Interview with Sir Patrick Stewart

Great Performances interviewed the recently-knighted Sir Patrick Stewart about playing the roles of Claudius and the Ghost in the upcoming GP special Hamlet to air on PBS stations nationwide on April 28th at 8 p.m. (check local listings). While in California in January promoting the broadcast, Stewart talked about the process of creating a modern […]

Media for the “Opening Scene” Activity

In this production the actors decided that they preferred the rule of Claudius, a peace-keeping King who enjoyed a good party! This is important in the staging as it is when we, the audience, and the Court first see Claudius as King. The staging of this opening court scene is instrumental in revealing the relationships […]

Media for the “Polonius’ Family” Activity

Every actor should understand exactly what they are saying in order to make the most of their role. For the first two to three weeks of the rehearsal process Gregory Doran gave the actors three key rules when they were reading the play: 1) That they don’t read their own part 2) That they can’t […]


Media for “The Role of the Players” Activity

The Players Speech – Hamlet’s Attempt to Kill Claudius – Greg Doran decided to repeat the image of Priam hesitating with his sword in the air, as shown by the player, when Hamlet takes the dagger to Claudius. Watch The Player’s speech immediately followed by Hamlet’s attempt to kill Claudius. What are the similarities? How […]


Media for “The Role of Osric” Activity

In Greg Doran’s rehearsals, the actors decided that Osric is a ‘political flunkie’ – an ambitious young employee of the court, hoping to impress Claudius. They used clothes to convey this – the production is in modern dress so the designer used clothes that a modern audience quickly understands as conveying ambition and business: a […]


Media for “The Final Scene” Activity

The final scene. How did the choices the actors made differ from the choices of the group? What movements were the most effective and why? What was more significant gesture or looks? You might want to watch it again with the sound off to specifically look at how the actors tell the story with their […]


Teachers’ Guide

To complement the film, WNET.ORG, in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), is offering a Teachers’ Guide for educators to utilize the PBS broadcast in classrooms around the country. This activity-based analysis of the play is supported by links to various scenes throughout the film. Download the full PDF of the guide here. All […]


About the Film

Shakespeare’s immortal “To be, or not to be” takes on a whole new meaning (and medium) as classical stage and screen actors David Tennant and (recently-knighted) Sir Patrick Stewart reprise their roles for a modern-dress, film-for-television adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) 2008 stage production of Hamlet. The production will be presented on PBS […]