The eighteenth Stafford Festival Shakespeare Production, one of Britain's leading open air drama productions, presented Hamlet - in the atmospheric grounds of Stafford Castle. The production by the Gatehouse Theatre ran from June 26th to July 12th 2008, boasting a number of rising stars including Joseph Millson - who played Agent Carter in the Bond movie Casino Royale, and Kellie Shirley, who you may know better as tomboy mechanic Carly Wicks from Eastenders. With a running time of 4 hours, it's known as one of the bard's most epic works - with themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption.
Rather than evoking a particular time or place the focus for the music was on creating mood and atmosphere and drew upon traditional Scandinavian rhythms and instrumentation, combined with modern electronic elements, giving the score a dramatic, filmic feel. Some cues were performed live by musicians who were part of the players travelling troupe. This involved working closely in rehearsals to fit the music to the action. Particularly challenging was the brief to compose music to underscore various soliloquies. This resulted in a drone-like ambience that gradually became more dissonant as it reflected Hamlet's increasing anguish.