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Grand Theft Hamlet

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Two out of work actors attempt the impossible task of mounting a full production of Hamlet inside the ultra violent world of Grand Theft Auto, shot entirely in game.
It’s January 2021. The UK has just entered its 3rd lockdown and all theatres remain closed. For actors Sam and Mark, the future looks bleak. As the pandemic drags on Mark, who lives alone is increasingly socially isolated, while Sam is panicking about how he is going to support his family. They channel their midlife frustrations by immersing their avatars in the horrifically violent yet beautifully rendered virtual world of Grand Theft Auto online. They steal cars and shoot strangers, but also find moments of calm reflection walking through meadows of wildflowers. In one gaming session they stumble across a theatre and have an idea. Why not stage Hamlet inside the game? Well, there are several reasons why not, chiefly that most people in the game are intent on murderous destruction, not polite appreciation of a theatrical production. But wasn’t theatre just as dangerous and rowdy a business in Shakespeare’s time, and isn’t Hamlet, a play about revenge the perfect choice for this place?
Official selection SXSW 2024 - Documentary Competition - World premiere


Type of film
Running Time
88 min
Pinny Grylls, Sam Crane 1st Feature
Julia Ton, Rebecca Wolff
Pinny Grylls
Pinny Grylls, Sam Crane
Director of Photography
Pinny Grylls
Jamie Perera
Associate writer and director
Mark Oosterveen

Production status


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Last updated 5th February 2024

Production Company

Project 1961
Julia Ton

Grasp the Nettle Films
Rebecca Wolff


Mike Runagall