ENTERTAINMENT

Kenneth Branagh Announces West End Return With Year-Long Run At Garrick Theatre, Starring Judi Dench And Lily James

17/04/2015 09:19 BST | Updated 17/04/2015 09:59 BST

Sir Kenneth Branagh is to make his dramatic return to London’s West End, with a year-long residency planned at the Garrick theatre for his new theatre company.

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The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company will kick off its run with a production of ‘A Winter’s Tale’ in October, which will star the celebrated British actor alongside Dame Judi Dench.

Later in the residency, the company will perform William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, with former ‘Downton Abbey’ actress Lily James starring opposite ‘Game of Thrones’ actor Richard Madden in the play’s titular roles.

kenneth branagh

Kenneth Branagh

Lily and Richard are currently starring together in Disney’s live action remake of ‘Cinderella’, which was also directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Speaking about his plans for the residency, he tells The Stage: “Judi has famously been in [‘A Winter’s Tale’ as Hermione and Perdita, but to have her in the company with this great part [Paulina] and for us to work together on Shakespeare, which we have not done since Chichester [Coriolanus] 20 years ago, is wonderful.

“To my amazement, I have not done Shakespeare on stage for London in over 20 years, so that is exciting.”

Of the five plays scheduled for the run at the Garrick theatre, Kenneth will star in four, and direct the other, which means he’s taking time out from his work in both television and film.

He adds: “The West End doesn’t need us but I hope they will welcome us. We are certainly glad to be here.

“The honest endeavour and ambition is to do the best work we can, with people we believe in and work we are proud of and privileged to present. We are excited to get the best work possible in front of an audience.”

The company’s first play, ‘A Winter’s Tale’, will run from 17 October to to 16 January. For more information, including how to buy tickets, click here.

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