Dame Helen Mirren and Benedict Cumberbatch among stars set for Shakespeare anniversary show


Dame Helen Mirren, Benedict Cumberbatch and Gregory Porter are among a new batch of stars announced for a night celebrating Shakespeare's 400th anniversary.

With an audience including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will bring together acclaimed actors from David Suchet to Dame Judi Dench for a one-night extravaganza of Shakespeare-inspired works spanning genres from hip-hop to opera.

Shakespeare Live! will be hosted by David Tennant at the RSC's theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Dame Helen Mirren

The latest names to sign up to mark the Bard's death on April 23 include actors John Lithgow, Anthony Sher and Anne-Marie Duff, comedians Tim Minchin and Rufus Hound, and the cast of Horrible Histories, with music from The Shires and the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Gregory's filmed performance of Twelfth Night's When That I was a Little Tiny Boy joins musical offerings from previously announced names Rufus Wainwright and tenor Ian Bostridge.

Stratford's 65-piece Orchestra Of The Swan will accompany dancers from the Royal Ballet performing Prokofiev's Romeo And Juliet, while rapper Akala's musical theatre production company Hip Hop Shakespeare will offer new lyrics based on the playwright's works.

David Tennant is hosting the Shakespeare special

Other names already assembled by the RSC's artistic director Gregory Doran include Sir Ian McKellen, Alison Moyet, Joseph Fiennes, Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar and the English National Opera.

A ballot for tickets for the general public has closed, but Shakespeare Live! will be broadcast on BBC Two on April 23 at 8.30pm as part of the BBC Shakespeare Festival 2016, and screened live in 368 cinemas in the UK and Europe.