Pericles, Prince of Tyre

Play by William Shakespeare and George Wilkins. Pericles, pursued by his enemies, is shipwrecked at Pentapolis, where he marries Princess Thaisa. Learning of Antiochus’ death, they sail for Tyre, but, during a storm, Thaisa is presumed dead in childbirth and is buried at sea. A grieving Pericles leaves Marina, the baby, with friends at Tarsus and wanders the seas for fourteen years. Meanwhile, Thaisa, washed ashore, is miraculously revived. Marina’s life is full of misfortune but, through twists of fate and divine intervention, the family is reunited at last.

It is thought that William Shakespeare wrote the second half of the play, from scene 9, with the first half written by somebody else, most likely to be George Wilkins.

The first significant production on the London stage in the 20th century was at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park in 1939. Although the play has been revived a number of times London, technically the only 'West End' production was presented at Her Majesty's in 1974 when Derek Jacobi played the title role.

1939: Regent's Park Open Air Theatre with Robert Eddison

1950: Rudolf Steiner Hall with Paul Scofield for Under Thirty Theatre Group

1958: Old Vic Theatre with John Neville cancelled

1973/74: Roundhouse / Her Majesty's Theatre with Derek Jacobi for Prospect Theatre

1980: Donmar Warehouse with Peter McEnery for RSC

1985: Donmar Warehouse with Andrew Collins for Cheek by Jowl

1990: Barbican Pit Theatre with Rob Edwards for RSC

1994: Olivier Theatre with Douglas Hodge for National Theatre

2002: Roundhouse with Ray Fearon for RSC

2003: Olivier Theatre with Masaaki Uchino in Japanese for Ninagawa Theatre Company

2003: Old Kent Road Warehouse with Kevork Malikyan for RSC/Cardboard Citizens

2005: Shakespeare's Globe Theatre with Robert Luckay / Corin Redgrave / John McEnery

2012: Shakespeare's Globe Theatre with Christos Loulis in Greek for National Theatre of Greece

2015: Sam Wanamaker Theatre with James Gamon for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

2018: Olivier Theatre with Ashley Zhangazha for Public Arts/National Theatre

Pericles in London - Previous Productions


1939 at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre with Robert Eddison

Opened 20 June 1939, Closed 1 July 1939 at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

The cast featured Robert Eddison as 'Pericles', Sylvia Coleridge as 'Thaisa', Margaret Vines as 'Marina', and D G Milford as 'Gower'.

The production included a ballet of 40 lead by ballerina Gerd Larsen in her first London appearance.

Directed by Robert Atkins, with choreography by Wendy Toye.


1950 at the Under Thirty Theatre Group Rudolf Steiner HallPaul Scofield

Sunday 2 July 1950 and Sunday 9 July 1950 at the Rudolf Steiner Hall

The cast featured Paul Scofield as 'Pericles', Daphne Slater as 'Thaisa'/'Marina', and Mary Morris as 'Gower'. The cast also included Donald Sinden, and his younger brother Leon Sinden.

Directed by John Harrison.

Presented by the Under Thirty Theatre Group.

Paul Scofield had played the title role of 'Pericles' and Daphne Slater had played the role of'Marina' in Nugent Monck's revival for the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford three years earlier in 1947.


1958 at the Old Vic Theatre with John Neville

April 1958 at Old Vic Theatre CANCELLED

The cast was due to featured John Neville in title role. It was initially postponed, but then cancelled.


1973 / 1974 Prospect Theatre at Roundhouse Her Majesty's Theatre with Derek Jacobi

Previewed 29 August 1973, Opened 30 August 1973, Closed 22 September 1973 (in repertory) at the Roundhouse
Previewed 24 May 1974, Opened 27 May 1974, Closed 22 June 1974 at Her Majesty's Theatre

The cast at the Roundhouse and Her Majesty's Theatre featured Derek Jacobi as 'Pericles', Marilyn Taylerson as 'Thaisa'/'Marina', Ronnie Stevens as 'Gower'.

Directed by Tony Robinson, with choreography by Eleanor Fazan, designs by Robin Archer, lighting by Michael Ouythwaite, and music by Carl Davis.

Presented by the Prospect Theatre, a transfer from the Edinburgh International Festival at the Lyceum Theatre in August 1973.

This production played in repertory at the Roundhouse with Peter Shaffer's The Royal Hunt of the Sun and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, before returning to London to play a straight-run by itself at the West End's Her Majesty's Theatre, with minor cast changes.


