Farinelli and The King Gets A West End Transfer


I know it’s only March, but so far ‘Farinelli and The King’ at The Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Playhouse has been far and away our favourite production of the year. Funny and poignant in equal measure and with a fantastic central performance from Mark Rylance, the only downside was that with a limited run in the cosy Sam Wanamaker it deserved a much bigger audience than could possibly see it. Thankfully Sonia Friedman Productions and the Globe agreed with me!

Shakespeare’s Globe and Sonia Friedman Productions are delighted to announce the West End transfer of Claire van Kampen’scritically-acclaimed new play Farinelli and the King, directed by John Dove, designed by Jonathan Fensom and starring Mark Rylance(Wolf Hall, Jerusalem), as King Philippe V of Spain.

The West End production will open in September 2015 for a strictly limited run at the Duke of York’s Theatre fresh from the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe, which completes its sell-out run on Sunday 8th March.

Set in eighteenth-century Spain, Claire van Kampen’s moving and mesmerising new play tells the intriguing true story of Farinelli, once the world’s most famous castrato and one of the greatest celebrities of his time, and his decision to trade fame and fortune in the opera-houses of Europe for a life of servitude at the court of King Philippe V.

This sumptuous and enchanting play explores the dynamics between Farinelli and the royal couple, featuring many of the exquisite arias first sung by Farinelli in the 1730’s. The Duke of York’s Theatre will be transformed for this beguiling and transporting production, lit almost exclusively by the glow of candle-light and with live music played on Baroque instruments.

Mark Rylance last appeared at the Globe in 2012 in Tim Carroll’s hugely lauded sell-out productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III, which subsequently enjoyed  phenomenally successful West End and Broadway runs, also produced by Sonia Friedman Productions. His other recent theatre credits include Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, (Royal Court, West End, Broadway) and this year he also starred as Thomas Cromwell in the BBC2 adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novel Wolf Hall.

Claire van Kampen, founding Director of Music, Shakespeare’s Globe has created music for over 45 productions there, including The Duchess of Malfi with Gemma Arterton. A theatre specialist on music and text of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, her stage credits also include original scores for Matthew Warchus’ Broadway productions of Boeing-Boeing. La Bete and True West. Claire’s television and film credits include Peter Kosminsky’s Wolf Hall, Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous and Christian Camargo’s Days and Nights.

Further details will be announced soon.

To register to receive further information on the production including on sale notification visit www.Farinellitheplay.com



Matt has been writing on all manner of subjects for over 15 years. He has written for a number of music magazines, made appearances on BBC Introducing and regularly contributed to local newspapers. These days he mostly writes about theatre, but also enjoys covering sport, especially rugby.

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