Kate Horton for Fictionhouse and Len Blavatnik and Danny Cohen for Access Entertainment, in association with Kate Pakenham Productions, today announce a new production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, directed by James Macdonald and starring Lucian Msamati (Estragon) and Ben Whishaw (Vladimir), with further casting to be announced. The production opens at Theatre Royal Haymarket in September 2024 and will play a strictly limited run.
Lucian Msamati said today, “The wait has been worth it! I look forward to making merry mischief with James Macdonald for the first time and a too long overdue reunion with the creative brilliance and genuine spirit that is Ben Whishaw”.
Ben Whishaw said today, “When I was 18 I was doing an art foundation course in Bedford and went one night with a friend to London to see a play that was part of a season of plays by Samuel Beckett at the Barbican Theatre. The play was Waiting for Godot. The next day I dropped out of my art course, having decided I wanted to study acting instead. I am unbelievably thrilled and excited – and a little terrified too – to be having this chance to perform Beckett’s utterly radical and incredibly beautiful play. It has haunted me since that night 25 years ago. And to get to do it with Lucian Msamati and James Macdonald … well, that’s just a dream”.
James Macdonald said, “I am beyond excited to be working with Fictionhouse on one of my favourite plays of all time – and above all what a pleasure and a privilege to be doing that with Lucian and Ben, amazing collaborators and two of our very greatest theatre artists”.
Kate Horton, Fictionhouse, also commented, “We have long wanted to reunite with James, Ben and Lucian since Ben starred in James’s superlative world premiere production of Cock by Mike Bartlett and with Lucian in multi-award winning Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris, which Dominic Cooke directed. I can’t think of a better way to bring their triple talents together than in Samuel Beckett’s theatrical masterpiece. This production is for experienced theatregoers and those making their first trip alike – and everyone who is still a student of life”.
Danny Cohen, President, Access Entertainment said, “We’re thrilled to be welcoming Ben Whishaw and Lucian Msamati to the Haymarket in a new production of Waiting for Godot directed by James Macdonald. It is of course a brilliant and timeless play, with a stellar creative team bringing it back to the West End”.
Further casting and dates to be announced.
Waiting for Godot will go on sale in February 2024. Individuals can register their interest and sign up for priority booking here: www.waitingforgodotplay.com
Didi and Gogo wait by a tree for a man named Godot. They don’t know who he is, why they are meeting or what time he is coming – only that something incredible could happen when he does…
“Let us do something, while we have the chance… at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it before it is too late!”
Don’t miss the play that changed the rules. Waiting for Godot opens at the historic Theatre Royal Haymarket for a strictly limited run from September 2024.
Lucian Msamati plays Estragon. Theatre credits include Master Harrold and the Boys, Amadeus, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (National Theatre), A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes (The Tricycle), Othello (RSC), Little Revolution (Almeida Theatre), The Amen Corner (National Theatre), If You Don’t Let us Dream We Won’t Let You A Sleep, Belong (Royal Court), Comedy of Errors (National Theatre), Clybourne Park (Royal Court/West End), Ruined (Almeida Theatre), Death and The Kings Horsman (National Theatre), The Resistabe Rise of Arturo Ui (Lyric Hammersmith), 1807- The First Act (Shakespeare’s Globe), Pericles (RSC), The Overwhelming (National Theatre), Walk Hard, Fabulation, Gem Of The Ocean (The Tricycle), Who Killed Mr Drum (Riverside), President of An Empty Room (National Theatre), Twelfth Night (Sheffield Crucible), Mourning Becomes Electra (National Theatre), I.D. (Almeida Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (The Dancehouse, Manchester), The Taming of the Shrew (Bath Shakespeare Festival), Born African (Arthur Seaton Theatre, New York), Twelfth Night (Neuss Globe Theatre, Germany), Fade to Black (Harare International Festival of Arts), Eternal Peace Asylum (American Repertory Theatre), Loot, Urfaust (Reps Theatre), Rocky Horror Picture Show (Seven Arts Theatre) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (NTO Zimbawbe). Television credits include Gangs of London (2 Seasons), Chemistry of Death, Dark Materials, Black Earth Rising, Kiri, Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, Taboo, George Gently, Luther, Game of Thrones, Death in Paradise, Richard III, No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, Dr Who, Ashes To Ashes, Spooks, Just Like Ronaldinho, Ultimate Force, Too Close for Comfort, The Knock and Heads and Tales. Film credits include Conclave, Breaking Point, The Good Liar, The Seekers, The International, Coffin, Legend of the Sky, Kingdom, Dr Juju and Lumumba. Radio credits include: An Elegy For Easterly, Mugabe: God’s President, The Jero Plays, The Homecoming, Seventh Street and Alchemy and Colours.
Lucian is a founder member of Zimbabwe’s Over the Edge theatre company and former Artistic Director of Tiata Fahodzi.
Ben Whishaw plays Vladimir. Ben is a multi-award-winning British actor. His notable film credits include the role of Q in Skyfall, Spectre and No Time To Die; the voice of Paddington in Paddington and Paddington 2; Perfume: The Story of a Murderer; Jane Campion’s Bright Star; Cloud Atlas; Tom Hooper’s multi award-winning The Danish Girl; The Lobster; in the role of Mr. Banks in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns; Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield; Alice Englert’s Bad Behaviour with Jennifer Connelly; and Passages with Franz Rogowski and Adèle Exarchopoulos. We last saw Ben in Sarah Polley’s Women Talking, alongside Claire Foy and Frances McDormand, for which he was nominated for a Satellite Award, a Hollywood Critics Association Film Award and longlisted for a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor.
It has been announced that he will reprise his role as the voice of the titular bear in Paddington in Peru and last year, he wrapped filming Limonov, The Ballad of Eddie in Russia and Latvia, in which he stars as Eduard Limonov. He’ll star in the short film, Good Boy, the directorial debut of Tom Stuart with the support of Gia Coppola.
Ben’s TV credits include his role as Norman Scott in the mini-series A Very English Scandal opposite Hugh Grant. This performance saw Ben recognised with a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries, or Motion Picture Made for Television, along with a Primetime Emmy Award and a BAFTA. Criminal Justice, The Hour, Fargo and a BAFTA award-winning performance in The Hollow Crown. He starred in the lead role of This Is Going To Hurt, the series adaptation of Adam Kay’s bestselling novel, for which he won Leading Actor in the 2023 BAFTA TV Awards along with Outstanding Performance in a New Series at the 2022 Gotham Awards and winning in the Best Actor category at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards. Ben was nominated for numerous awards as well including Best Actor by the TV Choice Awards; a Critic’s Choice Awards for Best Actor In A Limited Series or Movie Made For Television and a Gold Derby Award for Limited / Movie Actor.
He is currently filming Black Doves (Netflix) and is starring alongside Keira Knightley and Sarah Lancashire.
Ben’s theatre credits have included Mojo (Harold Pinter Theatre), Peter and Alice (Noel Coward), Some Trace of Her and The Seagull (National Theatre), Leaves of Glass (Soho Theatre), Hamlet (Old Vic), Julius Caesar (The Bridge Theatre) and The Crucible (on Broadway).
Waiting for Godot is produced by Kate Horton for Fictionhouse and Len Blavatnik and Danny Cohen for Access Entertainment, in association with Kate Pakenham Productions.
WAITING FOR GODOT
Theatre Royal Haymarket