Use your voice – Voter’s Choice shows In Shakespeare’s day…

Use your voice – Voter’s Choice shows 

In Shakespeare’s day the choice of which play will be performed was made by the most powerful person of the household. In keeping with that tradition we are putting the power in the hands of you, our audience.

This summer, in a first for Shakespeare’s Globe, we are giving you the chance to vote for the play you’d like to see on the night. The plays you could be watching are: The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew or Twelfth Night.

How does it work 

During the pre-show you will be asked to make your choice. Once the collective decision has been made, the performance will start straight away.

This does mean that if you book more than one ‘voter’s choice’ performance you may see the same play twice if the audience votes the same way both times.

Got a favourite of the three plays? Why not persuade your friends on social media to vote for it by using the hashtags: #TwelfthNight, #TheTamingoftheShrew, #TheMerchantofVenice. 

Fixed Performances and Voter’s choice On Tour

Cast your vote at venues around the UK and Europe.

Shakespeare’s Globe, London

Monday 7 May, 7.30pm Twelfth Night

Tuesday 8 May, 2.00pm Twelfth Night

Thursday 10 May, 7.30pm Twelfth Night

Friday 11 May, 2.00pm The Taming of The Shrew

Sunday 13 May, 1.00pm & 6.30pm The Taming of The Shrew

Monday 14 May, 7.30pm The Merchant of Venice

Tuesday 15 May, 2.00pm The Merchant of Venice

Wednesday 16 May, 7.30pm The Merchant of Venice

Friday 18 May, 2.00pm & 7.30pm Voter’s Choice

Chilham Castle, Kent

Friday 25 May, 7.00pm – The Merchant of Venice

Saturday 26 May, 2.00pm – Twelfth Night | 7.00pm – The Taming of the Shrew

Sunday 27 May 2018, 1.00pm –voter’s choice & 6.00pm – Twelfth Night

Pontio Arts Centre, Bangor

Thursday 7 – Saturday 9 June

All voter’s choice

Campos Eliseos Theater, Bilbao, Spain

Wednesday 13 – Thursday 14 June

All voter’s choice


Auditorio Niemeyer, Avilés, Spain

Saturday 16 June

All voter’s choice

Teatros del Canal, Madrid, Spain

Tuesday 19 – Thursday 21 June

All voter’s choice

Shakespeare Festival, Neuss, Germany

Monday 25 – Tuesday 26 June

All voter’s choice


Art Carnuntum, Austria

Friday   29-Jun, 7pm, The Merchant of Venice

Saturday 30-Jun, 7pm, Voter’s Choice 2pm & 7pm The Taming of The Shrew

Sunday 01-Jul, 7pm Twelfth Night

Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, North Yorkshire

Thursday 5 – Sunday 8 July

All voter’s choice

Brighton Open Air Theatre, Brighton

Wednesday 11  – Saturday 14 July

All voter’s choice


Bodleian Library Quad, Oxford

Monday 16 – Sunday 29 July

All voter’s choice


Doddington Hall, Lincoln

Tuesday 7 August, 6pm, The Merchant of Venice

Wednesday 8 August, 1pm, Twelfth Night & 6pm, The Taming of The Shrew

Alnwick Playhouse, Alnwick

Saturday 11 – Sunday 12 August

All voter’s choice


Ystad Theater, Sweden

Thursday 16 August, 7pm, The Merchant of Venice

Friday 17 August, 7pm, The Taming of The Shrew

Saturday 18 August 3pm, Twelfth Night & 7pm Voter’s Choice

Shakespeare’s Globe, London 

Thursday 6 September, 2.00pm,  Twelfth Night

Friday 7 September, 7.30pm

Saturday 8 September, 2.00pm The Merchant of Venice

Production photos from RSC King Lear. Photos b…

Production photos from RSC King Lear. Photos by Isaac James © RSC.

Happy birthday Shakespeare! Maggy Roberts ill…

Happy birthday Shakespeare!

Maggy Roberts illustration from the UK paperback edition of Jasper Fforde’s Something Rotten.

