Why would the most famous movie star in the world choose to do a play which everyone already knows? And what lures us back to the same plays, year after year? Richard Burton, newly married to Elizabeth Taylor, is to play the title role in an experimental new production of Hamlet under John Gielgud’s exacting direction. But as rehearsals progress, two ages of theatre collide and the collaboration between actor and director soon threatens to unravel. This fierce and funny new play by Jack Thorne offers a glimpse into the politics of a rehearsal room and the relationship between art and celebrity.

Motive and the Cue will be staged at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre from 20 April — 15 July 2023. Tickets can be booked here. 


A Neal Street co-production with The National Theatre, this new play, The Motive and the Cue, directed by Sam Mendes and written by Jack Thorne which will be staged at the NT's Lyttelton Theatre from April 2023. 

The production will feature Production Design by Es Devlin, Costume Design by Katrina Lindsay, Lighting by Jon Clark, Composing by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, Sound Design by Paul Arditti and Video Design by Luke Halls.  Associate director is Zoé Ford Burnett.

Key Creatives & Cast

Key Creatives:

Directed by Sam Mendes

Written by Jack Thorne

Production Design by Es Devlin

Costume Design by Katrina Lindsay

Lighting Design by Jon Clark

Composed by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell

Sound Design by Paul Arditti

Video Design by Luke Halls

Associate Director is Zoé Ford Burnett



Johnny Flynn

Mark Gatiss

Tuppence Middleton

Janie Dee

Aaron Anthony

Tom Babbage

Allan Corduner

Elena Delia

Ryan Ellsworth

Phoebe Horn

Aysha Kala

Luke Norris

Huw Parmenter

David Ricardo-Pearce

David Tarkenter

Kate Tydman

Laurence Ubong Williams

Michael Walters


National Theatre, London. April - July 2023