Vivienne McKee to play Gertrude at Hamlet’s castle

This year’s outdoor Shakespeare production at Kronborg features Vivienne McKee in a leading role

Vivienne McKee, the well-known English actress and long-time Danish resident, is to take the role of Hamlet’s mother in this summer’s production at Kronborg Castle.

The production is a collaboration between HamletScenen and London Toast Theatre, and the play will include newly-composed music by Mike Sheridan.

“We haven’t had the opportunity to perform Shakespeare to a large audience since the 1990s,” enthused McKee’s husband Søren Hall, the owner of London Toast Theatre.

“As an English theatre in Denmark, Shakespeare is a natural part of our repertoire. This co-production gives us an unparalleled opportunity to give the audience a unique experience.”

A national treasure
McKee has managed to pull off the difficult trick of becoming a national treasure in Denmark through her annual Crazy Christmas Cabaret show, which has been delighting Christmas audiences since the early 1980s.

READ MORE: The story of the Crazy Christmas Cabaret to be told in a documentary

However, she does have previous experience of playing Shakespeare, having taken various parts in his plays over the years. Only last year she wrote and directed ‘Shakespeare’s Ghost’ to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.

McKee is extremely enthusiastic about the role.

“Gertrude is one of the most important women in the history of drama. She’s queen of Denmark, King Hamlet’s widow, newly married to the king’s brother Claudius, and mother to Prince Hamlet,” she said.

“All in all, she’s both the cause and impetus for Hamlet’s actions, and as such, the dramatic fulcrum in the play. To play Gertrude with Kronborg Castle as a backdrop is an unmissable chance.”

Lars Romann Engel, the artistic head of HamletScenen, is looking forward to working with McKee.

“She’s an exciting and charismatic performer who has wide-ranging experience through her work in both England and Denmark. Having Vivienne as Gertrude is rather a scoop, and she will undoubtedly bring something unique and daring to the character.”

The play, which is performed in the open air, premieres on August 1 at Kronborg Castle and will run until August 19.

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