Ncuti Gatwa commands the royal stage at the Coronation Concert

Finishing a weekend of festivities marking the coronation of the UK’s King Charles III, Windsor Castle plays host tonight to a special concert. And among those taking part was the next Doctor himself, Ncuti Gatwa. The historic event is the first time the castle grounds have been home to any kind of public concert. In fact there was an audience of 20,000 in attendance, with millions more watching at home. Gatwa took the lead in celebrating one area of the arts close to King Charles’ heart: William Shakespeare.

The piece was a unique collaboration between the Royal College of Arts, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Opera, the Royal Ballet, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, uniting all five for the first time. They came together for a special retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Mei Mac played Juliet opposite Ncuti Gatwa’s Romeo. Gatwa, who studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, wove a spell over the crowds alongside Mac. The pair’s gave a heartfelt and witty performance of an extract from Act I Scene V. Together they depicted Romeo and Juliet share a flirt… and their first kiss.



The performance was an unprecedented collaboration by all five Royal bodies dedicated to the Arts

He and Mac were supported by spectacular backdrops, projected onto Windsor Castle itself, supplied by the Royal College of Arts. The Royal College of Music and Royal Opera combined to provide a beautiful arrangement of Somewhere from West Side Story as accompaniment. Meanwhile, the Royal Ballet provided a counterpoint Romeo and Juliet, dancing in concert with Gatwa and Mac. It lead to a genuinely beautiful moment bringing the four performers, and their parallel performances, together. It all elevated the piece to something truly extraordinary.

All in all, it was a moment that Shakespeare himself could only have dreamed of.

And with viewers already clamouring on social media for a full production of Romeo and Juliet with Ncuti Gatwa and Mei Mac, it seems an unqualified success. Before taking to the stage, though, Gatwa had described appearing before the newly crowned King as “daunting.”

However, he expressed confidence in the power of Shakespeare to hit the common themes that bring us all together. “I feel like it lives, the word lives on the page,” he said, “He was just a man writing from his heart.” As his co-star Mei Mac also said, the Bard “wrote for the groundlings,” and the common people.

And now Romeo and Juliet has been the centrepoint for an unprecedented union of the arts to salute a newly crowned king.



Doctor Who 60th Anniversary poster (c) BBC Studios
Doctor Who 60th Anniversary poster (c) BBC Studios

Doctor Who returns in November with David Tennant for three 60th Anniversary specials on BBC One in the UK and Ireland, and Disney+ worldwide, ahead of Ncuti Gatwa’s first full episode at Christmas




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