Liverpool’s film studio is getting a theatrical make-over as it prepares to welcome one of the world’s biggest movie stars.
The Depot, located off Edge Lane, will be transformed into a custom-built theatre as it hosts the premiere of a brand new production of Macbeth, starring award-winning actor Ralph Fiennes who will play the ruthless lead.
Directed by the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Simon Godwin, this latest adaptation will portray the couple corrupted by their relentless lust for power who have blood on their hands. Witness the gripping tale of greed, murder, deception and superstition.
Renowned for a whole host of iconic roles in films including Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and M in the James Bond series, the actor will be treading the boards from 18November to 20 December, with The Depot providing an industrial backdrop for one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.
Liverpool has been specially picked to showcase the work, and is just one of three UK cities to host the performance, which also stars Game of Thrones actress Indira Varma who will play Lady Macbeth. After the 20+ night run in Liverpool, the show will travel to Edinburgh and then London, ending in Washington D.C in April.
It is being co-produced by Underbelly and Wessex Grove.
Tickets go on general sale at 10am Thursday 27 July.
The Depot was built by Liverpool City Council in recognition of the city’s growing popularity as a film location and is managed by Liverpool Film Office. Launched in 2021, it consists of two 20,000 square feet studios, including sound stages and a dedicated parking area and the site has already been used for a large number of productions. Macbeth will be the first production to use one of the sound stages as a theatre space.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Culture, Councillor Harry Doyle, said:
“This is a huge coup for Liverpool – it’s a triple whammy of one of the most famous plays in the world, performing in our venue and starring two of the biggest names on the big and small screen.
“Huge kudos must be given to our Film Office and Culture Liverpool teams who have worked incredibly closely with the producers in recent weeks to find a city venue that would provide the perfect, atmospheric backdrop to this new play. We have always had huge ambitions around The Depot, with a focus on meeting the demand for studio space for the film and TV industry. Hosting a theatre production with a live audience is a totally new direction for us, but it just goes to show what can be achieved when you have the facilities to attract projects of this scale.
“It’s massively exciting and will hopefully open the doors to similar projects making the most of this diverse and adaptable location.”
Director of Culture Liverpool, Claire McColgan, said:
“We always knew we’d have huge names in The Depot, but we had never initially envisioned it in a theatrical capacity. The location’s industrial characteristics, and the fact it’s a producer and director’s dream in that it’s a blank canvas, meant it was the perfect venue for a bespoke theatre set and will be an unforgettable experience for all involved.”
The Depot features two 20,000 sq ft units of purpose-built shoot space in Liverpool for use by film and high-end TV productions.
Complete with secure onsite parking and located just 10 minutes from the city centre and M62, The Depot draws on the best of Liverpool. The UK’s second most filmed city, Liverpool’s reputation for doubling as New York and London and its renowned talent base makes The Depot a home for the most ambitious filmmakers and productions.
Managed by Liverpool Film Office, with 30+ years expertise in production, you’re easily connected to crew, facilities, offices, backlots, accommodation and so much more.
The creation of the two sound stages was made possible thanks to funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
The Depot is seen as critical to Liverpool’s strategy to cement its reputation as one of Europe’s premier film and TV production hubs, following a £17 million funding commitment from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.
Ralph Fiennes most recent work in the theatre includes Straight Line Crazy by David Hare at The Bridge Theatre and The Shed in New York. Prior to this he toured the country with his own production of T.S.Eliot’s The Four Quartets before transferring to the Harold Pinter Theatre. During the pandemic he also appeared in David Hare’s Beat The Devil atThe Bridge Theatre directed by Nicholas Hytner. Both productions were performed under social distancing regulations.
In 2018 he appeared inAntony and Cleopatra at National Theatre for which he received the Evening Standard Best Actor Award. Other work at the National Theatre includes Man & Superman, Oedipus, The Talking Cure, Six Characters In Search Of An Author, Fathers And Sons and Ting Tang Mine.
His extensive work at the Royal Shakespeare Company includes Troilus & Cressida, King Lear, Love’s Labour Lost, Henry VI in The Plantagenets, Much Ado About Nothing, King John, The Man Who Came To Dinner and Ibsen’s Brand which later transferred to the Haymarket Theatre. For the Almeida he has appeared asRichard III for which he received the Evening Standard Best Actor Award, Richard II, Coriolanus, Ivanov, and Hamlet all directed by Jonathan Kent. Hamlet was presented at The Hackney Empire and then The Belasco Theater on Broadway where Fiennes received the Tony Award for Best Actor. Fiennes returned to Broadway in 2006 and received a Tony Nomination for his role in Brian Friel’s The Faith Healer following a run at The Gate Theatre Dublin. In 2016 Fiennes played Solness in The Master Builder directed by Matthew Warchus at the Old Vic Theatre for which he received the Evening Standard Best Actor Award.
