Hamnet is the story of William Shakespeare’s only son, but with a multimedia twist. Lauded as “an extraordinary production of grief, fatherhood, and the shadow of those we love and miss,” (The Theatre Mirror) and “a cleverly profound piece…manages to be timeless,” (South Shore Critic), Hamnet is captivating Boston audiences and bringing us into a world that was otherwise unknown. With all the excitement surrounding this production, we’re hearing audiences wondering out loud, who are the brains behind Hamnet?
Dead Centre is an Irish theatre company that was founded by Bush Moukarzel and Ben Kidd in 2012. When the pair met during college, they realized their shared interests in theatre, philosophy, and history, eventually putting their various talents together to create Dead Centre. The two artists found their collaborative flow and began filling their new company with innovative stories, slowly building an international following.
From the very beginning, Dead Centre set the bar high for thought provoking works that are also suitable for audiences worldwide. Dead Centre’s first project, Souvenir, was first created in Dublin back in 2012. The show went on to tour internationally to New York City, London, Brisbane and Seoul, South Korea. Their second project, (S)quark! also premiered in Dublin and traveled all the way to Russia as a part of the “Garden of Geniuses” festival at Yasnaya Polyana—a Russian museum located in the former home of Leo Tolstoy. Next, Lippy premiered at the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2013 and won Best Production and Best Design at the Fringe Awards. After its big win, Lippy toured to Greece, Prague and Edinburgh, Scotland.
At the forefront of their work is Dead Centre’s production of Hamnet. Created by the company in April 2017, Hamnet—a moving, multimedia miracle that imagines the life of Shaekspeare’s only son—premiered in Schaubuhne, Berlin as part of F.I.N.D. Festival. Since then, the production has traveled far and wide: Australia, various locations in the United Kingdom and finally making its U.S. premiere in Boston with ArtsEmerson. After their time in Boston, the production is traveling back to even more locations in the U.K.
Next month, Dead Centre continues their tour of Chekhov’s First Play, which premiered in 2015. Based on an untitled, chaotic script written by Anton Chekhov and discovered by Soviet scholars in 1921, the script had originally been hidden by Chekhov’s sister after his death. Like with Hamnet, Dead Centre completely reinvents Chekhov’s story to create a piece of theatre that is gloriously inventive. Chekhov’s First Play will be making stops in The Netherlands, Romania, and the United Kingdom in October of 2018.
Dead Centre’s innovation, risk, and commitment to creation is molding the future of theatre and performance. This remarkable theatre company continues to bring something completely different to the stories of Shakespeare, Chekhov and beyond. ArtsEmerson is elated to be a part of one of Dead Centre’s international journeys and we cannot wait to see where they travel to next!
Before the company travels off to the next tour, be sure to catch Hamnet here in Boston now through OCT 7 at the Paramount Center.