Why Not Theatre: Prince Hamlet
CPA Series

Why Not Theatre: Prince Hamlet

October 7, 2022
8 PM

A Bilingual Why Not Theatre Production Adapted and Directed by Ravi Jain ASL and Visual Translation by Dawn Jani Birley 

Tickets from $10-$25. See details below.

Ravi Jain’s remixed, reimagined and bilingual Prince Hamlet features a cross-cultural, gender-bent cast, breathing new life into the 400-year-old play by challenging traditional ideas of who gets to tell this story. 

Combining English and American Sign Language, this groundbreaking production creates a fully integrated retelling for both hearing and Deaf audiences. 

“This is a Hamlet both for audiences who think they’ve had their fill of moody Danes, and for those who’ve never seen the play before because it sounds like someone else’s culture.”



Tickets available for $25. $10 UNC-Chapel Hill student tickets available with valid UNC One Card. Additional discounts available. Visit our FAQ page for details.

event details

  • Runtime: 185 minutes, including intermission
  • Intermission: 20 minutes
  • Special Effects: This production will use theatrical haze effects
  • Digital Program Book: We are excited to offer a digital program book for this event.
  • Additional information: Visit our FAQ page

For the legal and physical safety of the artists and for the comfort of the audience, cameras and other recording devices are not permitted in the theatre during the performance.


Thy name is woman: Comparing Female Hamlet/s with PlayMakers and Why Not Theatre 

  • Wednesday, October 5 | 6-7 PM 
  • CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio, 123 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill 
  • Free and open to the public; no registration required 

Ophelia and Gertrude are well known female characters in Hamlet, but historically many female actors have taken on the lead role itself including Sarah Bernhardt, Asta Nielsen and Frances de la Tour. This school year, Toronto-based Why Not Theatre and PlayMakers Repertory Company will present retellings of Hamlet on our UNC-CH campus. Notably, both performances will feature a woman in the lead role of Hamlet.

In this public conversation, director Vivienne Benesch and actor Tia James (who are just now preparing for the PlayMakers production in February) will compare notes with Why Not Theatre actors performing Ravi Jain’s remixed, reimagined and bilingual (ASL and English) Prince Hamlet at Memorial Hall on October 7. 


Adapted and Directed by Ravi Jain 

ASL Translation by Dawn Jani Birley

Stage Management: Neha Ross  

Assistant Stage Management: Kim Moreira 

Set and Costume Design: Lorenzo Savoini 

Sound Design: Thomas Ryder Payne 

Lighting Design: André du Toit

Production Management: André du Toit

Technical Direction: Daniel Bennett

Booking Direction by David Lieberman – Artists Representative
Post Office Box 10368, Newport Beach, CA 92658 | 714-979-4700 | info@dlartists


Dawn Jani Birley as Horatio

Eli Pauley as Hamlet

Andrew Musselman as Claudius

Monice Peter as Gertrude

Barbara Gordon as Polonius

Dante Jemmott as Laertes

Miriam Fernandes as Rosencrantz/Player King/Gravedigger

Sturla Alvsvaag as Guildenstern/Player Queen

Jeff Ho as Ophelia


As founding artistic director of Why Not Theatre, Ravi has established himself as a seasoned international producer and award-winning artist with collaborations with internationally acclaimed companies like the SITI Company and Complicite.


Acting/creation credits include: SPENT (Dora Award-Best Ensemble), A Brimful of Asha (developed as Urjo Kareda artist in residence at Tarragon Theatre), and Gimme Shelter (Commissioned for the Toronto Pan Am Games cultural festival). Directing Credits include: The Prince Hamlet (Why Not Theatre), I’m So Close (Spotlight Award, Summerworks 2008), A Lion in the Streets (National Theatre School), Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Soulpepper, nominated for 6 Dora Awards and won 2), Nicolas Billon’s triptych Fault Lines (Greenland, Iceland and Faroe Islands, which won the Governor General’s Award for Drama in 2013), Like Mother, Like Daughter (Why Not Theatre, in partnership with Complicite Creative Learning), We Are Proud to Present…(Theatre Centre), Salt-Water Moon (Factory Theatre, Dora Award for Outstanding Direction), The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God (Shaw Festival) and The 39 Steps (Soulpepper). Consultant director for Sea Sick (Theatre Centre), BOOM! (Mirvish/WYRD), Much Ado About Nothing (Tarragon Theatre).  

Ravi was the inaugural Artistic Director in Residence at The Theatre Centre, was a member of the Artistic Director’s Cabinet and the Baillie Artistic Fellow at Soulpepper Theatre Company and was selected to be on the roster of clowns for Cirque Du Soliel. He was awarded the Ken MacDougal Award for Emerging Director and most recently the Ontario Arts Council’s Pauline McGibbon Award as Emerging Director. Ravi is a graduate of the acclaimed Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris and has trained with notable artists including Anne Bogart and the SITI company, Arianne Mnouchkine and Theatre du Soleil as well as with various members of Complicite. 

About Why Not Theatre

Why Not Theatre is an agile, international theatre company based in Toronto, Canada, rooted in the values of innovation, community, and collaboration.


Good isn’t good enough.
At Why Not Theatre, we’re out for better.

We shake up the status quo to make the world we want to see.

A world where everyone can achieve their full potential. We question everything. Rethink how stories are told. And who gets to tell them. We believe in art. It’s how we make change.

We MAKE great work that takes chances, and tours all over the world. We SHARE everything we have, because more artists mean more stories. We PROVOKE change because we believe art should be for everyone.

We push boundaries, build community, and find new ways. We represent Toronto, at home and on the world stage.

Founded in 2007, we are growing rapidly, led by Ravi Jain, Kelly Read, and Miriam Fernandes.

Learn more at www.theatrewhynot.org

“An unconstrained world where gender, ability and cultural background are immaterial. In a society of growing division, Jain’s PRINCE HAMLET offers an honest and inclusive reflection of humanity.”  


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