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Trafalgar Theatre Productions, Eilene Davidson Productions and Alan Howard, in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company, present the Watford Palace Theatre & HOME Manchester production of



Ambition, power and political unrest explode onto the stage in The Merchant of Venice 1936, direct from the RSC. Starring Tracy-Ann Oberman (EastEnders, Doctor Who) as Shylock, Shakespeare’s classic is transported to 1930s Britain in this “striking and impactful” (Guardian) new production that “makes theatre history” (The Telegraph), from acclaimed director Brigid Larmour.

Tensions in London’s East End are rising and Shylock, a resilient single mother and hard-working businesswoman, is desperate to protect her daughter’s future. When the charismatic merchant Antonio comes to her for a loan, a high-stakes deal is struck. Will Shylock take her revenge, and who will pay the ultimate price?

If you prick us do we not bleed?

If you poison us do we not die?

And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?

Don’t miss this unforgettable, electrifying new production of The Merchant of Venice, a “fascinating and timely” (Daily Mail) reminder of a key moment in British history.

RSC Audience Reactions

Audience Reactions



Tracy-Ann Oberman

Extensive theatre credits include: Mother of Him (Park Theatre, Offie Nomination Best Actress); Pinter at The Pinter – Celebration /Party Time (Jamie Lloyd season at The Harold Pinter Theatre); Noises Off (40th anniversary tour and West End); The Windsors (Prince of Wales Theatre); Pack Of Lies (Menier Theatre); Fiddler on the Roof as Golde (Chichester Festival Theatre); Present Laughter (Chichester Festival Theatre); Stepping Out (Vaudeville Theatre); McQueen (Haymarket); Edmond (National Theatre); Boeing-Boeing (Harold Pinter Theatre); Hello and Goodbye (Athol Fugard at Southwark Playhouse); Tamburlaine, The Changeling, Jovial Crew and Macbeth (RSC); Loot (Vaudeville / CFT); Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Chichester Festival Theatre); Two (Minerva CFT).

Television credits include: BBC One anti-fascist thriller Ridley Road; Russell T Davies’ award-winning Channel 4 series, It’s a Sin; Toast of London (National Comedy Award Best Series winner); Toast of Tinseltown (BBC1); After Life (with Ricky Gervais  for Netflix); all seven series of the multi-award winning Friday Night Dinner (Netflix and Channel 4); Sky One’s Code 404 (3 series) opposite Stephen Graham and Daniel Mays; Shakespeare and Hathaway (BBC1); series regular Fiona Miller in New Tricks (BBC); Sandylands (Gold); Midsummer Murders (ITV); Grantchester (ITV); Diane From Accounts (Sky One); Bob Martin (ITV); Murder in Suburbia (ITV); The Last Detective (ITV); Robin Hood (BBC1); Plebs (ITV); Hoff The Record (Sky); Dad’s Army – The Lost Episodes (BBC miniseries); Siblings (Channel 4); Zapped (Channel 4); Big Train (Channel 4); Lenny Henry in Pieces (BBC); Chrissie Watts in EastEnders (NTV nominated Best Actress and Best Newcomer, BBC)  and as Yvonne Hartman in Doctor Who (BBC).

Film credits include: Where is Anne Frank (Ari Folman); Moomins on The Riviera (Mamma Moomin); The Infidel; Filth; Casanova Variations; Night of The Broken; Hector and the Search For Happiness; Marion and Geoff- A Small Summer Party.

She has appeared and written in over 600 radio plays, comedies and sketch shows. As a playwright, she has written a number of well-received Radio 4 plays, including Bette and Joan and Baby Jane; Mrs Robinson I Presume; Rock and Doris and Elizabeth and most recently That Dinner of ‘67 starring Kenneth Branagh, which was nominated for Best Single Drama at BBC Audio Awards. She has just written and recorded her latest BBC Radio 4 play Turning Point: Mae West, in which she plays Mae. Tracy-Ann also originated and co-created Jews. In Their Own Words for the Royal Court Theatre with Vicky Featherstone and Jonathan Freedland.


