Mark Rylance and Derek Jacobi to share a stage for Shakespeare show

Mark Rylance  (PA Wire)
Mark Rylance (PA Wire)

Theatrical giants Mark Rylance and Derek Jacobi will share a stage later this year to raise money for one of the capital’s newest theatres.

The pair will perform Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis - a poem from 1593 regarded as probably the Bard’s first published work - at the Marylebone Theatre.

It is part of the autumn/winter season at the venue which only opened its doors in September 2022.

Sir Derek Jacobi (PA Archive)
Sir Derek Jacobi (PA Archive)

The season includes The Last Word, a multimedia show based on the last words of women accused of political crimes in Russian courts, a “serious comedy” called What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank  and A Sherlock Carol which is a festive-themed take on the great detective.

Rylance, whose career includes a stint running Shakespeare’s Globe as well as Hollywood film roles, said: “In the early 1990's I was a month away from performing Venus and Adonis when the production had to be cancelled.

“Thirty years later, I am excited to be revisiting my plans to play Shakespeare's first known published work as part of a gala fundraiser for the Marylebone Theatre.

“This excellent new venue, of which I am a patron, stages original, wonderful plays, often in verse. I am delighted that my dear friend Derek Jacobi will be joining on stage to support a venue with a unique calling to explore and refresh the great classical tradition.”

The theatre also plans to increase its seating capacity from 200 to 266 seats in a bid to meet demand and expand its commercial power.Its Artistic Director Alexander J Gifford said the new season combined “the urgently political with the eternally poetic”.

He added: “Venus and Adonis is perhaps the most exquisite long poem in the English language. Performed by two of Shakespeare's greatest modern interpreters, Sir Mark Rylance and Sir Derek Jacobi, it will be the centre-piece of a gala fundraiser, whose goal is to secure the Marylebone'sfuture as a major, new producing house.”

Venus and Adonis will be performed on November 17 and tickets are on sale at the theatre’s website.