19 – 23 March 2019
The National Theatre's new UK & Ireland tour of Macbeth began on 29 September at The Lowry, Salford following a sell-out run in London.
This new and daring adaptation of Shakespeare's most intense tragedy begins in the bloody aftermath of a civil war in a post-apocalyptic world of anarchy.
But you'll have to wait until March 2019 to see it at the Centre.
We were itching to find out more though, so met up with the new cast during rehearsals and chatted to Lady Macbeth herself, played by Kirsty Besterman.
The Macbeth's are arguably Shakespeare’s most happily married couple. How did you interpret their relationship?
Kirsty Besterman: it's certainly something I worked into my back story. Macbeth calls Lady Macbeth his 'greatest love', the king refers to them as 'this great love', and everyone else sees them as this wonderful love story.
We decided early on that the couple have lost their children during the war. Many interpretations of the play have assumed they’re infertile, but we wanted to do it differently. I think there’s something incredibly powerful about saying that they had a family.
And by choosing not to have any more children, they avoid the pain of losing any more so, it made perfect sense to us that the play's environment dictated this.
This also serves as an incentive for Macbeth to become king in order to perhaps have another family, knowing they'd be better protected.
But, unfortunately this imagined future fails to materialise as Macbeth kills the king, and descends into madness...
How did you tackle Lady Macbeth's strength of character?
Kirsty Besterman: She’s a strong woman who is running the estate while Macbeth is away fighting in the war.
She's not out there planting crops but she's dressed in combat fatigues and Doc Martins so she's a very active person. Her role is to protect the estate and she's doing it her way.
I love it that in this production Lady Macbeth doesn't wear a corset or a dress either. She's earthy, rounded and routed in what’s left in a world with less formality but more equality.
Everything’s oddly playful and relaxed considering how bleak the situation is.
The innovative props for this production reflect the polluted, post-apocalyptic landscape. Which props stand out for you?
Kirsty Besterman: Macbeth's armour is really interesting because he’s been Gaffer-taped into it. I actually help him out of it in one scene, so we’ve been busy practising that, so it appears as if it's second nature to Lady Macbeth
As Lady Macbeth I also love carrying a knife in my pocket. I don’t have it when I’m queen but when I’m alone and waiting, I have my knife.
As queen, I also wear a more formal type of dress, but it’s bright red and made from shiny plastic so that’s probably my favourite prop.