Author: Shakespeare's Globe Blog

What is it like to be a Globe Education Assistant ?

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Our Globe Education Assistant roles offer school leavers an exciting opportunity to gain invaluable experience working in a leading arts organisation. Through supporting the daily activities of the Education department for one year, they develop key skills in administration, communication and teamwork in a supportive environment, and make a valuable contribution to the work of the Globe.

Here Joanna Woznicka, a Globe Education Assistant in the Higher Education team, talks about her experiences of the programme so far.

There is something incredibly special about seeing people’s faces after they’ve gone on the Globe stage for the first time – especially when they’ve just performed in front of almost 1600 people, as the students of the Sam Wanamaker Festival did in March. As a Higher Education Assistant, I helped the Higher Education and Events team organise and run this event; from admin work, to helping prepare receptions, to assisting students during the time of the performance. The whole weekend was intense but extraordinary to be a part of and made me feel so grateful for being able to work in such a lively building, with such a supportive and fun team.

By April 2017, I had decided to take gap year and a wonderful theatre person informed me of the Globe Educaiton Assistant role. Obviously, despite exams looming over me, revision took a back seat as I slaved on my application and edited it about ten times. What can I say… I wanted this job.

I first experienced the magic of the wooden O in year 9, when I came to a performance of Romeo and Juliet, performed as part of Globe Education’s project called Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank. It was a ninety minute performance that drew me to Shakespeare and to this building. It was therefore rather nostalgic helping out on this project this year, and meeting students coming to the Globe for the first time, just as I had. People’s initial reactions when they enter the theatre is something I could never get bored of; some gasp, some begin to cry and some just smile endlessly.

One project that will forever stay in my heart is the social inclusion project in collaboration with St Mungo’s, Clement James Centre and Open Access Arts. A brilliant group of people – many of whom have experienced homelessness – met for sessions, exploring Shakespearean speeches, which they performed on the Globe stage. As well as this, some wrote very insightful and powerful responses to their speeches. It was incredibly moving and beautiful. I think that’s the most rewarding part of the job; seeing other people develop and grow, and seeing the effect your work has on them – you understand that you’re part of a team and an organisation that makes a difference to people’s lives.

It’s almost a year since I started and I’ve gained so many skills; so much knowledge and so much confidence. I am no longer completely terrified of finance, can write emails quicker than I can make myself a cup of tea… and I’m still working on being able to uncork a bottle of wine (a skill needed if you’re working on events, trust me). This sounds so obvious, but I feel like I have gotten so much better at naturally prioritising tasks and problem solving, both of which will make me such a better student. In my first month on the job I remember when my first group of students showed up an hour earlier than scheduled through a fault of my own I felt embarrassed and panicked, since there were about three other things going on at the same time, but my team handled it calmly and assured me that such mistakes are easily made. We all went down to greet them and the situation was handled incredibly smoothly. Since then, I have discovered so many methods of getting around mistakes and just making things work. As a psychology student to-be, I feel more confident knowing that in times of crisis, I’ll be able to handle tricky situations as they come.

Working at the Globe is unlike working anywhere else – there is such a sense of community and care and friendliness that I didn’t expect from my first job. I remember asking past GEAs whether it was worth taking a year out for this and now I laugh at the memory. I wouldn’t trade this year for anything.

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From Left to Right, Beth Bowden, Shiri Fileman, Dorothy McDowell, Katherine Guttridge, Joanna Woznicka, Layla Savage 2017-18 GEAs

We are currently looking for school leavers who would like to develop careers in the arts or education for our Globe Education Assistant roles. For a full job description and to apply, please visit the Jobs page of our website

As You Like It: Your views

Hamlet: Your views

Hamlet on stage The Globe Ensemble ask ‘who’s…

Hamlet on stage 

The Globe Ensemble ask ‘who’s there?’ in the first production of our summer season. Hamlet runs until 26 August 2018. Find out more about the production.

All images by Tristram Kenton.

As You Like It on the stage Welcome to the Forest of Arden, full…


As You Like It


Colin Hurley (Touchstone) and Catrin Aaron (Phoebe)


Richard Katz, Nadia Nadarajah and James Garnon


Jack Laskey (Rosalind)


James Garnon (Audrey)

As You Like It on the stage 

Welcome to the Forest of Arden, full of disguise, mistaken identity and above all, love. 