Raymond Coulthard

Raymond trained at the Bristol Old Vic and has worked extensively in television, theatre and in film.

On stage, Raymond has performed leading roles at the RSC, National Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Theatre Royal Bath and Chichester Festival Theatre, amongst many others. He played Antonio alongside Tracy-Ann Oberman’s Shylock in the first production of The Merchant of Venice: 1936, and will reprise his role in the Autumn 2023 tour.

His numerous television credits include regulars in Mr Selfridge and Hotel Babylon. Other recent television credits include, The Rook, Gentleman Jack, and Sister Boniface.

His film credits include The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Best Man, Eisenstein, The English Patient, and Red Joan.


Hannah Morrish

Hannah trained at Drama Centre London.
Her extensive theatre credits include Darkest Part of the Night (Kiln Theatre), All’s Well That Ends Well, Cancelling Socrates (Jermyn Street Theatre), Antony and Cleopatra (National Theatre), Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus (RSC/Barbican) and Arms and the Man (Watford Palace Theatre).
Her TV credits include Father Brown and Call the Midwife.
Hannah is the recipient of the following awards:
Ian Charleson Award Second Prize 2018 for Octavia in Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre
Ian Charleson Award Commendation 2017 for Lavinia in Titus Andronicus at the RSC
Hannah recently wrote and starred in short film CERES alongside Juliet Stevenson.


Gavin Fowler

Theatre includes: Henry V (GSC); A Christmas Carol (RSC); Alls Well Ends Well, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Robin Hood (GSC); Dorian Gray (Richmond & Tour); Troilus & Cressida, Salome, The Winters Tale, The Taming of the Shrew (RSC); King Lear (ATG); First Episode (Jermyn Street); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (MGC); The Sydicate, Dr Faustus (Chichester Festival Theatre); Too Much Pressure (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry)

Television includes: Coloseum (October Films) Clan of the Cavebear (Fox); Penny Dreadful Season 1 (Showtime); Margot and Mez and Count Arthur Strong’s Entertainment Game (Talkback Thames).

Film includes: Repeat, The Vintage, Delight, and Neville Rumble

Gavin was a recipient of the Olivier Bursary scheme, previously nominated for an Ian Charleson Award and won Best Actor National Student Drama Festival. He was a member of NYT.


Jessica Dennis

Training: East 15 Acting School

Theatre includes: The Habit of Art (Original Theatre, 59E59 Theater) Robin Hood (Theatre Royal Bury Dt Edmunds, Boeing Boeing (London Classic Theatre), Jack and the Beanstalk (Stephen Joseph Theatre), Twelfth Night, Romeo + Juliet (The Orange Tree Theatre), Henry V + The Tempest (Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, York), Offside (Futures Theatre), Macbeth, Frankenstein, A Christmas Carol (Box Clever), Property of Polka, The Wind in the Willows (Polka Theatre), Meet Me In The Ruins (Belgrade Theatre), Redder than Roses, The Woman on the Bridge (Buxton Festival), Million Dollar Quartet (Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, Mumbai), The Deranged Marriage (Rifco Arts).

Audio Drama: Jessica is a voice over artist, singer and a regular performer for The Wireless Theatre Company for whom she has appeared in many audio dramas, including productions for BBC Radio 4 and Audible. Jessica can currently be heard voicing the central character, Ruby in Night of the Living Dread (BAFTA nominated for Best British Short Animation 2022).


Gráinne Dromgoole

Training: National Youth Theatre, Oxford School of Drama

Theatre includes: Romeo and Juliet (Cambridge Arts Theatre), Walk Swiftly and With Purpose (Theatre503) 39 and Counting (Park Theatre), Baby, What Blessings (Golden Goose Theatre), The Dance of Death (Arcola Theatre) and Ripe Tomato (VAULT Festival).

Radio includes: In the Absence of Geoff (BBC3), The Night They Tried to Kidnap the Prime Minister (BBC4) and Crooked House (BBC4).

