Manchester International Festival 2013: Sir Kenneth Branagh
We profile the man thought of by most as one of the the greatest Shakespearean actors of all time...

Manchester Evening News, 26 June 2013

Sir Kenneth Branagh comes to Manchester to play 'Macbeth' in the showcase event at this year's MIF and he is one of the main draws in the star-studded line-up.

It will be performed in a secret location not even the audience will find out until the last minute tickets for the play sold out in minutes, such is the demand to see Sir Kenneth perform in the flesh.

The cast also boasts ER actress Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth and Royal Shakespeare Company Africa's Ray Fearon as Macduff, who most recently played the title role in Julius Ceasar.

The multi-talented actor, who can seamlessly switch from stage to screen, delivered a Bafta-winning performance in BBC's 'Wallander'.

He has also starred in a string of Hollywood films, such as 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' and the once again critically acclaimed 'My Week With Marilyn'.

But the 52-year-old is best-loved, and best known for his acclaimed portrayals of Shakespeare's top leading characters in 'Othello', 'Hamlet', 'Henry V' (which earned him an Academy Award nomination) and 'Much Ado About Nothing'.

This time he is taking on the challenging and physical role of Macbeth in the open air (picnics and umbrellas at the ready) and it is expected to be one of his best acting performances to date.

One is understandably loath to go into the prophecy business given the outcome of 'Macbeth', but a compelling performance from Branagh looks to be a reasonably safe prediction.

'Macbeth', at a venue to announced in Manchester city centre (0844 375 2017) 4 to 20 July. There will be a National Theatre Live broadcast on 20 July.

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