1980 at the RSC (Donmar) Warehouse with Peter McEnery

Previewed 9 May 1980, Opened 15 May 1980, Closed 31 May 1980 at the RSC (Donmar) Warehouse

The cast featured Peter McEnery as 'Pericles', Emma Williams as 'Thaisa', Julie Peasgood as 'Marina', and Griffith Jones as 'Gower', with Sharon Bower as 'Dionyza'/'Diana', Heather Canning as 'Lycorida'/'Bawd', Jeffery Dench as 'Antiochus'/'Pander', Robert Gwilym as 'Philemon'/'Leonine', Andrew Hawkins as 'Thaliard', John Matshikiza as 'Boult', Julie Peasgood as 'Antiochus' Daughter', Neil Phillips as ' Cleon', Clyde Pollitt as 'Cerimon', Christopher Ravenscroft as 'Lysimachus', and Hubert Rees as 'Simonides'.

Directed by Ron Daniels, with designs by Chris Dyer, lighting by Leo Leibovici, and music by Stephen Oliver.

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.


1985 at the Cheek by Jowl (Donmar) Warehouse with Andrew Collins

Opened 14 January 1985, Closed 19 January 1985 at the (Donmar) Warehouse

The cast featured Andrew Collins as 'Pericles', Sadie Shimmin as 'Thaisa'/'Dionyza', and Amanda Harris as 'Marina'/'Antiochus’ Daughter', with Simon Dormandy as 'Antiochus'/'Philemon'/'Leonine'/'Lysimachus', Martin Turner as 'Helicanus'/'Simonides'/'Pander', Duncan Bell as 'Cleon'/'Cerimon'/'Boult', and Dierdre Edwards as 'Lychorida'/'Bawd'/'Goddess Diana'.

Directed by Declan Donnellan, with choreography by Sara von Beers, movement by Ilan Reichel, sets by Nick Ormerod, costumes by Charlotte Humpston, and music by James Antony Ellis.

Presented by Cheek by Jowl.


1990 at the Barbican Pit with Rob Edwards

Previewed 4 April 1990, Opened 12 April 1990, Closed 1 November 1990 (in repertory) at the Barbican Pit

The cast featured Rob Edwards as 'Pericles', Sally Edwards as 'Thaisa'/'Diana', Suzan Sylvester as 'Marina', and Rudolph Walker as 'Gower', with Helen Blatch as 'Bawd'/'Cerimon', Michael Cadman as 'Antiochus'/'Pandar', Russell Dixon as 'Boult'/'Simonides', Ian Driver as 'Philemon', Jane Gwilliams as 'Lychorida', Randal Herley as 'Helicanus', Jane Maud as 'Dionyza', Sarah McVicar as 'Antiochus' Daughter', Harry Miller as 'Leonine', Niall Refoy as 'Thaliard', Ade Sapara as 'Lysimachus', Peter Theedom as 'Cleon', Sarah Booth, Dennis Clinton, Daniel Ryan, and Steven Waddington.

Directed by David Thacker, with choreography by Lesley Hutchison, designs by Fran Thompson, lighting by Jimmy Simmons, music by Mark Vibrans, and sound by Tim Oliver.

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

CASTING: Nigel Terry was originally playing the title role when this production was originally staged at the the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon at the Royal Shakespeare Company's base. Unfortunately, shortly before previews where due to start at London's Barbican Pit Theatre, Nigel Terry suffered a back injury, and therefore withdrew from the production. His role was taken by Rob Edwards who had been playing 'Lysimachus', while Ade Sapara, who was in the ensemble, took over as 'Lysimachus'.


1994 at the NT Olivier with Douglas Hodge

Previewed 13 May 1994, Opened 19 May 1994, Closed 18 August 1994 (in repertory) at the NT Olivier

The cast featured Douglas Hodge as 'Pericles', Joy Richardson as 'Thaisa', Susan Lynch as 'Marina', and Henry Goodman as 'Gower'/'Leonine', with Kathryn Hunter as 'Antiochus'/'Cerimon'/'Bawd', David Burke as 'Simonides', Selina Cadell as 'Helicanus', Anna Pons Carrera as 'Daughter of Antiochus'/'Philemon'/'Diana', Lennie James as 'Thaliard'/'Lysimachus', Toby Jones as 'Lychorida', Sam Kelly as 'Cleon', Jordi Cortes Molina as 'Philoten', Patrice Naiambana as 'Pander', Andrew Price as 'Escanes', Tom Yang as 'Dionyza', Philippe Giraudeau, Caroline Hall, Jennifer Scott Malden, Josh Sello Makhene, Anastasia Mulrooney, Colin Rae, Gregor Singleton, and Richard Wills-Cotton.

