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Cross-cultural production of Macbeth to premiere in Hexham

A new touring production of Shakespeare's Macbeth will feature Bollywood queens as the three witches

Macbeth as envisaged by Tara Arts
Macbeth as envisaged by Tara Arts

A new and challenging version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth will feature Indian music and movement.

A co-production between Hexham-based Queen’s Hall Arts, Black Theatre Live and Tara Arts, it will premiere at the Queen’s Hall from February 25-27 before embarking on a national tour.

Tara Arts, founded in 1977 by Jatinder Verma, is established as one of the country’s foremost creators of cross-cultural theatre.

Black Theatre Live is a pioneering consortium of eight regional theatres committed to increasing the amount of black and ethnic minority theatre on the touring circuit. Supported by Arts Council England, this is its first show.

Audience members will see the play’s famous witches depicted as three hijras. Little known in the West, these are a centuries-old ‘third gender’ Indian community which includes transsexuals, eunuchs and transvestites.

Jatinder Verma, who will direct Macbeth, explained: “Spirits in Indian traditions combine vivacity with viciousness.

“By casting the witches in Macbeth as provocative Bollywood queens, I aim to explore the dangerously vain ambition driving Macbeth.”

Advance billing for the show says the production will see the tragedy “re-imagined in a contemporary context as a brew of treachery and ambition sets an Asian family on a road to destruction”.

Already cast are Robert Mountford, who has worked previously with Tara Arts and the RSC, and Shaheen Khan who has appeared at the National Theatre and in the film Bend it Like Beckham.

Tickets for the play, deemed suitable for ages 12 plus, are on sale at the box office on 01434 652477 or online at www.queenshall.co.uk

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