Monday, 13 July 2015

Gugu Mbatha-Raw to Star in Nell Gwynn at Shakespeare’s Globe

By Mark Shenton
06 Jul 2015 
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who recently starred in the films "Belle" (winning the 2014 BIFA Award) and "Beyond the Lights" and has also starred in "Larry Crowne" opposite Tom Hanks, is to star in the title role of Jessica Swale's Nell Gwynn, beginning performances Sept. 19 prior to an official opening Sept. 24 for a run through Oct. 11 at Shakespeare's Globe, as the last show in the theatre's summer season.

Set in 1660, after the fall of the Puritans and the restoration of Charles II to the throne, the play is a celebration of life in the theatre that charts the rise of a charming but unlikely heroine, from her roots in Coal Yard Alley to her success as Britain's most celebrated actress and the king’s consort.

Swale's previous plays include Blue Stockings (seen at the Globe in 2013), and she also worked as a director at the Globe on Nell Leyshon's Bedlam in 2010, which was the first work by a female playwright ever performed at the theatre.

It will be directed by Christopher Luscombe, who has previously directed The Merry Wives of Windsor andThe Comedy of Errors at the Globe. He has also directed Love's Labour's Lost and Much Ado About Nothing for the RSC, and Spamalot and The Rocky Horror Show (U.K. tours and West End). He was nominated for an Olivier Award for his West End revival of When We Are Married.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw at the opening of Hamlet in 2009
© Dan Wooller

Gugu Mbatha-Raw to star in Nell Gwynn at the Globe

The Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on London's South Bank has announced that Gugu Mbatha-Raw will be taking the lead inNell Gwynn, which will run at the venue from 19 September to 17 October 2015, with an official opening on 24 September 2015.
Nell Gwynn is a new play written by Jessica Swale and will be directed by Christopher Luscombe, with set design by Hugh Durrant.
Synopsis: "It is 1660. The Puritans have run away with their drab grey tails between their legs. Charles II has exploded onto the scene with a love of all things loud, French and sexy. And at Drury Lane, a young Nell Gwynn is getting her satsumas out for the punters. Nell Gwynn charts the rise of an unlikely heroine, from her roots in Coal Yard Alley to her success as Britain’s most celebrated actress, and her hard-won place in the heart of the king. But at a time when women are second-class citizens, can her charm and spirit protect her from the dangers of the court? And at what cost?"
Gugu Mbatha-Raw's London stage credits include Ophelia opposite Jude Law in Michael Grandage’s 'Hamlet', at Wyndham's Theatre in 2009 and Wanda in 'Big White Fog' at the Almeida in 2007. She first came to prominence as Juliet in 'Romeo and Juliet' at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, in 2005.

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