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photo: Patrick Reynolds

Hamlet Michael Hurst
Gertrude  Elizabeth Hawthorne
Ophelia  Anna Hewlett
Claudius  Ray Trickitt
Osric  David Aston
Laertes  Kip Chapman
Horatio  Paul Barrett
Gravedigger  Jason Hoyte
Gravedigger  Jonathan Brugh
Player King  Cameron Rhodes

Lady in Waiting 
Anna Nuria Francino*

Polonius' Man  Paul Greenfield*
Francisco  Robin Hall*
Barnardo  Matthew Heath*
Sailor  Jacob Lindesay*
Attendant  Nisha Madhan*
Attendant  Charles McDermott*
Attendant/Sailor  Jason Taylor*
Player Queen/
Attendant  Patricia Trokenheim*
Security  John Tui*
Marcellus  Nic Dunbar**

students on secondment from
*Unitec School of Performing and Screen Arts or
**Tui Whakaari New Zealand Drama School

Director  Michael Hurst     
Associate Director  Christian Penny
Associate Producer  Ross Joblin
Designer  John Verryt     
Costumes  Judith Crozier
Lighting  David Eversfield     
Composer  Jason Smith

Publicist  Sue May
Production Asst  Jacqui Godfrey
Stage Manager  Frith Walker
Deputy SM  Josh Hyman
Operator  Antonia Richardson
Lighting Programmer  Arnaud Stephenson
Props  Stafford Allpress
Costume Department  Erin Cooney
Aase Hopstock Storeheiser
Schools Consultant  Susan Battye
Make-Up Consultant  Leanne Dore
Hairdresser  Jennifer Whelan
Photography  Patrick Reynolds
Graphic Design  Alt Group
Set  Third Stage Ltd
Weapons  Weta

Photos:  Andrew Malmo





"As star, director, and co-founder of this new theatre company, Michael Hurst has shouldered a huge burden and it is testimony to his talent and leadership that the result is the finest Shakespearian production in a decade".  Sunday Star-Times, 1 June 2003

"Dizzyingly exciting, it was unquestionably the best reading of a Shakespeare tragedy and possibly the best local Shakespeare ever." Peter Calder, New Zealand Herald, "2003: Year in Review", 17 December 2003

"Michael Hurst . . . in (Hamlet) proved yet again that he is our finest interpreter of the Bard." Metro, "Gilbert Wong reviews Auckland's year in arts"

"Best actor:  Michael Hurst. His complex portrayal of Hamlet was the stand-out performance.  Runners-up: David Aston delivered a delightfully smarmy Polonius in Hamlet." New Zealand Listener, "Best of 2003", 3-9 January 2003

Michael Hurst as Hamlet;
Ray Trickitt as Claudius

Actor/director Michael Hurst returned to his first love--theatre, and in particular Shakespeare--to stage this unique 21st Century version of the timeless classic, Hamlet.  A passionate and energetic interpreter of Shakespeare, he brought his vision to the stage in the way of an old-fashioned theatrical impresario--taking on the roles of producer, director and star.

The themes and feelings in Hamlet, even though it was written at the beginning of the 17th century, are just as relevant today. Hamlet's search for the truth in a corrupt world resonates with our modern dilemmas in a world on the brink. 

"I focussed on the psychology. What really is going on with Hamlet and Ophelia? And what about Hamlet and his mother? It's about relationships. What's truth? What's honesty? What is madness and what isn't? And who are we to say what is sane and what isn't?  I set it in a world that has so much money, so much luxury, available to it, where there's that feeling that everything has been done, where everybody's looking for something else. And that makes someone like Hamlet really ask the questions."

Although Hamlet is a powerful tragedy, it is also full of comedy. "There's lots of dark humour and Hamlet tips the wink to the audience the whole time." 

But this production of Shakespeare's enigmatic masterpiece was not for the faint-hearted. Murder, revenge, the supernatural, lust, sexuality, violence, madness and mind-games formed the background for high-octane performances in which every moment was balanced on a knife-edge and the stakes were life itself.


"There are many high points and no false steps by a cast that combines some of the country's finest actors . . . "  Gilbert Wong, Sunday Star-Times, 1 June 2003
" . . . Hurst holds the centre. In a contained yet mercurial performance, he goes inside the man, portraying a Hamlet who knows himself and his failures and is as wearied by them as he is wracked by them.Frances Edmond, New Zealand Listener, 14 June 2003

Michael Hurst as Hamlet

Michael Hurst as Hamlet,
Elizabeth Hawthorne as Gertrude
"Hurst is ably supported by Elizabeth Hawthorne's preening but brittle Gertrude, particularly in a closet scene rich in eerie sexual overtones." Peter Calder, New Zealand Herald, 26 May 2003

"David Aston's Polonius--reptilian and greasy yet still pompous and tedious--is a standout."  Peter Calder, New Zealand Herald, 26 May 2003

Michael Hurst as Hamlet,
David Aston as Polonius

Jonathan Brugh as Guildenstern,
Michael Hurst as Hamlet,
Jason Hoyte as Rosencrantz
" . . . comedians Jason Hoyte and Jonathan Brugh . . . are an inspired piece of casting as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern." Peter Calder, New Zealand Herald, 26 May 2003

" . . . younger players too--Kip Chapman's honest Laertes and Anna Hewlett's heart-rending Ophelia--are excellent." Peter Calder, New Zealand Herald, 26 May 2003

Elizabeth Hawthorne as Gertrude,
Kip Chapman as Laertes

Anna Hewlett
as Ophelia

"Hurst, unquestionably our finest and most versatile male actor, has established himself as one of our most adventurous and exciting directors of Shakespeare.  And to watch him at work is to see instinct and intellect combine in a way which makes effort seem effortless." Peter Calder, New Zealand Herald, 17 May 2003

Michael Hurst as Hamlet

Auckland Theatre Company
Frank Casey
Judith Anderson Gallery
Margi Mellsop
Patrick Reynolds
Alt Group
Claudia Price
Rota Barrington
Robert Bruce
Danielle and Leal Butler
Kate Ward Smythe
The Maidment Theatre
Nigel Gavin
Amy Wright

ECC Lighting
Kenderdine Electrical Ltd.
Sony Ericsson
Spot-Light Systems
The Beauty Connection
Creative New Zealand
Arts Alive
The Large Group acknowledges with gratitude the support of Brent Wootton.

The production gratefully acknowledges the Breakeven Revenue Underwriting Facility provided by The Creative Arts Trust.