Speed Reads

Get thee to the box office

Tom Hiddleston is playing Hamlet — but good luck getting tickets

For three weeks only, actor Tom Hiddleston will ask the age-old question: To be, or not to be?

Hiddleston is set to star in Kenneth Branagh's new production of Hamlet, which will debut in London on Sept. 1 at the 160-seat Jerwood Vanbrugh Theater. Seats are being sold solely through a ballot system, which opened Tuesday; randomly selected winners will be able to purchase a maximum of two tickets. No seats will be designated for the press, who will have to test their luck in the ballot like all others. In order to prevent scalping, tickets will only be available for pick-up an hour before each show, with documentation required for retrieval.

The production will benefit the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, which both Branagh and Hiddleston attended. All proceeds from the show will go toward RADA's Attenborough Campaign, which hopes to raise £20 million ($26.3 million) to fund the expansion of the academy's campus and enable increased financial support for students. The performance is being produced in collaboration with the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company.

Branagh is no stranger to Hamlet; the Oscar nominee played the young prince in the 1996 film version, which he directed and adapted himself. But while Branagh himself will not take the stage in this new version, other members of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company and RADA abound: Lolita Chakrabarti will portray Queen Gertrude to Nicholas Farrell's King Claudius, while Kathryn Wilder will play Ophelia. Embodying the hapless Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will be Ayesha Antoine and Eleanor de Rohan, respectively.