Contagions, Historical Phenomenology and the Globe…

Contagions, Historical Phenomenology and the Globe audience

Delivered in partnership with King’s College London, our MA in Shakespeare Studies offers exciting and unparalleled opportunities for Shakespeare students. Drawing on the joint expertise of Shakespeare’s Globe and King’s, students learn about the texts, companies and theatre spaces of early modern playhouses, just a stone’s throw from where Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed.

Amy Victoria Norris considers the Globe audience and their relationship with the actors on stage.

It’s been all change in these parts over the past few months. We’ve started a new term here on the MA, which means a whole new module at the Globe, and in our first plenary session of the month, actor and Globe Education Faculty member acting practitioner Dickon Tyrrell told us about sitting in the upper gallery as the strobe lighting was taken down to mark Shakespeare’s Globe transition into a new phase of artistic direction.

Acting on the Globe stage is, as the Globe’s Cause, a ‘radical theatrical experiment’, which we explored ourselves in our first plenary session of the month, entitled ‘Playing with the Globe audience’. We worked with Dickon to workshop what is different about being an actor on the Globe stage, specifically thinking about how to engage with your audience. An actor is so connected to their audience, in the shared light of the Globe Theatre theatre, that it becomes a reciprocal relationship; you are acting in the space of the audience, playing off their reactions at times. What stuck out to me what Dickon’s warning that an actor knows their audience has lost interest when they start swaying; he recalls noticing that the groundlings start to almost move in synchronicity from side to side when an actor has lost their focus.

This idea of the Globe audience, all moving together as waves in a sea, is interesting for our study this term; our new term at the Globe has brought with it our new favourite linguistic term… phenomenology. Try saying that three times fast(!) Historical Phenomenology encourages a study of early modern performance that takes into account what it would have been ‘felt’ like to experience theatre in context. For our purpose, this means considering what it was like to be an Early Modern audience. Therefore, it is integral to this term’s module at the Globe: ‘Staging Shakespeare in Early Modern Playhouses’.

Particularly interesting to us has been the early modern idea of ‘contagion’ in a theatrical environment; Shakespeare’s audiences would have believed they could be literally infected by the actions of the stage. Allison Hobgood uses the example of Macbeth to explore how attending a performance would put an audience member at risk of catching the kind of fear played out onstage, which could affect the balance of your humours and cause embodied illness. The permeability of one’s skin, especially when all cramped together as groundlings, means that not only could physical ailments like the plague spread quickly, so could emotions and sins performed onstage which could be literally infectious. Both the physical and the emotional contagions move through the crowd like Dickon’s wave simile. The Globe, whether it’s the first or third space of that name, demands a connected audience.

We also got a chance to be a part of the audience ourselves three times this month, firstly to see the Rutgers’ Conservatory performances of both Richard III and 1 Henry IV. Being an MA student here is to be a part of the Globe Education family, and we were all thrilled to be invited to see the work of BFA and MFA Acting majors from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, University in New Jersey, who have spent their junior year training here.

We returned to the theatre as groundlings again to see the Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production of Much Ado About Nothing, a 90-minute fast-paced performance of one of my favourite plays. These performances are a great way to see some super high-energy Shakespeare; I fear we MA students were maybe approaching on as raucous as we imagine early modern playgoers to have been!

This performance was a finale to my highlight of the month; the Globe’s inaugural postgraduate conference, organised with London Shakespeare Centre. We were lucky enough to have the call-for-papers extended to not only doctoral but also MA students, and I therefore had the chance to present a snippet of my early dissertation research, and get some really helpful feedback and pointers. From the very first day of my course, I have felt encouraged and accepted as part of a larger academic community as Masters student here. The bodies you’ll interact with as a postgrad at King’s and the Globe accept that you have a valuable voice as an MA student, and encourage you to contribute to the larger academic conversation. It’s really a community like no other.

We ended the month with the Globe in snow (the ‘Snow-Globe’, if you please), I took a quick break from my Tuesday afternoon volunteering session in the Globe’s archives to have a small-scale photo shoot and snowball fight on the roof terrace overlooking the theatre whilst the cast continued with a show of Much Ado. Even as everything around us in London ground to a halt like we’d never seen snow before, the show must go on!

