Tommy Jessop hits the mainstream stage as Hamlet

Tommy Jessop, whose work includes a lead role in the BAFTA-nominated Coming Down the Mountain on BBC television, is playing the lead role HAMLET on tour with Blue Apple Theatre, one of the leading disability arts companies in the south which creates opportunities for actors with learning disabilities to perform in mainstream productions.

Tommy Jessop

The tour runs from May to July across Surrey, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Cornwall, including three nights at Winchester’s Theatre Royal.

Jane Jessop, founding director of Blue Apple Theatre in Winchester, said Hamlet was chosen as “the ultimate Shakespeare play” that would challenge both the cast and audience.

Blue Apple’s Hamlet has been adapted by scriptwriter and film maker William Jessop, 29, who has shortened the 210-minute play to just 70 minutes, without losing the key elements of the drama.

He said: “It’s unquestionably unadulterated Hamlet but is just shorter and sharper. This is the most ambitious play we’ve done, as it’s been comedy up until now. There are dark, adult themes with adultery, murder and revenge, but the actors love the gory bits and the blood and thunder.

“I’ve kept Shakespeare’s original language, so the key challenge has been to work closely with each actor to make sure they understand and own everything they’re saying and make each part their own.”

Tommy Jessop, 27, who has featured in Casualty, Holby City and in afternoon plays on BBC Radio 4, said that Hamlet was his favourite role to date.

“ Hamlet is my favourite role to date as in almost every other scene there’s a range of emotions to put across. There’s a bit of sadness, a bit of happiness and a bit of anger,” he added.

Tommy Jessop held me spellbound.  I was enraptured from the opening scene. Tommy Jessop’s delivery of the scene in which Hamlet encounters his uncle Claudius at prayer and debates whether or not to kill him was superb. You could hear a pin drop!  Stuart Mills DSA Journal

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