Author: Shakespeare's Globe Blog

The true beginning of our end: Summer 2018 memories.The end of…

The true beginning of our end: Summer 2018 memories.

The end of summer is always bittersweet, but we are lucky that when the summer season closes on 14 October our shows will take place in the cosy, candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

But, it’s not over yet!

Before we close the doors of the ‘Wooden O’ we want to share some of our highlights with you. We’d love to hear from you too. You can tweet us, post on our Facebook page or comment on Instagram.

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We were watching the Midnight Matinee of Othello and it was like we were transported to a different time and place altogether. Even though both of us have seen the production before, this time it all just fell into place like a puzzle. And then at the end my friend turned to me and said that she saw a falling star just above us as soon as the second half started. She said she’d never seen anything more magical here – and she’s been coming to the Globe for years!
Nina, from our Research Team, and friend

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My first season and many memories. The Globe visitors never cease to amaze and delight, but I must admit the interaction with our youngest visitors for Telling Tales was a highlight.
Krystyna, one of our volunteer stewards 

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My favourite memories of the season are of James Garnon’s improv skills. When England were playing in the World Cup, during Hamlet, a groundling was watching something on his phone so James Garnon [as Claudius] took it and proceeded to watch it himself. When Polonius asked “England game?” he shushed him and then announced to the audience “2:1!”
Sarah, one of our volunteer stewards

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I adored the jig for Emilia and the huge audience reaction for that production. And the Refugee Week events and Sonnet Sunday were big highlights! Loved seeing all the work spread across the spaces and having local community groups involved was just brilliant.
Jo, General Manager

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Seeing our volunteer stewards kitted our in their gorgeous new, handmade aprons, designed with their input and hand sewn by Ellie Piercy – Globe actress and talented designer. On inside of each apron pocket is a piece of costume from the Globe’s costume archive so each steward wears a piece of Globe history!
Rosie, Volunteer Manager 

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The resounding ‘YES!!’ which roared around me (and surprisingly came out of my own throat!) whilst I was a Groundling watching Emilia.
A member of the Visitor Experience team

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Though there are no shows on the Globe stage from October – April you can take a tour of the building all year round.

Photography, from top: 
Globe theatre and Stewards photographed by Clive Sherlock 
Othello photographed by Simon Annand 
The Winter’s Tale photographed by Marc Brenner 
Hamlet photographed by Tristram Kenton 
Nanjing photographed by Pete Le May 
Emilia photographed by Helen Murray 

Richard II cast. Who are we as a Nation post-Empire and…


Adjoa Andoh


Adjoa Andoh and Lynette Linton


Dona Croll and Shobna Gulati


Ayesha Dharker and Indra Ové


Lourdes Faberes and Leila Farzad


Sarah Lam and Sarah Niles


Nicholle Cherrie and Rajha Shakiry


Dominique Le Gendre, Yarit Dor and Ingrid Pollard

Richard II cast. 

Who are we as a Nation post-Empire and pre-Brexit, and how do we speak truth to power? Who made this country and how do we move forward together? 

As we wrestle with questions of identity and ownership we turn to our greatest playwright to reflect on ‘This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England’. 

Meet the cast of Richard II, opening 22 February 2019. Our production is staged by the first-ever company of women of colour in a Shakespeare play on a major UK stage. Co-directed by Adjoa Andoh and Lynette Linton, Adjoa will also play the titular role.

Adjoa Andoh will play Richard II and co-direct 

Lynette Linton will co-direct 

Dona Croll will play John of Gaunt and the Duchess of York

Shobna Gulati will play the Duke of York 

Ayesha Dharker will play Aumerle

Indra Ové will play Mowbray and Northumberland

Lourdes Faberes will play Bagot and Exton

Leila Farzad will play the Queen 

Sarah Lam will play the Duchess of Gloucester and Gardener

Sarah Niles will play Bolingbroke 

Nicholle Cherrie will play Percy, Green, and Ross 

Rajha Shakiry will design

Dominique Le Gendre will compose 

Yarit Dor will be Movement and Fight director

Ingrid Pollard, artist and photographer, will be photographing and documenting the production and its process

Richard II runs from 22 February – 21 April 2019 in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Sonnet 29

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
      For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
      That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Globe 2019 summer season sponsor announced.We are very pleased…

Globe 2019 summer season sponsor announced.

We are very pleased to announce Merian Global Investors, formerly Old Mutual Global Investors, is to be the sole principal sponsor of the Globe’s 2019 summer season.

On 1 October 2018 Merian Global Investors was officially renamed. The name is inspired by the life of the scientist, artist and adventurer Maria Sibylla Merian.

‘Maria Merian, like our own founder, Sam Wanamaker, was a pioneering force of her day, so it feels an especially timely moment for us to come together’ – Neil Constable, CEO, Shakespeare’s Globe

We look forward to working with Merian Global Investors in the coming months and welcoming everyone to the Globe for the 2019 summer season.

