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Lights, camera, action in Northumberland

Members of the cast and crew on the beach at Bamburgh.

Members of the cast and crew on the beach at Bamburgh.

 

This was the scene on the beach at Bamburgh earlier today as filming takes place for a new adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.

The north Northumberland village is the venue for some of the filming for a new big-screen version of the playwright’s famous Scottish tragedy.

Earlier this month, StudioCanal and Film4 announced the start of principal photography on See-Saw Films’ production of Macbeth, which will shoot for seven weeks in Scotland and England.

Directed by Justin Kurzel, Macbeth will star Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, alongside Paddy Considine, David Thewlis and Sean Harris.

Bamburgh Castle and the village’s beach have been used as locations for numerous films and television shows over the years, including Roman Polanski’s 1971 version of Macbeth.

Two of the most famous faces to come were Richard Burton, when he was filming Beckett, accompanied by Elizabeth Taylor.

Bamburgh Castle director Chris Calvert said: “We are having a bumper year for TV and film.

“We have had the Short Form Film Co here making a pilot for a childrens’ TV series based on William Shakespeare and his works and we had a production company here making Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, a seven-part series due for release around Christmas on the BBC.

“Screened recently was Walks Through History with Sir Tony Robinson, filmed last autumn. This was his second visit here as he had already done a Time Team Special here three years ago. Later this month, I have the BBC back again filming for a new religious programme due for release later this year. And of course the Macbeth people are here.

“I have also had interest from another three production companies; one for a programme about castles, one for a project for the BBC, and another that is secret.”

Explaining why the area is so popular, he added: “The castle and its location lends itself to a wide variety of subjects. The fact it has existed for so long in itself means the depth of history here covers hundreds of years. It’s proximity to the beach encouraged two of the production companies to come here.

“We are also able to provide them with the parking spaces they require for their units either up here at the castle or in the village. It also brings a lot of business into the village in terms of accommodation and using local companies.

“A major consideration for most production companies is cost and whilst we need to charge, we also recognise that the level of publicity that comes from being involved in, say, a major film is something worth a lot more. I like to feel we provide value for money for the companies who come here.”

 

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