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, with designs by Mark Thompson, choreography by Jonathan Lunn, music by Gary Yershon, lighting by Rick Fisher, and sound by Paul Groothuis.


2002 at the RSC Roundhouse with Ray Fearon

Previewed 28 June 2002, Opened 5 July 2002, Closed 13 July 2002 at the Roundhouse

The cast featured Ray Fearon as 'Pericles', Lauren Ward as 'Thaisa', Kananu Kirimi as 'Marina', and Brian Protheroe as 'Gower', with Jude Akuwudike as 'Cerimon', Keith Bartlett as 'Cleon', Tom Beard as 'Lysimachus', Geff Francis as 'Antiochus'/'Pandar', Roger Frost as 'Helicanus', Gracy G Goldman as 'Philemon', Simon Gregor as 'Boult', Fiona Lait as 'Diana', Olwen May as 'Bawd', Jami Quarrell as 'Marshal', Sirine Saba as 'Antiochus' Daughter'/'Lychorida', Rolf Saxon as 'Simonides', James Staddon as 'Thaliard', Myra Lucretia Taylor as 'Dionyza', James Telfer as 'Leonine', Dylan Charles, Dan Crute, Felix Dexter, James Garnon, James Hyland, Alan Turkington, and Jerome Willis.

Directed by Adrian Noble, with choreography by Sue Lefton, aerial choreography by Gavin Marshall, designs by Peter McKintosh, lighting by Jean Kalman, music by Shaun Davey, and sound by Mic Pool.

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.


2003 at the NT Olivier Theatre (in Japanese) with Masaaki Uchino

Opened 28 March 2003, Closed 5 April 2003 at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre

The cast featured Masaaki Uchino as 'Pericles', Yuko Tanaka as 'Thaisa'/'Marina', and Masachika Ichimura as 'Gower'.

Directed by Yukio Ninagawa, with choreography by Kiyomi Maeda and Kinnosuke Hanayagi, sets by Tsukasa Nakagoshi, costumes by Lily Komine, lighting by Tamotsu Harada, music by Yasuhiro Kasamatsu, and sound by Masahiro Inoue.

Performed in Japanese, with English surtitles, for ten performances by the Ninagawa Theatre Company in a translation by Kazuko Matsuoka.


2003 at the RSC Old Kent Road Warehouse with Kevork Malikyan

Previewed 22 July 2003, Opened 24 July 2003, Closed 10 August 2003 at Old Kent Road Warehouse

The cast featured Christopher Simpson as 'Younger Pericles', Kevork Malikyan as 'Older Pericles', Jo Galbraith as 'Thaisa', and Jasmine Hyde as 'Marina', with Dele Adagunodo as 'Helicanus', Kammy Darweish as 'Pandar'/'Thaliard', Jake Goode as 'Antiochus'/'Boult', Andy Haase as 'Dionyza', David Mara as 'Cleon'/'Lysimachus', Nick Payne as 'Simonides', Dave Rogers as 'Cerimon'/'Leonine', and Adna Sabljic as 'Bawd'/'Lychorida'.

Directed by Adrian Jackson, with choreography by Liam Steel, movement by Liz Ranken, designs by Fred Meller, lighting by Peter Higton, and music and sound by David Baird.

A collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company and Cardboard Citizens, and performed in a temporary space named 'Old Kent Road Warehouse', located off the Old Kent Road in Southwark, London.


2005 at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre with Robert Luckay / Corin Redgrave / John McEnery

Previewed 20 May 2005, Opened 2 June 2005, Closed 1 October 2005 (in repertory) at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

The cast featured Robert Luckay as 'Young Pericles', Corin Redgrave as 'Pericles the Elder' (see casting note below), Hilary Tones as 'Thaisa'/'Dionyza', Laura Rees as 'Marina', and Patrice Naiambana as 'Gower'/'Cerimon', with Jude Akuwudike as 'Lysimachus'/'Antiochus', Matt Costain as 'Leonine'/'Thaliard'/'Escanes', Harry Gostelow as 'Cleon'/'Pandar', Matilda Layser as 'Diana'/'Antiochus' Daughter', Marcello Magni as 'Simonides'/'Boult'/'Helicanus', Jules Melvin as 'Bawd'/'Lychorida', Iisa Ilona Jantti, Victoria McManus, Alex Poulter, and Aaron Walker.

