Text by Bush Moukarzel, Ben Kidd and William Shakespeare

Grief fills the room up of my absent child

King John, Act III Scene iv

William Shakespeare had one son. He named him Hamnet. Shakespeare then left home to pursue his career in the theatre, effectively abandoning his family. In 1596, he was told that the boy - who was then eleven years old - was seriously ill. By the time Shakespeare reached Stratford, Hamnet had died.

In 1599, Shakespeare wrote a play called Hamlet.

Hamnet is too young to understand Shakespeare. And he is one letter away from being a great man. We are too old to understand Hamnet.
How close are we to greatness? We meet in the middle, in a theatre, in purgatory: youth reaching forward to a life it will never know,
an audience reaching back to a life it has forgotten. Hamnet must be shielded from the secret of adulthood: that we don’t know what we’re doing.

Performed by Ollie West

Set Design Andrew Clancy
Costumes and Effects Grace O'Hara
Light Stephen Dodd
Sound Design Kevin Gleeson
Video Design Jose Miguel Jimenez
Choreography Liv O'Donoghue

Stage Manager Barbara Hughes
Production Manager Nic Ree

Dramaturg Michael West
Produced by Rachel Murray and Matthew Smyth
Direction Bush Moukarzel and Ben Kidd

For all touring info, please contact info@deadcentre.org

Hamnet demonstrates the tragic experience par excellence: he asks the question why thinking leads so rarely to action…. a highlight of the festival.
Berliner Zeitung

An extraordinarily fascinating and moving disposition on the meaning of life and particularly of death. That Hamnet is played by Ollie West, an 11-year-old actor of extraordinary natural talent and an irresistible combination of innocence and intellectual curiosity, makes it even more impressive, indeed almost frightening.
Independent on Sunday

This fascinating production takes us into a child’s view of the world, without any sentimentality.
The Guardian


Hamnet is a co-production with the Abbey Theatre. The world premiere took place at  Schaubuhne, Berlin as part of F.I.N.D. Festival.
The Irish Premiere took place at the Abbey Theatre as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2017.

Created with the help of The Arts Council, Ireland and Culture Ireland. With thanks to Jenny Hall