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The Merchant of Venice 1936

The Merchant of Venice 1936 at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from 21 September – 7 October 2023, and 24 January – 10 February 2024.


Trafalgar Theatre Productions and Eilene Davidson Productions, in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company, presents the Watford Palace Theatre & Home Manchester production of The Merchant of Venice 1936.

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced the casting for a ground-breaking new production which transports one of Shakespeare’s most enduring classics to 1930’s Britain: The Merchant of Venice 1936.

Following its premiere at Watford Palace Theatre earlier this year, the production will embark on a UK tour this Autumn, beginning at the RSC’s Swan Theatre from Thursday 21 September – Saturday 7 October. It will return to the Swan Theatre to close the tour from Wednesday 24 January – Saturday 10 February 2024.

Tracy-Ann Oberman, Raymond Coultard and Hannah Morrish. Photos © RSC.

Reprising their roles alongside Tracy-Ann Oberman (EastEnders, Doctor Who, Friday Night Dinner) as Shylock, are Hannah Morrish (Antony and Cleopatra, Father Brown) who will play Portia, Gráinne Dromgoole (Romeo and Juliet, Crooked House) as Jessica, Raymond Coulthard (Emmerdale, Hotel Babylon) in the roles of Antonio and Arragon, Jessica Dennis (The Habit of Art) as Mary and Nerissa, Xavier Starr (The Mechanicals Presents… Macbeth or Julius Caesar) as Gratiano, Priyank Morjaria (Romeo & Juliet, Kettled) as Lorenzo and Maharajah, and Alex Zur (Hamlet, A Level Playing Field) as Tuba, Duke, Waiter, and Valet. You can see the full cast biographies on the RSC website.

Alex Zur, Priyank Morjaria and Xavier Starr Photos © RSC.

With the city on the brink of political unrest, fascism sweeping across Europe and Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists threatening a paramilitary march through the Jewish East End, strong-willed single mother Shylock runs a pawnbroking business from her house in Cable Street where Mosley will march. When charismatic, antisemitic aristocrat Antonio comes to her for a loan, a high-stakes deal is struck. Will Shylock take her revenge, and who will pay the ultimate price?

Jessica Dennis and Gráinne Dromgoole. Photos © RSC.

Ambition, power and political unrest explode onto the stage in The Merchant of Venice 1936: this “striking and impactful” (The Guardian) new production that “makes theatre history” (Daily Telegraph). Developed in association with HOME Manchester and with support from the Royal Shakespeare Company, this “fascinating and timely” (Daily Mail) production is directed and adapted by Brigid Larmour from an idea by co-creator Tracy Ann-Oberman.

The production will feature Set and Costume Design by Liz Cooke, Lighting by Rory Beaton, Sound Design by Sarah Weltman, and the Composer is Erran Baron Cohen.

Prior to the UK tour this autumn, the production opened to glowing reviews at Watford’s Palace Theatre earlier this year.

More details and to book tickets: or call the Box Office on 01789 331111.


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