Directed by Kathryn Hunter, with choreography by Eva Magyar, aerial choreography by John Paul Zaccarini, movement by Glynn MacDonald, physical work by Marcello Magni, designs by Liz Cooke, and music by Stephen Warbeck.

CASTING: On the evening of Wednesday 8 June 2005, with no performance at the Globe Theatre, Corin Redgrave travelled to Essex to give a political speech (unconnected with the Globe) during which he suffered a severe heart attack which put him into a life-threatening critical condition. Mark Rylance, the Artistic Director of the Globe Theatre, initially took over the role of 'Pericles the Elder' for a couple of performances, before John McEnery was brought in to play the role for the rest of the season. Corin Redgrave survived the heart attack and was able to return to acting.

"Not only does Kathyrn Hunter come up with an invigorating psychological theory about this dream-struck, Shakespearian romance, she dares to defy the Globe's quasi-Elizabethan production policies by opting for modern-dress. Yet despite Miss Hunter's radical departures, her Pericles proves more interesting in theory than practice... Hunter's concept depends on the controversial notion that Pericles succumbs to a psychosexual crisis over the king of Antioch's incest. The play's narrator, Patrice Naiambana's Gower, is transformed into an African healer and singing musician, required to help Pericles recover his mental health by discovering where his life went wrong... Corin Redgrave as the older Pericles, instead of watching aghast as the story of his life is enacted, appears more semidetached than haunted... Robert Luckay's young Pericles, with a pronounced foreign accent and not an easily understood one, lacks the right fraught manner. This brave, colourful production never quite brings its bold ideas to fruition." The London Evening Standard

"Strange as it may be to believe, Pericles was one of Shakespeare's biggest hits in his lifetime. Nowadays it is now almost totally forgotten. I for one will be trying my best to forget Kathryn Hunter's dog's dinner of a production at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre... Like the hero, the story wanders all over the place, and it can be hard to keep up... Hunter's solution is to treat the whole thing, but especially the first chunk, as a piece of street theatre. If I tell you the narrator is a West Afirican storyteller and the finale consists of women in Hare Krishna costumes waving dish mops, you will get the idea... The point of the Globe is to make the Bard accessible by doing him in an engaging way. The director clearly thinks Pericles is too dull to show on its own terms, and she may be right But this Pedigree Chum production is the best argument for not doing it at all." The Daily Express

"Kathryn Hunter's production is up to all kinds of tricks with Pericles played by two actors and the role of the narrator Gower expanded into a stand-up comedy turn, with many lines undreamt of by Shakespeare. Six aerialists perform dazzling tricks on ropes, swinging over the stage and the audience as they conjure up the sea storms that are such a feature of the drama... Yet somehow it works, because Hunter and her company also find the play's emotional heart. The production achieves a moving emotional intensity that reduces the noisily enthusiastic audience to rapt silence as the endlessly suffering Pericles loses his wife and daughter then is miraculously reunited with them at the end... Corin Redgrave is exceptionally moving as the broken-down old Pericles, especially in the great recognition scenes at the end... There are also strong, deeply felt performances from Hilary Tones as the wife he lost at sea, and Laura Rees as his courageous, spirited daughter; entertaining clowning from Marcello Magni in a variety of roles; and terrific work from Patrice Naiambana as Gower, who comes on like a jaunty, joking West African griot musician. With a delightful world music score by Stephen Warbeck and a succession of breathtaking theatrical coups, this apparently irreverent production penetrates to the heart of this strange and beautiful play." The Daily Telegraph

Pericles in London at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre previewed from 20 May 2005, opened on 2 June 2005, and closed on 1 October 2005 (in repertory)


2012 at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (in Greek) with Christos Loulis

Opened 26 April 2012, Closed 27 April 2012 (two performances) at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

The cast featured Christos Loulis as 'Pericles', Maria Skoula as 'Thaisa', Stefania Goulioti as 'Marina'/'Antiochus' Daughter', and Dimitris Piatas as 'Gower', with Minas Chatzisavas as 'Thaliart'/'Cleon', Lydia Fotopoulou as 'Dionyza'/'Bawd'/'Diana', Giorgos Glastras as 'Antiochus'/'Cerimon'/'Leonine', Manolis Mavromatakis as 'Simonides'/'Bolt', Vasilis Papageorgiou as 'Musician', Kostas Vasardanis as 'Philemon'/'Lysimachus', and Giannis Vogiatzis as 'Helicanus'/'Pander'.

