Local director Ken Taylor wants Leeds to take away a fondness for Shakespeare and an appreciation of the human story within ‘Hamlet’ to equal his own.

Ken has taken on the challenge of directing Hamlet in the heart of the city centre at the Carriageworks Theatre from 7th to 9th February, with the award-winning Leeds Arts Centre. LAC are a long-established theatre group, and Ken worked in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford as part of their Dream 16 project in 2016. LAC is an RSC Open Stages company, which is a nationwide project between the RSC and selected amateur theatre groups across the UK.

After the once in a lifetime opportunity of learning from the RSC’s Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman, Ken will present what he believes is Shakespeare’s masterpiece with all the traditional themes of murder, revenge, intrigue and romance within the setting of the Danish royal court.

He has edited the play to just over 2 hours 15 minutes and has modernised some of the language and references to assist those who see Shakespeare as too obscure or hard to follow. At the same time, Shakespeare fans will find all the beautiful text and the famous lines with which they will be familiar.

Ken is keen to emphasise the personal stories of each character within the play, which are as familiar as any modern soap opera. A family torn apart by death, betrayal, jealousy, intrigue and broken love. You can add to all that a Ghost!

Ken is excited to share his vision for the play with the people of Leeds. “There is a pressure in putting on a play for LAC. Standards are very high. I especially hope for an audience containing those who don’t yet appreciate Shakespeare. I believe that this production will help them to appreciate him. For me, the economy of language in his plays is miraculous, and I want to help more people to that opinion. When I first directed ‘Twelfth Night’, a lady had waited behind after the play with her young daughter. She said that her daughter had hated Shakespeare until seeing our play and was now a fan. It would be great if I could have that reaction again.”

If the price leaves you asking to go or not to go, LAC offers exclusive discounts for students at 10% off. Use code HAM19

The Leeds Arts Centre production is on at the Carriageworks, Millennium Square, Leeds, from 7th to 9th February at the earlier time of 7.15pm. Book online at https://goo.gl/6UnQwP or in person at Leeds Town Hall Box Office, £10 concessions and £13.49 for standard tickets.