Find out more about Merian Global Investors

Keep an eye on our website and Twitter early in the new year for news on the 2019 summer season.

A chat with Eyam playwright Matt Hartley.Press and PR Officer…

A chat with Eyam playwright Matt Hartley.

Press and PR Officer Phoebe Coleman chatted to playwright Matt Hartley about his inspiration for Eyam and why he feels the story needs to be told now, in the Globe theatre.


Phoebe Coleman: Your play is based on the incredible true events that took place in the village of Eyam in the seventeenth century. How did you discover this story?

Matt Hartley: I grew up in the village next door to Eyam – I could see Eyam from the window of my childhood bedroom. So the story has been very present in my life for as long as I can remember. It’s one of the most defining stories in Peak District history and is rightly celebrated for it but I’m also never surprised when people from all parts of the country tell me that they have heard about or even visited Eyam. It’s a story of human endurance and sacrifice which has a great romantic resonance and I think poses that ultimate question in our human psyche: what would we do when faced with such a dilemma?

PC: What’s the writing process been like turning this history into a script?

MH: It’s been a fascinating process as it’s the first time I have tackled a ‘history’ play. Obviously, the story is so compelling itself so I had to think about how and why I want to tell it now. A lot of what has been written about Eyam was done so hundreds of years after the event, there are very few accounts from the time, therefore it tends to be written about with a great deal of romanticism. One of my prime aims was to try and smash that preconception apart. Eyam at that time in history was the Wild West, infamous highwaymen were soon to roam the hills around it, the families were incredibly poor, they had faced political shifts and social changes on an epic scale.

PC: How has the architecture of the Globe influenced the story?

Another theatre asked me to write the play but it didn’t happen there because of timing. Michelle [Terry, Artistic Director] read it and decided to include it in the season, so then we started thinking about how it would work in the playing arena that is the Globe, as opposed to a more traditional theatre space and it has been the most freeing experience both as a writer and for the play. The relationship between audience and performer is unlike any theatre that I have worked in. The Globe is a truly civic space, as an audience member I have always been enthralled by that direct relationship between the performer and viewer, so one of the first parts of re-writing the piece has been about opening up the play so that audience feel as integral, connected and involved in the play as possible. The prime objective of one of the main characters is to sway the people he stands in front of, so it’s important that these performers will have that same direct relationship with the audience.

PC: Why does it feel important to tell this play now?

MH: When I started writing this play it was about a coalition, two people with very opposing views coming together to lead a community, as that’s where we were politically. Now, we’re in very turbulent times as were the inhabitants of Eyam. They had lived through drastic changes in recent history. People were feeling confused and directionless and that’s why there’s so much discord between them. I’m not saying that this is a complete representation of where we are now, but I think it raises questions about what community is. That is the heart of the play: what is community today and can communities work when there are rifts? I think we’re in a similar position as the people of Eyam found themselves in, where we have to examine what we want as a society, so this play feels very relevant and I hope it resonates now.

PC: This feels like a strongly character-driven play. How much, if at all, did you work from historical accounts when bringing these characters to life?

MH:  First and foremost, I have taken dramatic license with the documented accounts of the story. A lot of names from the script will be familiar from historical accounts and in some places I’ve remained true to that; the gravedigger, Howe, is infamously reported as being of the type of character that I present because that’s too rich not to use. But I’ve made changes where things could be more dramatically interesting. For example, condensing the Mompesson’s, Thomas Stanley and George Viccars arrival into one day. And character choices such as Edward Cooper who would have been about four years old when he died of the plague, but I wrote him in as a nineteen-year-old boy on the cusp of a life-changing event because that allowed me to ask questions about the relationship between mothers and sons. Some characters are amalgamations of multiple villagers. Once you start thinking what characters want, what drives them, then you invent other characters to compliment and provide conflict with the emerging dynamics.

PC: There are so many personal narratives at work here, was it ever tempting to follow the experience of just one character?

MH: I think because we’re talking about a community that loses so many people, we have to care enough about individuals so that we feel their loss. There are more than three hundred people in Eyam at the start of the play and we need a sense of village life. It was very much a conscious decision to have a drone-like look at the entire village. I hope that by including a rich and expansive number of characters the play can be a celebration of working people, those who are regularly forgotten and written out of history.

PC: The script manages to be both incredibly sad and funny. How important is humour and levity to the storytelling?

MH: These are people going through the most extreme moments of their lives – what do you do in those situations? Do you wallow in the difficulty or do you try to find a bit of light? In some of these situations, laughter is the only escape. Also, some of these characters are polar opposites of each other and the conflict this presents is automatically ripe for a little bit of humour. They present obstacles to each other and make each other’s lives difficult. This play is like a funny western and Eyam is the Wild West.  

PC: What has it been like to work with Adele Thomas on this project?