Find out more about  As You Like It, playing until 26 August 2018. 

All images by Tristram Kenton. 

The Winter’s Tale cast announced Blanche McIntyre (The Comedy of…


Adrian Bower and Annette Badland


Becci Gemmell and Howard Ward


Luke MacGregor and Jordan Metcalfe


Zora Bishop


Sirine Saba


Will Keen


Oliver Ryan and Norah Lopez-Holden


Priyanga Burford and Rose Wardlaw

The Winter’s Tale cast announced 

Blanche McIntyre (The Comedy of Errors and As You Like It at the Globe in 2014 and 2015) directs The Winter’s Tale; Shakespeare’s great play of the irrational and inexplicable, opening on 22 June.

Here are the actors bringing the play to life:

Annette Badland will play Old Shepherd
Zora Bishop is Emilia
Adrian Bower is Camillo
Priyanga Burford is Hermione
Becci Gemmell is Autolycus
Will Keen will play Leontes
Norah Lopez-Holden will play Perdita
Luke MacGregor is Florizel
Jordan Metcalfe will play Young Shepherd
Oliver Ryan is Polixenes
Sirine Saba will play Paulina
Howard Ward is Antigonus
Rose Wardlaw will play Mamillius/Time

Find out more about The Winter’s Tale

Announcing Refugee Week (17 – 25 June) From 17 – 24 June we will…

Announcing Refugee Week (17 – 25 June)

From 17 – 24 June we will be marking Refugee Week 2018 with a festival of performances, discussions and storytelling sessions exploring Shakespeare’s response to refuge and refugees.

Opening Refugee Week on 17 June, Syrian Canadian artist Dima Karout will lead a hands-on woodcut print workshop, Fingerprints, encouraging you to be inspired by personal experiences and contribute to a collective artwork on identity.

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Also on 17 June, our Read Not Dead staged reading of Sir Thomas More, first performed in 1600, depicts the plight of the refugees and the May Day riots of 1517.

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In the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse on 20 June the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse will play host to a two-part dance performance, Fragments of a Journey, an informal showing of work performed by refugees which will explore the theme of displacement.

In Safar: Journey, female refugees, working with Hawiyya dance company, draw on traditional Arab-Dabke dance to celebrate the resilience of refugee women.

Performed by male refugees, Fragments depicts journeys to the unknown, memories and the shattering and reintegration of cultures. Created in collaboration with Single Homeless Project and Palestinian theatre-maker Mo’min Swaitat.

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Premiering at the festival, Nanjing, is a monologue telling the story of the Nanjing Massacre of 1937, a tale of identity, dispossession and war written and performed by Jude Christian.

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Taking as its starting point, an examination of the global importance of imagination and empathy, panel discussion Whither Would You Go on 23 June will include members of the Globe to Globe Hamlet tour and director Jessica Bauman who will speak about their work which includes performances with and for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers.

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Blanche McIntyre returns to the Globe to direct The Winter’s Tale, opening on 22 June. Shakespeare’s great play of the irrational and inexplicable is a universe full of monsters, gods and natural disasters. Its colossal sweep takes us from stifling courts to unbuttoned festivals through a maelstrom of emotions, across gender, class, country and age. Look out for a casting announcement soon.

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Refugee Week festival closes on 24 June with two family events. Meet children’s author Nicola Davies who will discuss her new book The Day War Came depicting the plight of child refugees and join a special storytelling session focusing on Twelfth Night casting a new light on the displaced Viola and Sebastian.

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Book tickets to events during Refugee Week.

#RefugeeWeek2018

Leaving school and want to work at the Globe? On being a Globe…

Leaving school and want to work at the Globe? On being a Globe Education Assistant

Our Globe Education Assistant roles offer school leavers an exciting opportunity to gain invaluable experience working in a leading arts organisation. Through supporting the daily activities of the Education department for one year, they develop key skills in administration, communication and team work in a supportive environment, and make a valuable contribution to the work of the Globe.

Here Dorothy McDowell, a Globe Education Assistant in the Learning Projects team, talks about her experiences of the programme so far.

