We are the 2018 #GlobeEnsemble (currently rehearsing HamletandAs You Like It) and we’re getting into the swing of things. Unlike many other previous Shakespeare’s Globe companies, our group really have been starting from the very beginning.
When we first got together, ‘starting from scratch’ was a key part of our collective brief. All production choices made so far and to be made in the coming weeks will spring from what happens in our rehearsal room.
In the usual theatre-making process, for Shakespeare’s Globe and many other companies, more often than not these decisions are made months before rehearsals start, often months before the production is even cast. For our #GlobeEnsemble, this process really did begin as a completely blank canvas.
The rehearsal room belongs to all of us equally (the designer, the composer, the choreographer, the actors and the directors) in its entirety – it is a test tube in which everything and anything can be flung in and we can be as curious as we wish.
As we continue work, many ideas will be skimmed off, some will dissolve and be completely forgotten… but some powerful ideas will form crystals and be eventually assembled into final productions that we welcome you to from 25 April 2018.
Unusually, this rehearsal process is also ‘open’ which means others (such as staff, students, practitioners and other directors) can sit in the room at any time to watch the plays develop. We think it can be beneficial to share rehearsal processes and experiences, especially with Shakespeare and especially when experimentation is at play. Also, the Globe Theatre is an audience-dominated playing space, more like a football stadium than a conventional theatre! The audience have a huge influence on the performance and so having a busy rehearsal room prepares us for that busy, distracted playing space.
We’ve been thinking about how else we can ‘open’ this space to you, so for the next month we’re going to be taking you inside the test tube digitally via a series of videos and photos. We want you to feel and breathe this process as much as we do. Follow the hashtag #GlobeEnsemble and get ready to see what gets thrown into the mix.
In this Q&A, meet Artistic Director Designate Michelle Terry ahead of her first season at Shakespeare’s Globe, which kicks off this April with Hamlet and As You Like It.
What is your first memory of Shakespeare’s Globe?
Queuing for Twelfth Night on a warm Sunday in 2002. I bought a tub of mixed nuts and a pint of beer and stood in the yard on my own and couldn’t believe what I was watching. The most permissive, empowering, autonomous experience I have ever had in a theatre.
Do you have a favourite memory in this building?
Playing the Princess of France in Love’s Labour’s Lost in 2009, I was sitting on a walkway that came out into the yard, facing the stage when I felt a tug on my corset string. I turned my head and a man said, “I’m terribly sorry, your majesty. Your corset has come undone”. It was the most sublime moment where logic and myth came together. It was totally logical to this man that he should save me from an embarrassment, but simultaneously he was immersed enough in the myth and the story to call me “your majesty”! Pure Globe.
Photo: Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed by Dominic Dromgoole, 2009
Why did you want to work at Shakespeare’s Globe?
It’s the most theatrical space I know and where Shakespeare makes the most sense to me.
Pictured: ‘And let us… on your imaginary forces work’ (Henry V) – part of our new cause statement
What’s the best thing about your job?
No matter how hard things get, the bottom line is that we all get to work on these incredible plays in these incredible spaces and share them with an audience in the most sensorial and experiential way. It’s extraordinary.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future of Shakespeare’s Globe?
That we continue to delight audiences, from the eight year old to the eighty-nine year old, with these plays in these unique playhouses, and continue to surprise and inspire the passionate aficionados and the newcomer alike.
Photos of Michelle Terry by Sarah Lee
What are you most proud of?
To be a part of the history of the journey of this extraordinary building.
Do you have a favourite Shakespeare quote?
‘Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.’ (Measure for Measure)
Favourite Shakespeare play?
All of them!
Photo: Pete Le May
What would your 90 year old self say to you now?
Keep going. It matters.
If you could describe Shakespeare’s Globe in one word, what would it be?
Apologies for the lack of regular posting – work/research/writing has kept me pretty busy lately. My UK trip is coming up next week, so hopefully I should have extra time to post some Shakespeare-related pics/news soon. Oh, and I managed to score tickets to the Kenneth Branagh/Tom Hiddleston Hamlet, so I’ll try and take some photos to share.