MH: Joyous. Adele is a longstanding friend and this has been the perfect alliance. I had always hoped that Adele would direct this play, regardless of how it happened, and serendipitously Michelle wanted Adele to do it too. Adele knows the space as she’s worked in it before and this knowledge is so important because I’ve only been in the theatre as an avid viewer. She’s helped me guide the play in the direction of the Globe. She works with such bold and brilliant images and has such a clear sense of history that she has helped make the play provocative and ripe with debate. Most of our cast have been in rep on The Winter’s Tale so they’re more firmly formed than a company would usually be at this early stage in rehearsals. Every day in rehearsals is a mixed bag; we’re mixing songs with dancing and history lessons.

PC: What role will singing and dancing play in this production?

MH:  Very significant. I think it’s going to change people’s preconceptions of what the seventeenth century sounded like! This is a play where people are aggressive and they speak their mind. That is absolutely at the heart of the music and movement. But there will also be an ethereal, twisted, haunting, sound. I’ve been quite prescriptive about where music is going to be because I know that we need moments of storytelling that aren’t just textual.

Eyam closes on 13 October.

Photography by Marc Brenner

Building a village: Eyam. Many of the props you see on our…

Building a village: Eyam. 

Many of the props you see on our stages are created by our Props team who work tirelessly to create all manner of items from thousands of books to grace the set of Emilia to beds in Othello. 

Here prop maker Isobel Clenton shares some pictures of the process of making the model village of Eyam seen at the beginning of the play. Each house is based on a real house in the village of Eyam. They are made from Airex, a dense foam that can be sculpted. Find out more about the process and other props from the play in this blog that shares the secrets of how to make realistic deer guts

Eyam closes on 13 October. 

Production photography by Marc Brenner. All other photography by Isobel Clenton. 

Behind the scenes: The making of Eyam.Plague-ridden corpses,…

Behind the scenes: The making of Eyam.

Plague-ridden corpses, skin-able rabbits, deer guts and a miniature model village – these were just some of the things created by our very talented Props team for our production of Eyam.

Headed up by Katy Brooks our Props makers bring the Designers visions to life. In this case they were manifesting the ideas of Hannah Clark who created a stiflingly dark and puritanical world of death and decay.

Eyam is a real village in Derbyshire that was hit with the plague in 1665. The villagers had to make a decision whether to flee and risk spreading the deadly disease or stay and suffer the dire consequences.

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Houses created by Beth (@bclentz) and Isobel (@Isobelirwin)

Many of the houses still exist and after visiting the village director Adele Thomas asked that the model village that appears on stage at the opening of the play represent the real houses of Eyam in all their worn irregularity. The houses themselves are made of Airex, a dense foam that can be sculpted, allowing for more detail than wood. Its lightness makes it easier for the cast to handle. Props must look good, but they must be easy and comfortable for the actors to work with.

Charlotte Austen got stuck into the blood and guts of the show, creating the deer guts, heart and a rotten finger which was cast from a real (living) finger.

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Images © Charlotte Austen 

To create realistic, but hygienic deer guts Charlotte used silicone cured inside tubes, and latex balloons filled with flexible foam. The heart was clay sculpted and then cast out of silicone and filled with soft foam.

You can see more of Charlotte’s work, and her works in progress on her website

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Body by Lifecast and finger casting

The plague-ridden body was made by prosthetics company Lifecast who make wonderfully horrible things. All the other props were made by our Props team.

Catch Eyam on the Globe stage until 13 October. 

Audience thoughts on Eyam

Othello, Shakespeare & Race.Complementing our production of…

Othello, Shakespeare & Race.

Complementing our production of Othello, our new temporary exhibition, Othello, Shakespeare & Race, shows the influence that the multicultural world of 17th-century Venice has on the current production in the Globe Theatre and director Claire van Kampen’s approach to the play. We look back at our previous productions of Othello, with photographs and highlights from our wardrobe notebooks. We explore early-modern conceptions of race, the 1565 Italian source for the Othello story, its early performance history, beginning with Richard Burbage in the title role, and the ground-breaking performances by Ira Aldridge and Paul Robeson in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Othello, Shakespeare & Race is on display in the Globe Exhibition until 14 October. 

Exhibition photography by Pete Le May, Othello production photography by Simon Annand

Macbeth castRobert Hastie will direct Macbeth; a timely reminder…

Macbeth cast

Robert Hastie will direct Macbeth; a timely reminder of the destruction that can result from the quest for power, and an examination of the evil forces that can take root in the imagination of a tyrant.

The cast:

Catrin Aaron will play Lennox 
Philip Cumbus will play Banquo 
Marc Elliott will play Ross 
Joseph Marcell will play Duncan and Porter 
Anna-Maria Nabirye will play Macduff
Kirsty Rider will play Lady Macduff 
Philippine Velge will play Donalbain 
Kit Young will play Malcolm
Paul Ready will play Macbeth 
Michelle Terry will play Lady Macbeth 

Macbeth opens in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse on 7 November 2018.