Cft Macbeth New 447 X792 Px.

John Simm   Dervla Kirwan


By William Shakespeare

Festival TheatreTicketsPrice: from £10


Present fears
Are less than horrible imaginings

Much celebrated for his forthright bravery, Macbeth is a state hero. After the bloody defeat of a rebel army, he encounters a trio of strangers who predict that one day he will be King. Having delivered their ambiguous message, they vanish, leaving a mind cracked open.

Fearing that her husband lacks the vital drive to take charge of his fate, Lady Macbeth invokes her stronger nature to fulfil their destiny. The plan she hatches will trigger an uncontrollable train of events, hurtling two corrupted souls to the heart of darkness.

Shakespeare’s great tragedy shows ambition falling headlong into tyranny and chaos. As appearances increasingly deceive, the nature of reality itself comes into question.

Paul Miller is Artistic Director of the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond. He was previously Associate Director at Sheffield Theatres, where his productions included John Simm’s Hamlet.

John Simm makes his Chichester debut in the title role. Among his extensive screen and stage work, recent credits include Strangers, Collateral and Doctor Who on television, and Pinter at the Pinter: Six (West End).

Dervla Kirwan’s stage work includes Goneril in King Lear (2017), Frankie and Johnny (2014) and Uncle Vanya (2012) at Chichester and, most recently, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (Young Vic). She also appeared in Strangers alongside John Simm.

Prologue 17 Lime Teal.

Prologue tickets available

Cast & Creatives


  • Bw John Simm Headshot.

    John Simm

  • Bw Kirwan Dervla.

    Dervla Kirwan

    Lady Macbeth
  • Bw Heider Ali.

    Heider Ali

    2nd Murderer
  • Bw Michael Balogun.

    Michael Balogun

  • Bw Jacob Blazdell.

    Jacob Blazdell

  • Bwdavid Burnett Spotlight Bw Simon Annand.

    David Burnett

    1st Murderer/Menteith
  • Bw Roseanna Frascona.

    Roseanna Frascona

    Weird Sister
  • Bw Leah Gayer.

    Leah Gayer

    Weird Sister
  • Bw Lauren Grace.

    Lauren Grace

    Weird Sister
  • Bw Stuart Laing.

    Stuart Laing

  • B W Luyanda Unati Lewis Nyawo.

    Luyanda Unati Lewis-Nyawo

  • Bw Avital Lvova.

    Avital Lvova

  • Bw Harvey Mc Guinness.

    Harvey McGuinness

  • Bw Matthew Oshea.

    Matthew O'Shea

    Young Macduff
  • Bw Harry Peacock.

    Harry Peacock

  • Bw Noah Peirson.

    Noah Peirson

    Young Macduff
  • Bw Isabel Pollen.

    Isabel Pollen

    Lady Macduff
  • Bw Christopher Ravenscroft.

    Christopher Ravenscroft

  • Bw Beatriz Romilly.

    Beatriz Romilly

  • Bw Nathan Welsh.

    Nathan Welsh


Creative team

Paul Miller


Simon Daw


Mark Doubleday

Lighting Designer

Max Pappenheim

Music and Sound Designer

Tim Reid

Video Designer

Angela Gasparetto

Movement Director

Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown

Fight Directors

Serena Hill

Casting Director


Access performances

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Director Paul Miller on Macbeth

Our production of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Macbeth, led by John Simm and Dervla Kirwan as the corrupted couple, opens in the Festival Theatre on 21 September and will mark a homecoming for director Paul Miller.

‘I was born in Chichester and my family goes back several generations on the south coast,’ he recalls. ‘I saw a lot of the summer programmes in the late 70s through to the mid 80s, so it was my theatrical upbringing’.

Now Artistic Director of the prestigious Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, Paul has directed John Simm in several new plays (one of which brought John an Olivier Award nomination), and in a successful production of Hamlet at Sheffield Crucible. ‘Practically as the lights came down on the last performance, he turned to me and said ‘I want to do Macbeth next’.

The star of such hit TV series as Strangers, Collateral, Dr Who and Life on Mars, Paul points out that John is ‘a remarkable stage actor; if you’ve never seen him on stage you have to take this chance, because he’s got a real stage presence and voice and intelligence. That quality of nervous, flickering thoughtfulness that he brings is perfect for this part.’

With its supernatural elements of witches and apparitions, combined with violent action, poetry and edge-of-the-seat storytelling, Macbeth is a potent brew. How will Paul be approaching the production?

‘We’re trying to conjure a world that feels recognisable but a little remote, like some frozen part of Northern Europe, maybe 100 years ago, but where a physical brutality is still very much part of life.

‘Macbeth starts on a journey into his own mind. He’s both delusional but also very self-aware and fascinated by the inner contours of his own mind and his soul. One of the reasons I didn’t want to put it in a modern political setting is precisely because it might reduce it. It’s most potent when it exists as a metaphor. But I think it’s very easy to see all sorts of contemporary parallells: people make one terrible decision and that leads inexorably to another bad decision, and they get more and more boxed into their own position.

‘I also think it paints a very brilliant, vivid picture of the isolation that comes with power. The more power is exercised arbitrarily, or irrationally, the more fundamentally isolated the person becomes.’

Finally, Paul adds, ‘Macbeth is a very famous play and in theatre circles there’s a tendency for people to ask a director: ‘What are you going to do with it?’. I always think it’s terribly important to remember that on any given performance, for a sizable number of people this will be a story which they’ve never seen before. So I look forward, hopefully, to telling the story freshly, for them.’

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