by Heiner Müller


by Heiner Müller
12-28 NOVEMBER 2019


Volcano’s new production for Autumn 2019 was Heiner Müller’s infamous reworking of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, framing the domestic tragedy of Hamlet within the political machinations of Europe at twilight.

Volcano’s HAMLETMACHINE is no ordinary performance. Exploiting to the full the company’s cavernous home in a former High Street supermarket, we invite you on an astonishing journey from a museum of grim curiosities to a garden of delights; through corridors of power and pleasure to dungeons of detritus. Mixing live performance and bizarre exhibition with interactive and sensory elements, HAMLETMACHINE is a surprising, funny and disturbingly beautiful experience for audiences.

My main interest when I write plays is to destroy things. For thirty years Hamlet was for me an obsession, so I wrote a short text, Hamletmachine, with which I tried to destroy Hamlet. […] I think my strongest impulse is to reduce things down to their skeleton, to tear off their skin and their flesh. Then I’m finished with them.


Our first task was to demolish what had previously been built. On occasion this process of demolition was done carefully. At other times the play or the text crashed to the floor in a reckless fashion – there were casualties, and a lot of cleaning up to be done.

Paul Davies

A Radical Classic™ from Volcano

CAST: Cecilia Crossland, Christopher Elson, Mairi Phillips, Manon Wilkinson
Guest Hamlets: Adrian Metcalfe and James Scannell
Also featuring: Chris Carter; Franziska Müller; Krysha O’Sullivan

Conceived and directed by Paul Davies
Design by Guðný Hrund Sigurðardóttir
Movement Director: Catherine Bennett
Design Deputy and Wallpaper Design: Bourdon Brindille
Production & Technical Manager: Rich Andrew
Costume: Amy Barrett
Additional Carpentry: Eifion Porter
Production Assistant: Jenny Alderton

Additional R&D:
Mirain Fflur
Neal McWilliams
Rebecca Smith Williams

Text by Heiner Müller
English translation by Marc von Henning (Faber & Faber 1995)

Hamletmachine Dogs
Hamletmachine Chris & Celi II