goudhurst, Tunbridge Wells ended up becoming my home in my teenage years. I was lucky enough to attend Yew Tree Theatre school and perform at the Assembly Hall Theatre on several occasions, so Tunbridge Wells is truly in my blood."

Aaron Sidwell, who played Steven Beale in EastEnders, will be Macduff in the production, and will also star in the panto at The Woodville in Gravesend this Christmas. He added: "Macbeth is a play I have always wanted to be a part of since studying it for GCSE. It’s exploration of the lengths a man and woman will go to, to achieve what they need or want are extraordinary.

Peter Basham as Macbeth (20040293)
Peter Basham as Macbeth (20040293)

"You need look no further for where the inspiration for Breaking Bad came from! To have this opportunity to perform it professionally is something I’m over the moon about.

"I was also recently part of an 8 person cast just like this doing Henry V and it made it so much more epic and dramatic for having the fewer numbers - people are in for one hell of a treat."

Director Joseph Pitcher, of the RSC's Matilda, said:“What excites me about bringing Macbeth to life at Salomons is how aligned the venue and the story feel. The theatre is a majestic Victorian hall with all the grandeur you would expect from that period. But the moment you set foot in the space you know somehow that intrigue and drama are in its bones. Macbeth is a gripping psychological thriller filled with conspiracy, paranoia, betrayal and manipulation and, although the plot will be familiar to many, we are aiming to surprise the audience at every turn.”

* The Shakespeare Project stages Macbeth at Salomons Estate, Tunbridge Wells from Tuesday, November 5 toSunday, November 24. Details and tickets at theshakespeareproject.co.uk

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