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85-88 St Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4AU


Ended 18 Apr 2015 after 9 months

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A film about the world's greatest playwright makes a natural transition to the stage.

Closed 18 Apr 2015

Nominated for the Best New Comedy Olivier Award!

Based on the Academy Award-winning movie, Shakespeare in Love is a witty romantic comedy which follows the Bard as he embarks on a passionate love affair that would inspire one of his greatest works. Teeming with the sights and sounds of Elizabethan London, this adaptation boasts one of the largest casts ever assembled for a West End play.

Directed by John Madden and starring Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow, the 1998 film was a worldwide smash and won an astounding seven Oscars and three Baftas. Lee Hall, best known for writing Billy Elliot, has adapted Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard's original screenplay and prolific Shakespearean director Declan Donnellan will helm this stage adaptation. The cast is stacked with rising stars and old hands, and is led by Lucy Briggs Owen (Fortune's Fool) as Viola, and Tom Bateman (The Tunnel) as Shakespeare.

What is Shakespeare in Love About?

The year is 1593, and struggling playwright William Shakespeare is suffering from writer's block. His latest work, the provisionally titled Romeo and Ethel: The Pirate's Daughter, lies unfinished. The only problem is that his patron Philip Henslowe has already sold the rights. With the pressure on, Shakespeare starts auditioning for his Romeo. One actor, a young man named Thomas Kent, stands head and shoulders above the other hopefuls. However Kent is hiding a secret - he's not a young man at all! In reality, this impressive thespian is Viola de Lesseps, a young noblewoman with a passion for the theatre, who's determined to play the part even though women are forbidden from taking to the stage.

When Shakespeare discovers Lesseps true identity, the two begin a torrid love affair which transgresses every moral and social code of the day and inspires the playwright to complete the greatest love story he ever wrote: Romeo and Juliet.

Did You Know?

Dame Judi Dench won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Elizabeth I in the 1998 movie. Her total screen time was about 8 minutes, which comes second only to Beatrice Straight in 1976's Network as the briefest Oscar-winning performance ever.

Additional Information


Previews from: 2 July 2014

Opening night: 23 July 2014

Closing night: 18 April 2015


Suitable for audiences aged 12 and upwards

Run time

Approx two hours 30 minutes including interval

Show times


And before you stop reading

Please note, images used are from the previous cast of the show and will be updated soon.


Shall I compare thee to the film of thy basis, thou art more lovely and more intriguing.

So they made a play out of Shakespeare in Love, the film responsible for Gwyneth Paltrow's Oscar. And guess what? It's much better. more »

What You Say

5 reviews, average rating: (4.3 Stars)

Roma: “Heart-warming!”

We so enjoyed the play! Viola was amazing and Kit Marlowe rather stole the ... more

Audrey: “Such Good Entertainment!”

With seats in the Grand Circle last night I thoroughly enjoyed the producti... more

Anonymous: “Brilliant Adaption”

Went this evening with apprehension about how it could be brought to the st... more

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Please note: The term Noel Coward Theatre and/or Shakespeare In Love as well as all associated graphics, logos, and/or other tradermarks, tradenames or copyrights are the property of the Noel Coward Theatre and/or Shakespeare In Love and are used herein for factual descriptive purposes only. We are in no way associated with or authorized by the Noel Coward Theatre and/or Shakespeare In Love and neither that entity nor any of its affiliates have licensed or endorsed us to sell tickets, goods and or services in conjunction with their events.

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