Booker winner Mantel says play next “logical step”

LONDON (Reuters) – Double Booker prize-winning author Hilary Mantel said the characters in her historical novels about the rise of Thomas Cromwell will take the next “logical step” to a stage adaptation at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) this year.

Mantel said in a video interview on the RSC website this week that she has always longed to give “solid form” to her depictions of Cromwell, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in her “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies” books.

“From the moment I started writing Wolf Hall the characters were fighting to be off the page,” Mantel said in the video.

The 60-year-old Mantel said she was delighted to have playwright Mike Poulton, whose works have garnered some of the theatre world’s top awards, recreate her novels for the stage.

“He’s the man who knows about the stagecraft,” she said. “I’m the one who knows the characters inside out.”

The first woman and first Briton to win the Booker twice for her novels set in Henry VIII’s court said she has been inspired by the RSC since the age of 15 when she went alone to its Stratford-upon-Avon home and watched four plays in three days.

“It was a shaping experience, so it really is a dream come true for me to have the opportunity to see the RSC present my plays,” she said.

Mantel is working on a third novel in the trilogy.

The RSC also said on Wednesday that David Tennant will star in the title role of “Richard II” in winter 2013, making his return five years after a turn as Hamlet which earned him a best Shakespearean performance trophy at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards in 2009.

“Both plays will be directed by Royal Court Associate Director Jeremy Herrin, making his RSC directing debut,” RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran said.

The world premiere of “Wendy & Peter Pan” by Ella Hickson and directed by Jonathan Munby will round out the winter season, the RSC said.

Tickets for the RSC’s winter 2013 season, which begins in October 2013 and runs until March 2014 will go on sale for members on February 11 and for the wider public on March 18, the RSC said.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato; editing by Patricia Reaney)

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