Directed by Giannis Houvardas, with costumes by Ioanna Tsami, lighting by Lefteris Pavlopoulos, and music by Melina Peonidou.

Performed in Greek by the National Theatre of Greece, Athens, in a translation by Dionisis Kapsalis.

Presented for two performances only as part of the 'Globe-to-Globe' Season when 37 international theatre companies presented every one of Shakespeare's plays in a different language over a six week period.


2015 at Globe's Sam Wanamaker Theatre with James Gamon

Previewed 19 November 2015, Opened 25 November 2015, Closed 21 April 2016 at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre at the Shakespeare's Globe

The cast featured James Gamon as 'Pericles', Dorothea Myer-Bennett as 'Thaisa'/'Dionyza', Jessica Baglow as 'Marina', and Sheila Reid as 'Gower', with Simon Armstrong as 'Antiochus'/'Simonides', Tia Bannon as 'Antiochus' Daughter', Sam Cox as 'Escanes'/'Cerimon', Steffan Donnelly as 'Lysimachus', Dennis Herdman as 'Bolt', Tom Kanji as 'Thaliard', Fergal McElherron as 'Helicanus'/'Pandar', Ryan McKen as 'Leonine', Daniel Rabin as 'Cleon', and Kirsty Woodward as 'Bawd'/'Lychorida'.

Directed by Dominic Dromgoole, with choreography by Sian Williams, designs by Jonathan Fensom, and music by Claire van Kampen.

"There's much to treasure in Dominic Dromgoole's intimate, candlelit production of Pericles, the first in the series of Shakespeare's late plays that will end his 10 years as director of the Globe... Though James Garnon struggles to bring life to the heavy dialogue, there is zest to be found elsewhere: Sheila Reid, as narrator, makes every word charmingly ethereal; Jessica Baglow is a big find as Marina; and there's promise aplenty in Steffan Donnelly's Lysimachus. Claire van Kampen's accompanying music is magical - and, with more work, the rest of the play could be, too." The Sunday Telegraph

"The director, Dominic Dromgoole, keeps the staging simple and makes great play with candlelight, as Sheila Reid's Gower first enters through a trapdoor, lit only by the candle she holds in her hand... James Garnon's truculent Pericles spends most of his life on the Mediterranean, at first fleeing his enemies, and then drowning in grief at the loss of both wife and daughter. There is a contemporary ring to the fate of Jessica Baglow's sturdy, resolute Marina, Pericles's daughter, who is trafficked by pirates and taken to a brothel on Lesbos... Oddly, the great recognition scene, in which Marina and Pericles are brought back together, is played for comedy rather than wonder, a false note in a vigorous production." The Sunday Times

Pericles in London at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre at the Shakespeare's Globe previewed from 19 November 2015, opened on 25 November 2015, and closed on 21 April 2016


2018 at Public Arts NT Olivier Theatre with Ashley Zhangazha

Previewed 26 August 2018, Opened 27 August 2018, Closed 28 August 2018 (three performances) at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre

Adapted from Shakespeare by Chris Bush, with music by Jim Fortune.

The cast featured Ashley Zhangazha as 'Pericles', Naana Agyei-Ampadu as 'Thaisa', and Audrey Brisson as 'Marina', with Les Devonshire as 'Helicanus', Ayesha Dharker as 'Simonida', Kevin Harvey as 'Boult', Sophie Mathieson-Medrano as 'Cerimon', Humfrey Mwanje as 'Pander', Deevan Nembhard as 'Antiochus', Garry Robson as 'Cleon', Blossom Sandra Cole as 'Dionyza', Olivia Small as 'Philoten', Tallulah-Grace Wheeler as 'Bawd', Malunga Yese as 'Diana', with a Community Ensemble of just over 200 including Archetype Dance Team, Ascension Eagles, Bhavan Centre Drummers, Faithworks Gospel Choir, London Bulgarian Choir, Manifest Nation, and Youthsayers Ska Band.

Directed by Emily Lin, with choreography by Robby Graham, designs by Fly Davis, lighting by Paule Constable, and sound by Paul Arditti.

Presented for a total of three performances only by the National Theatre in assocation with Public Acts for three 90-minute performances.