Ralph Fiennes made his feature film debut as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights in 1992. His film credits include Schindler’s List,The English Patient, The Constant Gardener, The End of the Affair, The Reader, Quiz Show, Oscar and Lucinda, Onegin, Spider, Sunshine, Strange Days and The Hurt Locker. He played Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series and the role of ‘M’ in Skyfall, Spectre and No Time To Die.
Fiennes most recent film credits include, The Menu, The Forgiven, The Four Quartets, The King’s Man, The Dig, Official Secrets, The Grand Budapest Hotel, A Bigger Splash, Kubo and the Two Strings, Hail Caesar!. Forthcoming films include:Conclave, and The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.
Fiennes made his feature film directorial debut in 2011 with Coriolanus in which he also starred in the title role. He also directed and starred in The Invisible Woman andThe White Crow about Rudolf Nureyev.
His television work includes David Hare’s trilogy Page Eight, Turks and Caicos and Salting The Battlefield. He played T.E Lawrence in A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia and also appeared in Prime Suspect and Rev.
Fiennes has been the recipient of many significant awards and nominations for his work on film and in the theatre. He was nominated for Academy Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTAs for his roles in both The English Patient and Schindler’s List, winning the BAFTA for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the latter. He was also nominated for BAFTAs for The End of an Affair and The Constant Gardener. He was nominated for the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for Coriolanus. Most recently he was nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for his leading role in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Fiennes has also been honoured with the Variety Award for Film Achievement, The Richard Harris Award by the British Independent Film Awards and The Empire Film Legend Award.
Indira Varma is an Olivier Award-winning actress having won ‘Best Actress in a Supporting Role’ for her performance as ‘Liz Essendine’ in PRESENT LAUGHTER (Old Vic) alongside Andrew Scott. Notable theatre highlights include MAN AND SUPERMAN (The National) with Ralph Fiennes, Jamie Lloyd’s production of Chekhov’s THE SEAGULL (Harold Pinter Theatre), Eugène Ionesco’s EXIT THE KING (The National) opposite Rhys Ifans; Shakespeare’s TITUS ANDRONICUS (Globe Theatre); THE VORTEX, DANCE OF DEATH, PRIVATES ON PARADE (all at the Donmar Warehouse), THE VERTICAL HOUR, THE COUNTRY, INGREDIENT X (all at the Royal Court), and CELEBRATION (on Broadway).
For screen, credits include ‘Gita Mishra’ in AppleTV’s EXTRAPOLATIONS, ‘Ingrid’ in OBSESSION (Netflix), ‘Tala’ in OBI-WAN KENOBI (Disney+), ‘Khadija Khan’ in the 2nd series of THE CAPTURE (BBC/AMC), ‘Ellaria Sand’ in the multi award-winning GAME OF THRONES (HBO/SkyAtlantic), LUTHER alongside Idris Elba (BBC/Netflix), the Emmy nominated drama PATRICK MELROSE (HBO/Sky Atlantic) starring Benedict Cumberbatch and the critically acclaimed comedy series THIS WAY UP (Channel 4/Hulu) written by and starring Aisling Bea.
Simon Godwin joined Shakespeare Theatre Company as Artistic Director in September 2019. Simon has directed three shows for STC (King Lear featuring Patrick Page, Much Ado About Nothing featuring Kate Jennings Grant and Rick Holmes, and Timon of Athens featuring Kathryn Hunter and co-produced by New York’s Theatre for a New Audience). He will direct his fourth production for STC in the 23/24 Season, Macbeth.
He has served as Associate Director of the National Theatre of London, the Royal Court Theatre, the Bristol Old Vic, and the Royal and Derngate Theatres (Northampton). While at the Royal Court, Simon directed seven world premieres, including Routes, If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep, NSFW, The Witness, Goodbye to All That, The Acid Test, and Wanderlust. He made his debut at the National Theatre with Strange Interlude followed by Man and Superman, and went on to direct The Beaux’ Stratagem, Twelfth Night, a celebrated production of Antony and Cleopatra with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, and the world premiere of Simon Wood’s Hansard.
Most recently, he returned to the National Theatre to direct Much Ado About Nothing featuring Katherine Parkinson and John Heffernan. He also directed Romeo & Juliet for the National Theatre, an original film for television (Sky Arts in U.K./PBS in U.S.) starring Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley. Simon has also directed at the Royal Shakespeare Company, including his production of Timon of Athens with Kathryn Hunter in the titular role, an acclaimed Hamlet, which toured to the Kennedy Center, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. In 2019, Simon made his Tokyo debut, directing a Japanese cast in Hamlet for Theatre Cocoon. Other productions include The Little Mermaid, Krapp’s Last Tape/A Kind of Alaska, Faith Healer, Far Away, Everyman, Habeas Corpus, and Relatively Speaking. In 2012 Simon was awarded the inaugural Evening Standard/Burberry Award for an Emerging Director.