FEATURE: The National Theatre Hedda Gabler “for our times” touring to Glasgow

After a highly lauded run at the National Theatre, starring Ruth Wilson, the Ivo van Hove directed and Patrick Marber adapted version of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler has embarked on a UK tour. The tour stops off in Glasgow in January.

Glasgow Theatre Blog had the chance to meet the cast to talk about the production.

In this gripping production, Hedda is a woman for all times, her story, her psychological state and her situation are universal. Director Ivo van Hove adds: “Hedda Gabler is not a drama about a middle-class society in the 19th century, nor a drama about the conflicts between man and woman, but an existentialist play; a search for the meaning of life, unsympathetic, seeking the truth”. This enduring appeal is evidenced by the audiences it is attracting as it tours the country.

One of the most appealing aspects of this adaptation is that it credits the audience with intelligence. It eschews the need to be explicit in every detail, and is all the more compelling for it. The cast reveal that van Hove’s only wish was that the actors came to the rehearsal process knowing their lines, that excessive research on the characters’ backstory was not needed. Patrick Marber’s pin-sharp script lays out everything the actors, and in turn, the audience need to know.

There is a universally acknowledged gender imbalance in British theatre and almost daily revelations about sexual harassment and misconduct towards females in the arts. Ibsen has been credited with being among the first playwrights to give a strong voice to female characters and allow them to be firmly centre stage, and Hedda is often described as the female Hamlet, however, the cruelty and degradation with which she is treated at the hands of Brack in particular, can be uncomfortable for a modern audience. Accusations of sexism and misogyny have been levelled at the dramatist, accusations the cast argue are unfounded in this adaptation. To the audience member, it seems in van Hove’s production, Hedda displays many classic signs of depression, indeed if we take that as her state of mind, her inability to motivate herself out of her situation, is better understood. Coupled with Jan Versweyveld’s minimalist design with it’s awkward and unsettling set dressing, it accurately reflects the world as Hedda sees it. 


With an outstanding cast, this is a chance to see first hand this much-lauded production. It will be at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal from 15 – 20 January 2018. Booking link below.

Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Monday 15 – Saturday 20 January 2018

Book tickets for Glasgow Theatre Royal