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Radical version of Shakespeare's Macbeth set to attract audiences to Northern Stage

Filter Theatre follow its success with Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream with a UK tour of The Scottish Play

“Whence is that knocking? How is it with me, when every noise appalls me?” Three weird sisters demarcate an area on stage. They operate a strange collection of electronic musical apparatus. Macbeth is invited in to play.

And so the stage is set for Filter Theatre’s radical version of Macbeth, which promises to fuse Shakespeare’s corrosive, psychological thriller of ambition, power, witchcraft and sanity with their trademark innovative sound and music to take audiences on a strange, funny and scintillating journey to the epicentre of the “heat-oppressed brain”.

“The only thing we ever know for sure with every Filter project is that we approach it with a text, and a strong musical angle - compositionally and in terms of sound design. How our shows are received by audiences isn’t something that we can control so we simply try to create the kind of work that we would like to watch ourselves,” says Oliver Dimsdale, co-artistic director of Filter, which has already enjoyed international success with productions of Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“We’ve tackled some of his best comedies, so the next step was to look at one of his tragedies. Macbeth seemed like the best choice for Filter,” he continues.

“Macbeth is an incredibly powerful play and not one that we can necessarily add anything to. The only thing we’ve promised ourselves while rehearsing the production is to hold onto the idea of making a Macbeth that is playful and funny, as well as engaging with the dark, psychological thriller that Shakespeare has left us with.

“Assisted by some new and innovative sound technology, courtesy of Filter artistic associate, composer Tom Haines, we’re looking into ways of portraying just how profoundly psychologically disturbing Shakespeare’s text can be.

“It’s a delicate balancing act between honouring a playwright’s original intentions and making something that resonates deeply with you as a contemporary theatre-maker.”

* Filter’s Macbeth plays Northern Stage, Newcastle from March 10-14. Call 0191 230 5151 or visit www.northernstage.co.uk to book. Recommended for ages 14+ www.filtertheatre.com

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