Brisbane Festival and Queensland Performing Arts Centre presents


QPAC - Cremorne Theatre
08 - 12 Sep


Select a session
Add to cart
This event has been added to your cart
go to cart Add more events
Dead Centre (IRE)
Australian Premiere Exclusive to Brisbane

William Shakespeare had one son. He named him Hamnet. Shakespeare then left home to pursue his career in the theatre, effectively abandoning his family. In 1596, he was told that the boy – who was then eleven years old – was seriously ill. By the time Shakespeare returned home, Hamnet had died. In 1599, Shakespeare wrote a play called Hamlet.

Hamnet is too young to understand Shakespeare. And he is one letter away from being a great man. We are too old to understand Hamnet. We meet in the middle, in a theatre.

From the makers of the multi award-winning productions LIPPY and Chekhov’s First Play (both seen at Brisbane Festival in 2016), Hamnet is a solo work for an 11-year-old boy. Using live video and dead video, Dead Centre attempts to bridge the gap between two generations.





Download the Hamnet program


From David Berthold, Brisbane Festival Artistic Director

Illustration: Shakespeare with family, Hamnet is behind him on the left; his two daughters Susanna and Judith are on the right and left of him; His wife, Anne Hathaway, is sitting in the chair on the right.

Dead Centre is one of the most alive and alert theatre companies in the world right now. I was so taken with them a couple of years ago that we welcomed them with three productions in 2016 – Chekhov’s First Play, LIPPY and Souvenir. We had to have them back. And Hamnet is a stunner.

This Irish company approaches so-called ‘great’ works from the live edges, not the dead centre. So they make the familiar fresh, but in a way (and I think this is one of their triumphs) that is utterly in the spirit of the canonical author. Hamnet, about Shakespeare’s son who died at 11, shares all the themes and concerns of Hamlet, but in a startling way. Hamnet carries with him all of Hamlet’s insecurities, but in a way that marks him as the most familiar of boys. After all, only one letter separates the famous from the forgotten.

In Hamnet, a boy of 11 stands on a stage in front of a large screen. He’s alone. He has lost his father and is in limbo. He can’t grow any older. “I’m not supposed to talk to strangers,” he says to us, “but how else am I going to find my Dad”? He drops his backpack and begins his story as the estranged son of a famous playwright. He wrestles with a great man he barely knew and a father he needs to know. A son who also needs his father to know him.

I’ve seen few shows that use technology as seamlessly, and as movingly, as Hamnet. The use of live and ‘dead‘ video is magical. It is a player in what is otherwise a solo work for an 11-year-old actor – the superb Aran Murphy – and one that I know will touch anyone who has dealt with fathers, sons and that pull to make a mark in the world. 

This performance contains non-sexual nudity and coarse language. Suitable for audiences 12+ years.
Dates Icon Dates
Select a session
Add to cart
This event has been added to your cart
go to cart Add more events


Brisbane Times Festival Conversations after performance - Tue 11 Sept

AUSLAN interpreted performance - Tue 11 Sept

Duration : 60 minutes

$42 - $48 + booking fee

Venue Icon Venue
QPAC - Cremorne Theatre

Corner Grey and Melbourne Streets
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
QLD 4101

Wheelchair accessible, assistive listening available
Getting There

Catch an Uber to your event! First-time riders can use code BRISFEST18 for up to $20 off their trip.

Parking: Paid car parks at QPAC and South Bank Parklands
Bus: Cultural Centre busway station
Train: South Brisbane train station
Ferry: South Bank ferry terminal
Visit TransLink for public transport options

You may also like...


Session expire warning

Your session is about to expire and your selected seats will be released. Would you like to continue to hold your selected seats?