Cush Jumbo joins David Tennant in the Donmar Warehouse’s Macbeth in autumn 2023

Cush Jumbo for ES Magazine (Lauren Ma​ccabee)
Cush Jumbo for ES Magazine (Lauren Ma​ccabee)

Cush Jumbo will play Lady Macbeth in the Donmar Warehouse’s newly announced production of Macbeth, which is set to open in December for an eight-week run. She will join David Tennant, who will play the title role.

Donmar associate director Max Webster will direct the new production; it will be one of two shows that will conclude the Donmar’s 30th birthday celebrations, as well as the 2023 programme.

Macbeth tickets went on sale this morning and have already sold out.

Jumbo’s most recent Shakespearean role was as Hamlet at the Young Vic in 2021; she was nominated for an Olivier award for her performance. “You really can’t have much more of a workout than that,” she said. “You come back with much stronger muscles for next time.”

Jumbo also played Mark Antony in Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female production of Julius Caesar, which was performed at the Donmar in 2012.

More recently Jumbo has starred in the Netflix miniseries Stay Close, and the BritBox thriller series The Beast Must Die. Next up she will appear in the upcoming Apple TV+ crime series Criminal Record.

Macbeth will be Tennant’s first stage performance in over a year. The Scottish actor last trod the boards in 2022, when he starred in Cecil Philip Taylor’s Good at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End. The 52-year-old has played Macbeth before, but in a BBC Radio 4 production of the play, which aired last year.

“The first Shakespeare I ever read was Macbeth. It’s a play that has haunted me for as long as I can remember,” Tennant told the BBC. “To be playing this part, in the unique and intimate Donmar Warehouse... is daunting and humbling, but most of all... thrilling.”

“I am so excited to witness David Tennant’s portrayal of Macbeth, in what will be an unmissable production” said artistic director Michael Longhurst, who is stepping down from his role next year.

Who's on: Fans queue for tickets to see David Tennant in Hamlet
Who's on: Fans queue for tickets to see David Tennant in Hamlet

Tennant has also starred as Richard II in a Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production from 2013 to 2014 and again in 2016, but most famously perhaps played Hamlet, in the RSC production of the play that ran at the Novello Theatre in 2008.

At the time, his performance won rave reviews, with The Guardian saying, “This is a Hamlet of quicksilver intelligence, mimetic vigour and wild humour: one of the funniest I’ve ever seen,” and, “David Tennant is the best RSC Hamlet in years.”

Tennant has also starred in countless other Shakespeare productions, including Much Ado About Nothing in 2011, in which he played Benedick opposite Catherine Tate’s Beatrice; Love’s Labour’s Lost where he played Berowne (2008); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where he played Lysander (2001); Romeo and Juliet – obviously Romeo (2000); King Lear where he played Edgar (1999), and As You Like It, in which he played Touchstone (1996).

Tennant will also be making his return to the screen in November this year, as Doctor Who, starring in a series of special 60th anniversary episodes written by Russell T Davies.

The second play announced to conclude the Donmar’s 2023 programme will be the European première of double Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage’s CLYDE’S, a play about the staff and customers at a truck stop diner in Pennsylvania which is staffed by formerly incarcerated people.

The play will see New York writer Nottage reunite with director Lynette Linton, who helmed Nottage’s play Sweat at the Donmar in 2018-19. The production, which starred the American actress Martha Plimpton, won Best Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in 2019, and enjoyed a sold-out run at the Donmar before transferring to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre. CLYDE’S will run at the Donmar from October 19 to December 2.

Macbeth, December 15 to February 10;