Producer Cath Bennett said the designer spent a long time in the Balkans and wanted to set the play now but slightly in the future.
Kirsty Besterman, who plays Lady Macbeth, said: “She is definitely not an evil woman, as far as I’m concerned, oir as far as the production is concerned.
“She is pragmatic, she is opportunistic, she is fearless.
“I don’t think she’s immediately fearless. She becomes stronger and braver and ultimately suffers because she goes too far.
“A big part of my Lady Macbeth is her devotion to him. In many productions it’s been quite an obsessive love. Here, it’s more natural and more about devotion.
“It’s an equal partnership but he is the centre of her world and she lives for him. In this world Rufus has created, I don’t think there’s much light in it.
“We’ve decided they had a family and their children died in the war.”
Director Rufus Norris said: “Whenever you read about people describing Lady Macbeth with the word evil, it’s a massive insult to the greatest writer that ever lived. It’s much more complex than that.
“It’s the aftermath of a civil war and survival is very much at the heart of the play. Anyone can die in this situation, it’s very, very tough and particularly tough for women.
“Somehow they’ve managed to get this far.”
“It’s a happy relationship put under an enormous amount of pressure.”
Michael Nardone, who plays Macbeth, said: “At the beginning he represents virtue and loyalty He is a cousin, a member of the royal household, and raised to defend the realm. He’s a warrior and a soldier and performs that so amazingly well until he is corrupted by a test.
“His loyalty to himself and the king is put to the test.”
He said that Macbeth is persuaded into a course of action by his wife that he follows, and their relationship is ultimately destroyed.