By William Shakespeare

National Theatre

This was a National Theatre production that opened at the Lyttleton Theatre on the 15th July 2000 and subsequently played at Elsinore in Denmark, Stadsteatern in Stockholm and the National Theatre in Belgrade.

It also toured in the UK and Ireland, visiting Brighton, Glasgow, Dublin, Plymouth and Bath before playing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York and the Wilbur Theatre in Boston.

On the American leg of the tour, the roles played by the late Denis Quilley were played by the late Peter Blythe.

Simon Russell Beale's performance as Hamlet was recently described by the New York Times as 'as close to a definitive Hamletas I'm ever likely to see'.


HamletHamlet Boston

Creative Team

Director – John Caird
Designer – Tim Hatley
Lighting – Paul Pyant
Music – John Cameron
Music Director – Jonathan Cooper
Fight Director – Terry King
Sound – Christopher Shutt
Company Voice & Text – Patsy Rodenburg
Staff Director – Stephen Wrentmore


Hamlet, Prince of Denmark Simon Russell Beale
Hamlet, his father Sylvester Morand
Claudius, his uncle Peter McEnery
Gertrude, his mother Sara Kestelman

Horatio – Simon Day

Polonius, Lord Chamberlain Denis Quilley
Laertes, his son Guy Lankester
Ophelia, his sister – Cathryn Bradshaw
Reynaldo, his servant – Edward Gower

Rosencrantz – Christopher Staines
Guildenstern – Paul Bazely

Player King – Sylvester Morand
Player Queen – Janet Spencer-Turner
Players – Chloe Angharad, Michael Wildman

Francisco, a soldier – Edward Gower
Barnardo, an officer - Ken Oxtoby 
Marcellus, an officer – Martin Chamberlain

Osric, a courtier – Michael Wildman
Gentlewomen – Chloe Angharad, Janet Spencer-Turner

The Grave-digger – Denis Quilley
The Priest – Ken Oxtoby 


Simon Russell Beale


MD/Keyboard/Recorder – Jonathan Cooper
Viola/Recorder – Rebecca Brown
Oboe/Shawm/Recorder – Belinda Sykes/Ann Allen

Hamlet Observed

Jonathan Croall wrote a book about this production:

"Simon Russell Beale has been hailed as one of the great Hamlets of our time. Hamlet Observed is the backstage story of how he created the part for John Caird's landmark production for the National Theatre.

Jonathan Croall watched the production from the first rehearsal onwards, and travelled with the company on tour to Elsinore and beyond. During this time he talked freely with the actors and the production team about their work as it developed. The result is a revealing behind-the-scenes picture of the making of a major production at the National."

Catherine Ashmore