In my last two years at school, I switched my choice of degree subject once; country of study twice; and actual university roughly every hour, on the hour – but the idea of a gap year never seriously occurred to me. I like drama, I like books and I like writing: it was university or bust. Then, in the middle of my sentence of death-by-prolonged-study-leave, my mother suddenly turned round, job advert column in hand, and said:

“Would you fancy working at the Globe Theatre?”

The answer to this was an unequivocal ‘yes’ – I come from a small village in rural Northern Ireland, and anyone familiar with small villages in rural Northern Ireland will tell you that the nearest thing they have to an arts industry is a country-and-western tribute act, and a slightly contentious marching band. So, I threw my mind back to summer holidays spent standing in the rain at arts festivals trying to persuade visitors not to touch the cows; raked up a few anecdotes; and applied.

I then spent the next month determinedly telling people that I didn’t actually expect to get the job and I just thought it would be funny to apply, ok? This became slightly more challenging when I got an email inviting me to a Skype interview; followed a second invitation, to fly over to London; and finally a phone call telling me that I had got the job. I am now the proud owner of the title of ‘Globe Education Assistant – Learning Projects (Community)’; I have a place at Oxford; I have seen 38 shows since September; and if you sit still for long enough I will recite a brief performance history of All’s Well That Ends Well at you.

When people ask me what my job entails, I find that the most humane policy is usually to check that they don’t have anywhere urgent they need to be before starting in; it is too varied to be susceptible of a ready explanation. Some days I type up so many spreadsheets that I am able to astound all and sundry with my encyclopaedic knowledge of the differing views on Oberon as held by the under 5s; other days I hear sentences like, “Please can you mind this drum I’m going to the basement to look for some confetti and a lion mask” coming out of my mouth.

The project that’s uppermost in my mind at the moment is the infamous ‘Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank’. In the course of the pre-show marketing I called and spoke to almost every SEN school in London (thus putting paid to my previous, “Mum, can you ring the dentist for me?” attitude, but also increasing the number of pupils with special educational needs who came to see the show; so, no, I will not shut up about it). My role during the actual run of the show was to hand out programmes to the assembled school groups – a job which began with a radio call that could be roughly translated as, “More children than you can possibly imagine have just arrived on the Southbank; please do something with them”, and ended with me running up and down Bankside in a high-vis jacket.

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But my absolute favourite bit of the job is the Southwark Youth Theatre. I am their Company Manager, and spend Saturday mornings alternating between joining in with their drama games (at which I am unforgivably terrible) and shouting, “Is this what silence sounds like? I don’t think this is what silence sounds like.” I got the cast list for their summer term show this morning, and I was so excited I had to stop and have a quiet word with myself about priorities and what order they should be in – I do not know when I got this invested, but I love it.

I am rather hindered in my attempts to describe my job by the fact that I am not one for mush. There is much to be said for the sight of children who have never been in a theatre before standing onstage in A Concert for Winter, or for classes of bored teenagers cheering for Beatrice and Benedick; but I will always try to avoid saying it. But I will say this: ten months ago I had never set foot in the Globe Theatre. I am not intrepid; I am not well-connected; I had never had a job before. I applied for this on a whim; something I would like to do, but something I did not stand a chance of getting.

Two months later, I stood on the banks of the River Thames – with the moon rising in the background, and St Paul’s reflected in the water behind me – looking up at the most beautiful theatre in the world.

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Make excuses to your family if you would like; do not tell your friends if you would prefer; but if you would like to do this job: apply.

We are currently looking for school leavers who would like to develop careers in the arts or education for our Globe Education Assistant roles. For a full job description and to apply, please visit the Jobs page of our website

#ShakespeareOrNot: Answers

Today for #WednesdayWisdom, we’ve been playing #ShakespeareOrNot over on Twitter. Which of the following did you guess as being the work of the Bard?

“I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.”

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carol

“Let the time run on, to good or bad." 
Cymbeline, William Shakespeare

“The praise that comes from love does not make us vain, but more humble.” 
J.M Barrie

"Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.”

Emily Dickinson

“The better part of valour is discretion.”

Henry IV Part 1, William Shakespeare

“It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.”

