There have been countless productions of Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedy over the years. In 1936 Orson Well’s staged a voodoo version of the Scottish play where he moved the action from Scotland to a fictional Caribbean island and employed an entirely African American cast. This New York production which included a cast of 150 became a box office sensation but was controversial as some considered it to make fun of black culture. John Gielgud’s acclaimed 1955 production at Stratford upon Avon starred real life couple Lawrence Olivier and Vivian Leigh in the title roles. In 1999 Anthony Sher was highly praised for his performance as Macbeth in Greg Doran’s powerful modern production for the RSC. In New York Punchdrunk’s interactive version of Macbeth has played since 2011 the action of the play is relocated to the 1930’s McKittrick Hotel which audience members explore for themselves. In 2013 Kenneth Branagh’s production for the Manchester International Festival performed in a deconsecrated church has received wide acclaim.
A few productions stand out as being truly iconic and are included below.
Trevor Nunn’s minimal production performed at The Other Space saw the action performed within a chalk circle and gave the performance a black magic feel.
Rupert Goold’s violent innovative production had a soviet feel and starred Patrick Stewart in the title role.
Peter Glanville’s puppetry production drew on the abundant number of bird images contained within the text and included the recorded voices of Nathanial Parker and Helen McCrory.
Jamie Lloyd’s post apocalyptic Macbeth starred Hollywood actor James McAvoy.