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The Emperor

By Ryszard Kapuściński

Adapted by Colin Teevan

3 - 24 Sept 

A Young Vic, HOME and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg co-production

The Maria

Behind the Scenes

Show information

"His Majesty knew that a joke was a dangerous form of opposition."

Master of transformation Kathryn Hunter brings to life an extraordinary fable of corruption, avarice and the collapse of absolute power - from the team behind the international success Kafka’s Monkey. 

A world premiere based on the astonishing book about Ethiopia's Haile Selassie by legendary journalist Ryszard Kapuściński.

Hunter creates a mesmerising cast of characters, all servants to an autocratic ruler on the brink of downfall. In a kingdom obsessed with title and tradition, the lowly and the loyal have incredible stories to tell.

Featuring live music from Temesgen Zeleke.  

Witty and haunting production - Hunter is particularly powerful
The Independent

Kathryn Hunter - the evening belongs to her.  It could very well be the stage performance of the year.
The Sunday Time

Kathryn Hunter's shape-shifting brilliance
The Observer 

The Emperor is a study in love – it’s also incredibly moving.
Time Out

The astonishing shape-shifting Kathryn Hunter – in this shrewd and resonant account of Haile Selassie’s fall from grace. 
The Guardian 

Intriguing and unsettling - Hunter's presence is mesmeric
Evening Standard  

A tour de force performance from Kathryn Hunter.
The Financial Times

Colin Teevan’s perfect adaptation.  Kathryn Hunter spellbinds. The triumph is shared by everybody involved. 
Arts Desk  

A great actor in action.  Kathryn Hunter is one of the best.  A richly absorbing hour.

Crowd-bewitching magic from Kathryn Hunter
The Spectator 

A production that will stay with me for life.
Matthew Paris, The Times 


Monday - Saturday: 7.45pm (except 12 & 19 Sept)
Wednesday & Saturday matinees: 2.45pm (except 3, 7 & 10 Sept)

Running time: 1 hour 5 minutes


Tickets: £10, £20
Previews: (3 - 7 Sept) £10

A limited number of discounts are available for each performance. Early booking is advised.


Click here to find out more about the Young Vic's seating policy, and about what to expect when you arrive at the Young Vic.

Food & drink

The Cut is one of London's most popular bars and restaurants. Specials from free-range and organic ingredients evolve with the season at the Young Vic.

Visit The Cut Bar's website.

In the press

Kathryn Hunter talks to Kate Gould of the South London Press on playing a diverse range of characters in The Emperor at the Young Vic

Kathryn Hunter talks to TheatreVoice about playing 11 different characters in The Emperor

Adaption Colin Teevan
Direction Walter Meierjohann
Design Ti Green
Movement Imogen Knight
Light Mike Gunning
Sound Paul Arditti
Video Louis Price
Music Dave Price
Creative Associate Kathryn Hunter
Assistant Director Cat Robey 

Kathryn Hunter
Temesgen Zeleke

Access performances

Audio-described performance
24 Sept, 2.45pm

Click here to visit our Access page.

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