Richard Burton selected John Gielgud to direct him on broadway in HAMLET, because Richard Burton did hero worship John Gielgud. Elizabeth Taylor becomes the go-between between Richard Burton and John Gielgud. THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE is all about Broadway 1964, and during their production of HAMLET, exactly what happened between John Gielgud and Richard Burton, that became one of the biggest and most talked about conflicts in theatre history.

A very lovely and very touching play. THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE is one of the best plays, to be written about the theatrical rehearsal process. But moreover famously, this HAMLET had a very very difficult rehearsal process, and two books were written about this particular staging of HAMLET in 1964 on Broadway, and the production was a huge success. As THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE is based on real events, cleverly this play could be as close to theatrical perfection as you can get. All performances are just so convincing, and THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE is a craft masterclass showing precisely, why we do art and theatre.

THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE has Mark Gatiss as John Gielgud and Johnny Flynn as Richard Burton, plus Tuppence Middleton as Elizabeth Taylor. Deliciously directed with both flair and panache by Sam Mendes (The Lehman Trilogy, 1917, Skyfall).

THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE was written by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and was designed by Es Devlin (The Crucible). Clever, tight and colourful set design, is equally outstanding and immaculate.

The Evening Standard (UK) 2023 award-winning best new play, was filmed live during a sold-out run at the National Theatre, and will be screening in select Australian Cinemas from 5th April 2024 for a limited time. Highly Recommended. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This fierce and funny new play, starring Richard Burton (Johnny Flynn) as HAMLET, in an very experimental new Broadway production, under the most excellent and very exacting direction of John Gielgud (Mark Gatiss). Richard Burton (Johnny Flynn) is newly married to Elizabeth Taylor (Tuppence Middleton). Towards the end, and in a very subtle way, there is an amazing final scene, that literally gave me goosebumps, and ultimately made me cry.

THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE is inspired by “Letters from an Actor” written by William Redfield and “John Gielgud Directs Richard Burton in Hamlet” written by Richard L. Sterne. Two actors who appeared in the record breaking 1964 production of HAMLET on Broadway, and witnessed the project first hand.

A Co-production with Neal Street Productions.

EXPECT – Content advisory, there is some strong language, adult themes and adult concepts.

Filmed live on the Lyttelton stage at London’s National Theatre.

“HAMLET starring Richard Burton in the 1964 John Gielgud Broadway production” exists at youtube.com, allowing everyone to compare, actor Johnny Flynn with actor Richard Burton.

Running time of 160 minutes, including the 20-minute interval. 10-minute BTS video, is shown during the interval.

Sir John Gielgud’s programme note for the 1964 Broadway production of HAMLET –
Used with the permission of the Sir John Gielgud Charitable Trust. —

“This is a HAMLET acted in rehearsal clothes, stripped of all extraneous trappings, unencumbered by a reconstruction of any particular Historical Period. This performance is conceived as a final run-through, as actors call it. When a play has been thoroughly prepared, there is always a full final rehearsal of the text and action played straight through, without interruption from the director, John Gielgud”.



TICKETS – https://sharmillfilms.com.au/national-theatre-live/nt-live-the-motive-and-the-cue/

CINEMAS – https://themotiveandthecue.ntlive.com/

SYNOPSIS – https://themotiveandthecue.ntlive.com/synopsis/

IMDB – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt23781890/reference/

PRODUCERS – https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/whats-on/the-motive-and-the-cue/

VIDEO – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxs8fHwX1pE&



Sold-out awarding-winning hits, you will always have the best cinema seat in the house. Be part of a unique cinematic theatre experience and enjoy the best theatre performances filmed live from the beating heart of theatre and Britain’s most exciting stages in London. With state-of-the-art filming techniques, bringing you each performance as it happens, in all its glory. From close-ups that capture every flicker of emotion, to sweeping wide shots of the stage.


Featured photo – THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE at the National Theatre by Jack Thorne
A co-production with Neal Street Productions
STARRING – Aaron Anthony, Tom Babbage, Allan Corduner, Janie Dee, Elena Delia, Ryan Ellsworth, Johnny Flynn, Mark Gatiss, Phoebe Horn, Aysha Kala, Tuppence Middleton

The Motive and the Cue at the National Theatre
by Jack Thorne
A co-production with Neal Street Productions
Aaron Anthony, Tom Babbage, Allan Corduner, Janie Dee, Elena Delia, Ryan Ellsworth, Johnny Flynn, Mark Gatiss, Phoebe Horn, Aysha Kala, Tuppence Middleton, Luke Norris, Huw Parmenter, David Ricardo-Pearce, David Tarkenter, Kate Tydman, Laurence Ubong Williams and Michael Walters
Production team
Sam Mendes
Set Designer
Es Devlin
Costume Designer
Katrina Lindsay
Lighting Designer
Jon Clark
Benjamin Kwasi Burrell
Sound Designer
Paul Arditti
Video Designer
Luke Halls
Alastair Coomer CDG
Naomi Downham
Associate Director
Zoé Ford Burnett
Associate Set Designer
Amalie White
Staff Director
Yasmin Hafesji