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From multi-Olivier Award winners and Broadchurch stars, to James Bond and Birdman actors, variety was the spice of March’s casting news.
First up is the man with not one but two of London theatre’s most coveted accolades, Mark Rylance. The acclaimed performer has recently been seen playing Henry VIII’s chief minister Thomas Cromwell in the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall, but last month we learnt that he’ll be heading back to the royal court (not the Royal Court!) to play the titular monarch in the West End transfer of Shakespeare Globe’s Farinelli And The King.
Arriving in Theatreland from an entirely different court, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, who made a few enemies amongst ITV viewers by defending the accused in everyone’s favourite Westcountry crime drama, will be leading the cast of debbie tucker green’s Hang at the Royal Court (we mean the theatre this time) in June.
007’s dependable weapons expert and Michael Bond’s marmalade-loving bear will be a distant memory for Ben Whishaw as he prepares for his latest, entirely different role. He’ll take to the stage in the Almeida Theatre’s production of Greek tragedy Bakkhai alongside former Matilda the Musical star Bertie Carvel in July.
Another film star, Andrea Riseborough, who appeared with Michael Keaton and co in the Oscar-winning black comedy Birdman, will be leaving behind her on screen theatrical foray to return to the real stage when she plays Rosalind in Shakespeare’s As You Like It at the National Theatre in November.
If you thought those were all the familiar faces you’d be seeing courtesy of March’s announcements, think again, as the oft-red-nose-brandishing face of comedian Lenny Henry will be at the Royal Opera House in April to oversee the most illustrious of all theatre awards ceremonies, the Olivier Awards with MasterCard, on 12 April.
You can help celebrate the night by visiting the Covent Garden Piazza, where a big screen will be bringing audiences all the goings-on from inside the iconic auditorium, or at home on ITV, when an incredible highlights package will be broadcast after the ceremony.
Don’t forget, you can also join in the conversation on social media using #Oliviers