The Merchant of Venice 1936 is visiting venues across the UK this year starring Tracy-Ann Oberman.
Watford Palace Theatre’s new reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic relocates the action to an electrifying new setting; London in 1936.
Tracy-Ann Oberman (EastEnders, Doctor Who, Friday Night Dinner) plays Shylock in the new production.
With the city on the brink of political unrest, fascism sweeping across Europe and Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists threatening a paramilitary march through the Jewish East End, strong-willed single mother Shylock runs a pawnbroking business from her house in Cable Street where Mosley will march. When charismatic, antisemitic aristocrat Antonio comes to her for a loan, a high-stakes deal is struck. Will Shylock take her revenge, and who will pay the ultimate price?
The Merchant of Venice 1936 tour dates and tickets
28 November 2023 - 2 December 2023
24 January 2024 - 10 February 2024
About the show
Also on the cast are Hannah Morrish, Raymond Coulthard, Jessica Dennis, Xavier Starr, Priyank Morjaria and Alex Zur.
From director Brigid Larmour, the production has costume and set design by Liz Cooke, lighting design Rory Beaton and sound design is by Sarah Weltman. The composer is Erran Baron Cohen.
A reminder of a key moment in British history, The Merchant of Venice 1936 made its premiere at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2023.
Tracy-Ann Oberman said: “It has a been a lifelong dream of mine to bring this play to the stage in a new way, reimagining Shylock as a one of the tough, no-nonsense Jewish matriarchs I grew up around. I am delighted this project is finally happening, and look forward to sparking debate and enlightening people about a pivotal but largely forgotten part of British history – just how close the establishment were to Oswald Mosley and his British Union Of Fascists.”
For more information, visit merchantofvenice1936.co.uk
Shakespeare wrote the original The Merchant of Venice between 1596 and 1599. It revolves around a merchant, Antonio, who borrows money from Shylock, a Jewish lender, to help his friend Bassanio. The deal allows Shylock to claim a pound of Antonio’s flesh if he defaults. Antonio’s failure to repay leads to a dramatic court scene. Portia, disguised as a lawyer, saves Antonio with a clever legal argument. The play delves into themes of justice, mercy, and prejudice.