Further Reading on Phenomenology:

Bruce Smith, Phenomenal Shakespeare (Wiley Blackwell)

Allison Hobgood, Passionate Playgoing in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014) 

Katherine Craik and Tanya Pollard (eds) Shakespearean Sensations: Experiencing Literature in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Improvements to our ticketing system  We are currently working…

Improvements to our ticketing system  

We are currently working on improvements to our ticketing system.
Over the coming weeks you will be asked to update your account details.

Please note that our Box Office counter, phone line and online ticketing website will be closed and unavailable from 6pm on Saturday 21 April to 10am on Wednesday 25 April 2018, due to these upgrades.

Check back for further announcements on our blog and social media channels.

Studying Shakespeare at the Globe: MA students…

Studying Shakespeare at the Globe: MA students reflect 

in partnership with King’s College London, our MA in Shakespeare Studies offers
exciting and unparalleled opportunities for Shakespeare students. Drawing on
the joint expertise of Shakespeare’s Globe and King’s, students learn about the
texts, companies and theatre spaces of early modern playhouses, just a stone’s
throw from where Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed.

the first of a series of blog posts, current student Stephanie Donowho
reflects on a magical night of discoveries (and dancing) on the Globe stage.

The first few weeks of the MA Shakespeare Program were a mixture of joyous discovery and growing anticipation. There are many things about the program that immediately excited us. Our classmates hailed from all over the world; I’m from the United States, and other people in my year come from Australia, Ireland, Norway, Canada, and India, just to name a few. Our professors, once intimidating and recognizable names from leading scholarship on the early modern period, were becoming familiar and encouraging advisors. Each week, we met for class at the Sackler studios just around the corner from the Globe theatre. One night, we would receive a lecture from an architect who worked on creating the Globe; another night, we’d get a hands-on experience with the Globe’s model of an early modern printing press. But we were all looking forward to the night in November (once the Globe’s summer season had ended) when we would be allowed to get up onto the Globe stage ourselves and explore this unique space.

Our first class on the Globe stage was a two hour block of independent study – there would be no faculty or staff on hand to guide or direct us. We were allowed to use the time however we wanted to get to know the space and put into practice all that we had learnt in our seminars and lectures. We sent eager messages back and forth, brainstorming how we wanted to spend these two hours. We wanted to do things as a whole group that took advantage of the full space of the stage, getting to know how it felt to move and speak in that theatre. We also wanted to learn something about how that experience may have taken shape in Shakespeare’s own time.

We landed on a seemingly simple activity: a cue script. In the early modern period, actors didn’t receive the full text of a play. (It would have taken a long time for someone to write out 14+ copies of a play by hand!) Instead, they learned their part from a cue script, which only contains the lines that they speak and the lines that come right before – their cues. What does a first rehearsal look like when each actor only has their own cue script, and no director is assigned to manage stage traffic? We decided to find out!

We created cue scripts for all of the characters in Act 3, Scene 1 of Julius Caesar – the scene where Caesar is stabbed by Brutus, Cassius, and the rest of the conspirators. Nearly everyone had a role to play, and the rest of us watched from the yard. We pieced through the scene like a puzzle, often starting and stopping as we discovered clues about the scene in other people’s lines. We experimented with the three main doors of the stage as we decided which characters needed to enter from different places. We snuck around the two large pillars ad used them to plot and hide. We discovered how the Globe’s stage could be used to create multiple simultaneous spaces and scenes, as clusters of conspirators emerged and alliances formed. For example, certain characters were not always supposed to hear what other characters were saying. When Brutus says,

Cassius, be constant:

Popilius Lena speaks not of our purposes;

For, look, he smiles, and Caesar doth not change.

Caesar and Popilius stood elsewhere on the stage, creating a separate imaginary space for themselves. We even experimented with putting the soothsayer up on the balcony, to get a feel for the different levels available to actors at the Globe.

By the end of the scene, we’d learned a lot about the process of putting a play together from a cue script and the possibilities of performance on the Globe stage. We all felt a bit more comfortable in this special space, and ready to use this hands-on knowledge to active our academic imagination about early modern performance practices.

We also had quite a bit of time left, and hadn’t prepared anything else. After a quick fit of brainstorming – what was another early modern staging practice that we could use this unique space to understand? – we landed on something we thought we’d enjoy. A jig!

Or something like one, anyway. I used my rudimentary knowledge of the famous Footloose dance to assemble a team of dancers. What would it feel like to dance in a group on this stage? How much space would we each have, and how might that movement interact with the theatre as a whole?