The Pokemon Movie, Mewtwo

“The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma." 
Spongebob Squarepants, Patrick Star

"Whatsoever I’ve feared has come to light and whatsoever I’ve fought off became my life." 

Fell on Black Days by Soundgarden

“Nothing feebler does earth nurture than man, of all things that on earth are breathing and moving.” 
The Odyssey, Homer

"Neither borrower nor a lender be.”

Hamlet, William Shakespeare

1968 and Theatre CensorshipFifty years ago this month, the…

1968 and Theatre Censorship

Fifty years ago this month, the Sunday Times reviewed the new ‘American tribal love-rock musical’ which had just opened on Broadway. Hair was a protest – an attack by the young aimed at the Establishment, the Vietnam War, Capitalism, and the values of the older generation. The reviewer thought it was ‘the most refreshing, original and maverick entertainment… since West Side Story’, but suspected it ‘couldn’t conceivably be presented on any British stage’ – even though ‘our taboo-ridden, body-resenting, swearword-worried theatre will be poorer for its self-denial’.

The paper’s prediction was not wrong. When the script of Hair was submitted to the Lord Chamberlain in the hope of securing the licence it needed to be staged in Britain, it hit a brick wall: ‘this is a demoralising play’, frothed his secretary. ‘It extols dirt, anti-establishment views, homosexuality and free love, drug taking, and it inveighs against patriotism’. Male and female nudity was a definite no-no, while plans to involve the audience and ‘turn them on’ were offensive. One character in particular sent the officials’ hackles through the roof: ‘Claude…  is a man yet he sings of his tits and his “arse” and he has bad times like a woman’, choked the secretary. ‘Presumably a roaring pansy’.  Well, the Lord Chamberlain’s powers to censor theatre were abolished a few months later, and Hair opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre the following night. The Lord Chamberlain even turned down an invitation to appear on stage with the cast for ITV’s Eamonn Andrews Show.  

So September 1968 marked the end of a system of control – cursed by playwrights from Shaw to Osborne to Tennessee Williams and Edward Bond  – that had lasted for 237 years. It had been introduced in 1737 by Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole because he was fed up with the stage being used to make fun of him and his government. And it required that no new play could be publicly performed until the script had been formally approved by the Lord Chamberlain. I became fascinated by this history – and particularly the twentieth century part of it – around thirty years ago, when I discovered there was an individual archived file on every single new play, and I’ve been reading these ever since. And because the censorship applied to everything from professional theatre to student revues to Women’s Institute and amateur society productions, this could be anything up to around 900 files per year!

As you can imagine, it took me a while to get through them, but I’m pretty certain that now I’m the only person who has read (or probably will ever read!) through every single one. And it would take me even longer to explain how fascinating it was. You see, not so very many plays were absolutely and totally banned, but many hundreds had scenes cut, lines changed, characters removed, costumes – or even lighting – altered, by the demands of the Lord Chamberlain. Often there was extensive correspondence between St James’s Palace (where the Lord Chamberlain was based) and playwrights, theatre managers, government departments, church leaders and members of the public. From Ibsen to Shaw to Strindberg to Pirandello to Rattigan to Lillian Hellman – even to Arthur Miller and Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter – all of them had licences withheld unless and until they agreed to make the cuts he demanded.

Sometimes the contents of the files made me laugh – I can honestly say I’ve never seen so many photographs of nude and nearly-nude women, as the Lord Chamberlain bent his brain to decide which costumes and poses he should allow and which refuse for the Windmill Theatre (often signing his approval across their bodies!). Can you believe that Noel Coward was censored because the Lord Chamberlain feared his plays might encourage a Soviet-style revolution in Britain? Or Sophocles’ Oedipus because he was worried audiences might go home and commit incest? But there were also serious and appalling discoveries. Who knew that right through the 1930s – until the day war was declared in 1939 – you couldn’t stage plays critical of Hitler or the Nazis?

As one MP put it in May 1968, abolition of the Lord Chamberlain’s rule was ‘a considerable Parliamentary achievement for which not only we in the House of Commons, but generations of playwrights yet to come, as well as theatre audiences, will have reason to be grateful’. That was then; this is now.

Professor Stephen Nicholson is a panellist for Censorship: Then and Now, on 17 May – part of our Shakespeare & Censorship series.