The actor Mark Rylance has cancelled his involvement in the Olympics opening ceremony, following the sudden death of his 28 year-old step-daughter, Nataasha van Kampen, Bbc News reports today. Rylance was scheduled to read a passage from The Tempest at the ceremony, which has been devised by the Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle. Nataasha died of "unsuspected natural causes" on Sunday, July 1, 2012. She was the daughter of Claire and Chris van Kampen and was a film-maker.
In a statement issued by Shakespeare's Globe theatre, Mark Rylance said "Our beloved daughter and sister Nataasha passed away of unsuspected natural causes early on Sunday morning. Because of our bereavement, I have decided to withdraw from my commitment to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, but Claire and I will continue our work with the productions, Richard Iii and Twelfth Night at Shakespeare's Globe and in the West End." He added "The family would ask that their privacy is respected at this sad and difficult time."
Rylance will play the title role in Richard Iii which is scheduled to begin previews in eight days' time. Following his run there, he will play Olivia in an all-male production of Twelfth Night, from September 22, 2012. Stephen Fry will play Malvolio. In 2009, Rylance starred in Nataasha van Kampen's first short film, Nocturne, about insomnia.