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National Theatre Blog

Antony & Cleopatra | From the NT archive

William Shakespeare's historical tragedy about the love affair between Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Roman General Mark Antony has been performed twice before in the Olivier Theatre. Legendary director Peter Hall, former Artistic Director of the National Theatre, said one of the challenges to staging the play was finding the right actors: 'You have to have to find two actors who can embody what is said about [Antony and Cleopatra] in terms of charisma [and] handle some of the most difficult language in Shakespeare.' 

For his production of Antony & Cleopatra, Hall cast Judi Dench and Anthony Hopkins, and when the play was staged again in 1998 the parts were played by Alan Rickman and Helen Mirren. And now with a new production directed by Simon Godwin, Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo will add their names to that impressive list of actors.

Here's a look back at the previous NT productions of Antony & Cleopatra including production images, press night stumbles and escaped snakes!