Over the next few months, we would have many more hours on (and behind, and below) the Globe stage, as we came to know the inner workings and storied history of the theatre. I’m incredibly grateful for the access this program has given to me and my classmates, and I will always treasure those joyful moments from our first night on the stage and the freedom we had to play at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Data collecting dispatches from the front line, or ‘HOW many…

Data collecting dispatches from the front line, or ‘HOW many recorded performances of The Jew of Malta?’

My last blog talked about the Read Not Dead project, and how my six-month research fellowship at Shakespeare’s Globe aimed to collect information on the 200-plus Renaissance plays staged here since 1995. In this blog, I want to talk about the process of acquiring and sorting through all of this information.

For each play, I had to find out certain things: alternative titles, who it was written by, when it was first performed, its genre, which companies acted the play, where the plays were staged, and when (and how often) they were printed. These things may sound simple enough, but while some evidence certainly survives, it is patchy.

Sometimes we don’t know for sure which theatre a play was performed in, although we can speculate. Take Henry Porter’s Two Angry Women of Abingdon: we know for a fact that this was an Admiral’s Men play, as it tells us on the title page of the 1599 quarto that it was performed ‘by the right honorable the Earle of Nottingham, Lord High Admirall his servants’. The title page doesn’t specifically tell us where it was performed, but because it was an Admiral’s Men play we can infer that it was probably staged at their usual venue, The Rose. Probably. We have no reason not to think it wasn’t: is that evidence enough? For now, I’d say yes.

Sometimes we can’t even presume a theatre venue when we know the company who performed the play. For instance, the anonymous play A Warning for Fair Women was probably first performed between 1597 and 1599. We know it was acted by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, but as for its performance venue, well, it was most likely to be either The Theatre or the Curtain. Which one it actually was depends on whether the play was performed nearer the 1597 date or the later 1599 one. The Chamberlain’s Men moved to the Curtain in 1597, but given that we don’t know which month A Warning for Fair Women was performed, it could have been before the move (so, one of the last plays they performed at The Theatre), or one of the first plays performed at their new venue.

Another matter which reveals itself when looking at the available data for these plays is whether or not we can measure the popularity of certain plays. Who was writing the smash hits of the Renaissance stage, and how do we know? One indicator is certainly the number of recorded performances. Christopher Marlowe’s hugely successful play, The Jew of Malta, has 36 recorded performances in London (mostly at The Rose, with a couple at Newington Butts) between 1592 and 1596. Let’s compare this with Shakespeare’s tragedy, Othello: between 1604 and 1636, we only have records of eight individual performances of the play (a couple at the Globe or Blackfriars, and elsewhere at places such as Whitehall Palace, Hampton Court, and in Oxford). This isn’t to say that these are the only performances of Othello over a 30-year period: it’s simply the only ones we have records of. But it’s fair to say that Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta was vastly more successful.

However, the number of recorded performances isn’t the only means of establishing which plays were popular: we can also look at its printed history. Take the anonymous play Mucedorus. The only specific date we know it was performed was on 20 February 1610 at Whitehall Palace. The only other information we have is on the title page of its first printing, where we’re told it has been ‘sundry times played’ by 1598. So was it performed regularly? Maybe. The title page might possibly be inflating the play’s popularity to make it look attractive to potential readers. Either this technique worked, or it was in fact a much-loved and hugely popular play: it went through 16 different editions between 1598 and 1663, more than any other drama of the period.

Lastly, filtering through the performance archive of Read Not Dead allowed me to discover what is possibly my favourite fact about the entire project. On June 25, 1995, Read Not Dead staged John Fletcher’s play The Island Princess, which starred not only the Globe’s first artistic director, Mark Rylance (as Armusia, a noble and daring Portuguese gentleman), but Eastenders star and Cockney champion, Danny Dyer (as a soldier named Pedro). What I would give to have seen these two actors onstage together. But such is the wonder and the madness of Read Not Dead.

