First look images – dynamic Macbeth cast in rehearsals at Leeds Playhouse

18th February 2024

Something exciting this way comes as the dynamic cast of a major restaging of Macbeth brings energy and insight to rehearsals at Leeds Playhouse.


The wickedly good cast is led by Hamilton and Bridgerton star Ash Hunter as Macbeth. He played Alexander Hamilton in the hit West End musical in 2018/19 and starred as Heathcliff in Emma Rice’s acclaimed production of Wuthering Heights at the National Theatre.


Jessica Baglow stars alongside him as Lady Macbeth in Director Amy Leach and Set & Costume Designer Hayley Grindle’s thrilling take on Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy. She achieved widespread acclaim in the role when the production was first staged at the Playhouse in 2022. Jessica has worked extensively in theatre, film and TV since childhood, appearing as a series regular in both ITV’s Where The Heart Is and the BBC’s Waterloo Road. Her extensive theatre credits include Pericles at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, for which she received an Ian Charleson Award Commendation.


Amy Leach, Deputy Artistic Director of Leeds Playhouse and Director of Macbeth, said: “Macbeth is a rich, exciting and rewarding play to direct – particularly when you’re blessed with such an incredible company of actors and creatives who bring drive, energy and complete commitment to everything they do. Together, we are creating a richly rendered world designed to grip an audience from the moment the lights go down.”


The adult cast includes: Adam Bassett as Macduff (A Christmas Carol, Hull Truck; A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labours Lost, Deafinitely Theatre; Hullraisers, Channel 4); Charlotte Arrowsmith as Lady Macduff/Witch (Troilus and Cressida, As You Like It and The Taming of the Shrew, Royal Shakespeare Company); Benjamin Cawley as Ross (Dr Who and Shetland, BBC One; Queen of Chapeltown, Leeds Playhouse; Dunsinane, Royal Shakespeare Company); Aosaf Afzal as Duncan/Doctor/Murderer (Mrs Sidhu Investigates, ITV; BAFTA Award-winning series How to be a Person, Channel 4/E4); Paul Brown as Lennox (Groan Ups, Vaudeville Theatre; Potted Potter, Ireland & US tour; EastEnders, BBC One); Karina Jones as Witch/Gentlewoman (Much Ado About Nothing, Sheffield Theatres/Ramps on the Moon; Measure for Measure and As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Company); Shahbaaz Khan as Malcolm/Murderer (Road, Northern Stage; Doctors, BBC One); Daniel Poyser as Banquo (Nine Night and The Crucible, Leeds Playhouse; Much Ado About Nothing, National Theatre; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Royal Exchange); and Elkanah Wilder as Witch/Messenger (Galatea, Brighton Festival; Brassic, Sky Max; The Chatterleys, BBC R4).


Four Leeds school students have been cast from the Playhouse’s Youth Theatre. Millie Soni, 12, a pupil at Allerton High School, and Kara Francis, 12, from Carr Manor Community School, have been cast as the child of Lord and Lady Macduff. Jayden Jhermaine Candala Seidi Dias, 13, from Cockburn School, and Josh Ndlovu, 14, from Trinity Academy, have been cast as Fleance, son of Banquo.

When it first staged Macbeth in 2022, the Playhouse welcomed 69 school groups from across Yorkshire, introducing more than 5,000 students to the excitement and lasting resonance of the play – and giving some of them their first electrifying experience of live theatre.


The Playhouse has added even more school-friendly matinee performances this time around and is offering schools an exciting programme of resources and activities connected with the production to bring additional depth and breadth to students’ appreciation of this incredible play.


The groundbreaking production is a feast for all the senses, created by an incredibly talented creative team that includes: Director Amy Leach (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Oliver Twist); Set & Costume Designer Hayley Grindle (Romeo and Juliet, National Theatre; Oliver Twist, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, Leeds Playhouse); Lighting Designer Chris Davey (Lord of the Flies, A Little Night Music and Maggie May, Leeds Playhouse; 42nd Street, Chatelet Theatre, Paris); Sound Designer & Composer Nicola T Chang (My Neighbour Totoro, Royal Shakespeare Company; Kerry Jackson, National Theatre; The Death of Ophelia, Shakespeare’s Globe); AD Consultant Benjamin Wilson (Much Ado About Nothing and Guys & Dolls, Sheffield Theatres; Lord of the Flies, Oliver Twist and Road, Leeds Playhouse); BSL Consultant Adam Bassett (as above); BSL Consultant Charlotte Arrowsmith (as above); Movement Director Georgina Lamb (original member of Frantic Assembly; Much Ado About Nothing, Comedy of Errors, Doctor Faustus, Shakespeare’s Globe); Fight Director Claire Llewellyn for RC-Annie Ltd (Peter Pan, Rose Theatre; Oklahoma!, The Young Vic; Life of Pi, UK tour); and Casting Director Lucy Casson (Hamilton, UK tour; Newsies, Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre; Lord of the Flies and Nine Night, Leeds Playhouse).


Listings information


A Leeds Playhouse production

Quarry Theatre

5-23 March

Press night: Thursday 7 March, 7.30pm

Box office: 0113 213 7700