Hamlet: Elizabeth Hawthorne plays Gertrude

Award-winning actress Elizabeth Hawthorne has played many of Shakespeare's great female roles: Rosalind in As You Like It, Viola in Twelfth Night, Hermoine in Winter's Tale, Isabella in Measure for Measure and Queen Margaret in Richard III.

This is her first time as Gertrude in Hamlet: "I'm tremendously excited and delighted beyond measure, but also looking forward with trepidation because Gertrude is a major role for an actress. The complexity of what's required and where she sits in relation to Hamlet is the nub of the affair."

She played Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice, directed by Michael Hurst and performed with Hurst a Shakespeare compilation in the This is It Millennium concert, directed by Mike Mizrahi.

Hawthorne won the New Zealand Film Awards best supporting actress for her role in Savage Honeymoon and was nominated for her supporting role in Jack Be Nimble. She won Theatre Actress of the Year for As You Like It and was nominated for A Streetcar Named Desire. She has been awarded the Order of New Zealand Merit (ONZM) for services to the theatre, recognition of consistent high quality work for Theatre Corporate, Mercury Theatre and Auckland Theatre Company.

Her most recent theatre production was the critically acclaimed The Graduate and she is currently on air in TV One's Spin Doctors. She is widely known for her portrayal of Julia Thornton on Shortland Street.

Other films include Peter Jackson's The Frighteners, Niki Caro's Memory and Desire and Jubilee, directed by Michael Hurst. Her television roles date back to Hanlon, A Woman of Good Character and Both Sides of the Fence and include Gloss, Marlin Bay, Greenstone and A Letter to Blanchy as well as the US TV shows filmed in New Zealand: Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess and Cleopatra 2525.

Michael Hurst plays Hamlet Anna Hewlett plays Ophelia Ray Trickitt plays Claudius

Christian Penny, Associate Director Cast List

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