[Note: If you arrived at this page and are curious why our Hamlet has an all-female cast, please read this article.]

All roles are essential for this unabridged production which provides an opportunity for actors, depending on their interests, to gain stage experience even with minor time-commitments . There are over 25 other smaller speaking characters, and if 25 different people want to be a part of this historic production, that is possible. Ideally, the director would like eight actors to enact multiple roles each in addition to the major roles. If necessary we will hold open auditions in the Spring of 2022 for these and whichever non-speaking roles have not already been cast.

Anyone interested in an acting role, please send an email to info@orcasislandshakespeare.org.

If you are not familiar with the plot and characters, or if you would fain to reacquaint yourself with it, the following links are a good source. With SparkNotes’ No Fear Hamlet you can get a summary and read their edition online, side-by-side with an excellent modern language interpretation. You can also read or download the Folger’s Library Digital Edition of Hamlet online.

For our production, we will be using our own OISS edition. After the performance, we will publish the text online making it freely accessible to the public.

The text will be in the original Elizabethan English to fully appreciate the ‘music’ of the language which is a mix of prose and verse.

Our production will be relatively unabridged with some cuts out of necessity for a run-time of 3:30-4:00. As Shakespeare’s longest play, Hamlet is often abridged and staged with modern settings. Full-length productions are a rarity. And with our all-female cast, we will have a gem of a production!

Our Hamlet will be in three parts with two intermissions:

Part I (Act 1 Scene 1 through Act 2 Scene 2)
Part II (Act 3 Scene 1 through Act 4 Scene 4)
Part III (Act 4 Scene 5 through Act 5 Scene 2)

Speaking Roles

BARNARDO (Danish soldier, guard) (Approximate actor age range: 18+)
FRANCISCO (Danish soldier, guard) (Approximate actor age range: 18+)
MARCELLUS (Danish soldier, guard) (Approximate actor age range: 18+)
HORATIO*, friend to Hamlet and his confidant (Approximate actor age range: 18-30)
THE GHOST (Approximate actor age range: 40-60)
THE KING (CLAUDIUS)*, brother to the late King Hamlet (Approximate actor age range: 40-60)
CORNELIUS, Courtier and Ambassador to Norway (Approximate actor age range: 18+)
VOLTEMAND, Courtier and Ambassador to Norway (Approximate actor age range: 18+)
LAERTES* , brother to Ophelia (Approximate actor age range: 18-30)
POLONIUS* , father of Ophelia and Laertes, councilor to King Claudius (Approximate actor age range: 40-70)
HAMLET*, Prince of Denmark, son of the late King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude (Approximate actor age range: 18-25)
GERTRUDE * Queen Consort, widow of King Hamlet, now married to Claudius (Approximate actor age range: 40-60)
OPHELIA* (Approximate actor age range: 17-25)
REYNALDO, servant to Polonius (Approximate actor age range: 18+)
ROSENCRANTZ (Approximate actor age range: 18-30)
GUILDENSTERN (Approximate actor age range: 18-30)
First Player (will also play the Player King) (Approximate actor age range: 18-30)
and other tragedians from the city who enact The Murder of Gonzago:
â—Ź Prologue
â—Ź Player King (will also play the First Player role) (Approximate actor age range: 18-30)
â—Ź Player Queen (Approximate actor age range: 18-25)
â—Ź Lucianus (Approximate actor age range: 18-25)
FORTINBRAS, Prince of Norway (Approximate actor age range: 18-30)
A Captain in Fortinbras’s army (Approximate actor age range: 18+)
Gentlemen (Approximate actor age range: 18+)
Messenger (Approximate actor age range: 18+)
Sailors (Approximate actor age range: 18+)
Gravedigger (Approximate actor age range: 30+)
Gravedigger’s companion (Approximate actor age range: 18+)
Doctor of Divinity (Approximate actor age range: 30+)
OSRIC (Approximate actor age range: 18-30)
A Lord (Approximate actor age range: 18-30)
Ambassadors to Denmark from England (Approximate actor age range: 18+)

* Actors playing these roles will not be cast in additional roles.
All others may be doubled, tripled or as needed and desired by the players.

Non-speaking roles

Attendants, Lords, Guards, Musicians, Laertes’s Followers, Soldiers, Officers (Approximate actor age range: 17+)

Crew Positions Needed

While the cast is all-female by the artistic choice of the Director, ALL are welcome to be part of the production crew.

Assistant DirectorAssists Director in administration, maintains schedules, contacts cast, take notes during all rehearsals, etc. Serves as prompter at rehearsal once players are off-script. (May share any of these responsibilities with Stage Manager to reduce the time commitment on single person.).
PR/Marketing DirectorManages PR/Marketing tasks associated with the Hamlet production. Enlists and oversees volunteer task handlers.
Stage ManagerManages all back stage tasks during pre-production through closing night. Builds team of stage hands. During preproduction, may fill in for director’s assistant during rehearsals.
Assistant Stage ManagerAssists/acts in place of Stage Manager during preproduction rehearsals. During production run, the assistant stage manager will have one very important task: ensuring that all actors are in place and in character at least two minutes before their cue to enter stage.
Stage Hands
(several needed)
To be determined by the Stage Manager
Propmaster
(may be stage manager)
Acquires, builds, and coordinates props. Ensures proper placement during and after performances.
Lead CarpenterBuild sets pieces to specifications.
Build CrewTo be determined by Lead Carpenter
Costume ManagerResponsible for all costuming projects.
StitchersTo be determined by the Costume Manager
Lighting/A/V TechnicianChief gaffer, instrument hanger, QLab operator during shows.
Lighting/A/V Technician AssistantTo be determined by Lighting Technician
House ManagerManages the influx and outflux or theatergoers in the lobby and theater. Coordinates between the public and the production team. The personal “face” of the production.

Tentative Rehearsal Schedule

Hamlet, the King and Queen will begin working with the director in the Fall of 2021. The current plan for the cast is gradual immersion into the play with one or two table readings per week, a few hours each during January – March. Throughout April and May, we will work on individual scenes, a few times each week for a few hours. Actors will be off-book before June 1st, as we begin running the three parts of the show and blocking. The exact schedule will be determined by the individuals cast, however a Monday through Thursday evening schedule is anticipated, leaving everyone’s weekends free UNTIL the last three weeks of the production itself.

Those interested in roles should have a look at the tentative rehearsal schedule.