Words: Dr Miranda Fay Thomas 

National Theatre Live: Macbeth Trailer

National Theatre Live: Macbeth Trailer

Keeping Read Not Dead alive For the past six months, I’ve been…

Keeping Read Not Dead alive 

For the past six months, I’ve been working as a post-doctoral research fellow here at Shakespeare’s Globe. My job has been to collect data and record information about over 200 Renaissance plays which have been staged by the Globe’s long-running Read Not Dead project, and in this series of blog posts, I’ll be telling you a bit more about what I’ve been up to.

Since 1995, Shakespeare’s Globe has been on a mission to produce rehearsed readings of all the plays which survive from between 1567 and 1642 – some 500 or so dramas which, for the most part, are no longer staged. Of course, far more plays were written and performed during that time – around 3,000 – but most haven’t come down to us: either they weren’t printed and the original manuscripts were lost, or they were printed and those printings haven’t survived. Still, 500 plays are more than enough to be getting on with: the Read Not Dead project has been running for almost 23 years, and we’re only about halfway through!

For those of you who’ve never been to a Read Not Dead event, here’s what happens on the day. Our actors arrive on a Sunday morning and met with a director; they’ll have done no prior preparation for their roles, and they’ll be performing script-in-hand. The cast have 5 or 6 hours to get the play on its feet, decide on blocking, and perhaps choreograph any necessary swordfights. Then, at 4pm, the audience arrive and the play comes alive: the actors usually have only had the chance to go through the entire play once, so most of the time the performances are based on instinct and adrenaline.

Why do we do this? While I can’t speak for the initial reasons Read Not Dead began, here are my personal top five points as to why these events are brilliant.

1.      We get to discover plays that aren’t being performed anywhere else

2.      Some of these plays are real hidden gems. A play falling out of fashion in the seventeenth century isn’t necessarily an indicator of its quality, or of what it might have to say to a modern audience.

3.      The ensemble work between the cast is astonishing. Seeing them put a play together in a single day is pretty exhilarating.

4.      Some of our Read Not Dead alumni have gone on to some rather impressive things. People like Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Craig, Sally Hawkins, Michael Sheen… The list isn’t quite endless, but it’s pretty cool.

5.      You get to be a smug theatre hipster, talking about plays few other people have heard of; and perhaps when some of our current Read Not Dead actors make it big, you’ll be able to boast that you saw them perform when they were up-and-coming.

So what’s my role in all of this? Well, we want the plays that we stage to be remembered for longer than a single afternoon. Some of these scripts are only just waking up again after a 400-years-long nap, and frankly, we’d like them to stick around a bit longer this time and get the oxygen of publicity that so many of Shakespeare’s plays are exposed to.

With this end in mind, Shakespeare’s Globe is setting up a Read Not Dead database. It will contain information on every single Read Not Dead play: who originally staged it, and where; when it was printed; where possible, who acted in it. It will also feature photographs, clips, and scripts from our own performances: all on a searchable database which, for the first time, blends Renaissance theatre history with its revival in modern day performance.

In my next post, I’ll be talking about the information I’ve been collecting and what it’s revealed about the theatre scene of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.But for now, why not book in for our next series of Read Not Dead plays? Starting in May, our new Censorship season will confront ideas about suppression and sedition featuring Renaissance plays which speak vividly to us even today.

 Words: Dr Miranda Fay Thomas

Casting for Two Noble Kinsmen announcedHow long is forever? When…

Matt Henry

Kat Rose-Martin and Paul Stocker

Moyo Akandé and Jude Akuwudike

Bryan Dick and Jos Vantyler

Casting for Two Noble Kinsmen announced

How long is forever? When the imprisoned Palamon and Arcite vow eternal friendship, they don’t expect that anything will come between them. But then from their cell window they see the beautiful Emilia, and their priorities take a sudden and violent turn. In this late romance, Fletcher and Shakespeare examine love in all its fluid and complex forms.

Moyo Akandé – Hippolyta
Jude Akuwudike – Theseus  
Andy Cryer – Jailer 
Sue Devaney – First Queen  
Bryan Dick –  Arcite  
Matt Henry –  Pirithous  
Melissa James – Second Queen 
Francesca Mills –  Jailer’s Daughter  
Kat Rose-Martin – Third Queen 
Paul Stocker  –  Palamon  
Ellora Torchia –  Emilia  
Jon Trenchard – Wooer
Jos Vantyler – Schoolmaster 

Find out more about Two Noble Kinsmen