A new Macbeth production brings Shakespeare’s tragedy to east London this summer, as the 12-hour overnight show takes over three disused floors of the Balfron Tower in Poplar, from tonight until August 16.
This site specific play is a project by theatre company Rift – formerly RETZ, who staged a similarly immersive production of Kafka’s The Trial, in 2013. It has been directly inspired by the Balfron ex-council housing tower, a landmark of brutalist architecture from the 60s.
Felix Mortimer, one of Rift’s founders, said: “The building is violent and stark on the skyline. Visiting it and looking out from the roof is where the idea for Macbeth came from. Poplar is filled with Scottish names and Goldfinger, the architect, had such a clear but flawed view of the future – it seemed to harmonise well.”
Running from dusk till dawn, the play will take the audience through a meeting with the witches in a desolated car park to a banquet with the Macbeths in an old-fashioned hall.
The audience will stay overnight, sleeping in specially designed flats and will enjoy breakfast on the roof the following morning. Tickets to all performances are already sold out.
The Balfron Tower has recently turned into a creative hub offering artists temporary residence before a regeneration plan will turn the residential block into luxury flats for the private market.