Gratiano/Police Constable

Xavier Starr

Xavier Starr has just graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Productions since graduating include ‘The Mechanicals Presents… Macbeth or Julius Caesar’ (Play Nicely Theatre), an open air theatre tour of the south of England, and ‘Parablesque’ (Patrick Productions), a short film depicting a series of Kafka short stories.


Priyank Morjaria

Training: Royal Central School of Speech & Drama

Theatre includes: Romeo & Juliet (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), The Open (The Space), Kettled (Soho Theatre), The Pit and the Pendulum (Second Skin Theatre), Rominic (Soho Theatre), Nothing as it Seems (Soho Theatre), Mazloom (National Tour), Invisible (Lantern Theatre)

Yuval/The Duke/Balthasar (Portia’s Butler)/Blackshirt (Member of the British Union of Fascists)

Alex Zur

Alex trained at Drama Studio London and East 15 Acting School.

Theatre credits include: Horatio in Hamlet (Southwark Playhouse), Macbeth in Macbeth (Young Shakespeare Company), Zachir in A Level Playing Field (Riverside Studios), Kent in Edward II (Greenwich Theatre).

TV/Radio credits include: Toby in Casualty (BBC Studios), Kalman in Yentl the Yeshiva Boy (BBC Radio 4), Jake in Cucumber (Channel 4).

Stefania (Portia’s Maid)/Blackshirt (Member of the British Union of Fascists)

Nancy Farino

Nancy trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Theatre credits include: Maria in Dare You Say Please (King’s Head Theatre), Carol in North of Providence, Lucy/Tiffany/Rebecca in The Laramie Project and Freya in Earthquakes of London (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School).

Television credits include: Audrey in Masters of the Air (Apple TV), Holly Berry in Anatomy of a Scandal (Netflix) and Lily in Casualty (BBC).
Film credits include: Amber in Midnight Ride (Sonderby Films).

Other parts played by members of the ensemble




Brigid Larmour is an experienced director of Shakespeare and Jacobean text, and is Associate Artistic Director of Patsy Rodenburg Associates, where she teaches directing and playing Shakespeare, text work for actors, and stagecraft. –

A producer, director, dramaturg, teacher and cultural leader with extensive experience in the subsidised and commercial theatre and television, she recently stepped down after 17 years as Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Watford Palace Theatre. She invited Rifco Theatre, tiata fahodzi and other companies and freelancers to become Creative Associates of Watford Palace, co-producing their work, and produced or directed new plays by Timberlake Wertenbaker, Arinze Kene, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Mike Bartlett, Pravesh Kumar, Tom Wells, Zodwa Nyoni, Charlotte Keatley and Marks and Gran, among others.

From 1998 to 2006 she was Artistic Director of West End company Act Productions, and adviser to BBC4 Plays. From 1993 to 1998 she directed a series of promenade Shakespeares, Shakespeare Unplugged, for RNT Education. From 1989 to 1994 she was Artistic Director of Contact Theatre, Manchester, commissioning the first British plays responding to the rave scene (Excess/XS), and the implications of virtual reality (Strange Attractors, a multimedia promenade production in association with Granada TV, by Manchester poet Kevin Fegan). As Associate Director at Contact she championed and directed Charlotte Keatley’s game-changing My Mother Said I Never Should; having been rejected by all the major new writing theatres, it was then produced around the world – making Keatley the most performed female playwright after Agatha Christie! – and became a GCSE set text. Her 1980 Edinburgh Fringe production of The Roaring Girl brought this Jacobean comedy back into the UK repertoire and it has since been produced twice by the RSC. She trained at the RSC, and as a studio director at Granada TV. Her 2022 Pitlochry Festival Theatre/Watford Palace production of Little Women, adapted by Anne-Marie Casey, is revived at HOME in Manchester for Christmas 2024.

Liz Cooke

Costume & Set Designer

Rory Beaton

Lighting Designer

Erran Baron Cohen


Sarah Weltman

Sound Designer

Annabel Arden & Richard Katz

Artistic Associates

Matt Ledbury

Production Manager

Greta Zabulyte

Video Editor