Jonathan Cake & Joaquina Kalukango to Lead Public Theater's International Co-Production ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA; Full Casts Announced

The Public Theater has announced casting today for the international collaboration of Shakespeare's ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, produced by The Public Theater, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Miami's GableStage. Directed and edited by Tarell Alvin McCraney, ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA will play in Stratford-upon-Avon at the RSC's Swan Theatre (November 7-30, 2013), before travelling to the United States for an engagement in Miami Beach at The Colony Theater (January 11-February 9, 2014) followed by a limited run at The Public Theater (February 18-March 23, 2014). ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA features a transatlantic cast that includes Jonathan Cake as Mark Antony and Joaquina Kalukango as Cleopatra.

This unique company has been cast in both the US and the UK, and comprises five actors from each country to make up the cast of Shakespeare's historical play of love and politics. The actors will be appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and UK Equity, incorporating the Variety Artistes' Foundation.

The US cast features Charise Castro-Smith (Octavia, Iras); Joaquina Kalukango (Cleopatra); Ian Lassiter (Agrippa, Thyreus); Chivas Michael (Mardian, Eros, Soothsayer); and Henry Stram (Lepidus, Proculeius).

The UK cast features Jonathan Cake (Mark Antony); Samuel Collings (Octavius); Ash Hunter (Pompey, Alexas, Scarus); Chukwudi Iwuji(Enobarbus); and Sarah Niles (Charmian, Menas) and they are appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association. The producers gratefully acknowledge Actors' Equity Association for its assistance with this production.

The creative team is also a mix of UK and US professionals with the production being designed by RSC Associate Designer Tom Piper. The lighting design is by Stephen Strawbridge, the music composed by Michael Thurber, and the movement director is Gelan Lambert, all from the US.

Rehearsals begin in the UK in September, directed by McCraney, who has radically edited the play and set it in the late 1700s against the backdrop of Saint-Domingue, on the eve of the Haitian Revolution against the French, bringing to light vivid historical parallels with the story of Antony and Cleopatra.

Tarell Alvin McCraney (Director, Editor). His play The Brothers Size first premiered at The Public's Under the Radar Festival in 2006 and was followed by a Public Lab production in 2007. His complete trilogy, The Brother/Sister Plays (comprised of: In the Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet), was produced at The Public in 2009. For the Royal Shakespeare Company, he was the RSC/CAPITAL CENTRE Warwick International Playwright in Residence in 2009-2011 and is now an artistic associate. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Tarell is an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theater Company and in residence at New Dramatist Center in New York. For the RSC he co-edited/directed the Young People's Shakespeare production of Hamlet, and wrote a new full-length play for the RSC's acting ensemble, American Trade. His other plays include Choir Boy, Wig Out, and Head of Passes, which received its world premiere in 2013 in Chicago. McCraney was the recipient of London's Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2008, the inaugural New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award in 2009 and the 2009 Steinberg Award.

One of the best known theatre companies in the world, the RSC connects people with Shakespeare and aims to produce bold, ambitious work. As well as Shakespeare, its repertoire includes classical plays and new work by contemporary writers. It is an ensemble company, with everyone from directors, writers and actors to production, technical and administrative staff playing their part in creating distinctive theatre. The RSC's home is in Stratford-upon-Avon and in 2010 the Company reopened the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres after a £112.8m transformation to bring actors and audiences closer together. The RSC also plays regularly in London, Newcastle upon Tyne and on tour across the UK and the world. The RSC has a deeply held commitment to the development of theatre artists. It also runs a major education programme, working with schools and teachers to inspire a life-long love of Shakespeare in young people, and devises events and exhibitions for everyone to explore and participate in its work. The RSC celebrated its 50th birthday in 2011 and, in 2012, produced the biggest celebration of Shakespeare ever staged, the World Shakespeare Festival, as part of London 2012 Festival for the Cultural Olympiad. RSC in America is presented in collaboration with The Ohio State University.

Everyone at the Royal Shakespeare Company, from actors to technicians, milliners to musicians, plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. The work, which begins its life at our Stratford workshops and theatres, is shared with audiences through our touring, residencies and online activity throughout the world. So, wherever you experience the RSC, you will experience work that is made in Shakespeare's home town.Shakespeare has been performed and celebrated in Stratford for centuries and the RSC has trained generations of the very best theatre makers since the Company was founded in 1961. We pioneer contemporary approaches to Shakespeare's plays, as well as staging the work of those who inspired him, and today's writers.

Photos by Jennifer Broski/Walter McBride

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