Sir Kenneth Branagh will play Macbeth in Shakespeare's tragedy at the Manchester International Festival, according to the U.K.'s Daily Mail. The festival will run July 4 through 21, 2013. Exact dates for Macbeth have not yet been announced.
Director Rob Ashford, whose Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens this winter, will collaborate with Branagh on the the Bard’s bloodiest tale. Macbeth is a Scottish general who receives a prophecy from three witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the throne. He soon becomes a tyrannical ruler and commits more and more murders to protect himself. The bloodbath takes Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into realms of arrogance, madness and death.
Branagh is known for his film adaptations of Shakespeare's Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost and As You Like It. He was recently nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn. He also directed the 2011 summer blockbuster Thor. Ashford, who's Broadway credits include Promises, Promises and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, will choreograph and provide musical staging for the upcoming 85th Annual Academy Awards telecast.