Clowning around with a Shakespeare classic!

Clowning around with a Shakespeare classic!

An award-winning Indian theatre company may shock purists with their hilarious version of William Shakespeare’s classic Hamlet that opens at Northern Stage (formerly Newcastle Playhouse) on Tuesday 8th March as part of a three venue national tour (Newcastle is the UK premiere).

‘Hamlet the Clown Prince’ is definitely ‘Shakespeare with a twist’ – as Company Theatre Mumbai brings an inventive adaptation of Hamlet to the stage… told by a bunch of CLOWNS.

The leftfield production is directed by Rajat Kapoor – one of India’s best loved actors, directors and producers. Kapoor came to international attention in Mira Nair’s ‘Monsoon Wedding’ – playing the role of Tej Puri.

The clowns try in earnest to piece together their own interpretation of the world famous story but the plot just keeps on getting lost in translation. The show swept the boards at India’s most prestigious theatre prize – the 2009 Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards – winning best play, best director and best actor.

"We started with the idea of doing Hamlet with clowns, as they have appeared in my earlier stage and film work. With clowns, obviously humour is an essential part but we were very aware not to lose the pathos and tragedy of Hamlet. I think humour helps you to underline pathos more strongly," said Rajat Kapoor.

Kapoor adds: "I thought clowns would be able to give a distance from the story itself. Our clowns are able to get into the narrative of the play then step out in the next moment; and be able to comment on the turn of events, or on the characters."

The work of Company Theatre Mumbai is best described as chaotic, funny and irreverent. Kapoor says the audiences’ response to ‘Hamlet the Clown Prince’ has been ‘terrific’ as the show has now been performed over 80 times in ten different countries including Indonesia, Singapore and the Netherlands.

Kapoor concludes: "We’ve learnt that audience in different countries are very different when it comes to expressing their feelings."

"We expect there to be some laughter and some tears."


Company Theatre Mumbai’s ‘Hamlet the Clown Prince’ helps to bring an international flavour to the spring season at Northern Stage (formerly Newcastle Playhouse). A season brimming full of drama (home grown and from afar), dance, comedy and intrigue.

"Northern Stage is always on the look out for exceptional international work to bring to Newcastle. In this Asian take on one of the Bard’s most revered works, we think we’ve found just that," said Susan Coffer, Administrative Director for Northern Stage.

The UK premiere of ‘Hamlet the Clown Prince’ opens in Stage 1 of Northern Stage on Tuesday 8th March and runs through until Saturday 12th. Tickets are priced at £19.50, £17.50, £15.50 & £6. Students and Under 21s are £9. (There’s a 2 for 1 First Night offer)

People can also use the ‘A Night Less Ordinary’ scheme to gain performance tickets

The show commences at 7.30pm

Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office number 0191 230 5151 or online at

There will also be a post-show discussion on Wednesday 9th March.

After visiting Northern Stage the show travels to the Warwick Arts Centre and Hackney Empire…. and then onto the US.


Region: All
Start Date: 08/03/2011
End Date: 12/03/2011
Start Time: 19:30
Venue: Northern Stage formerly Newcastle Playhouse
Venue Address: Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne
Press Tickets: Available
Sponsorship: Not Available
Press Tickets:
Name: Garry Smith
Phone: 07899910823