Category: King’s College

Costume and Cosmetics at the Globe Delivered in partnership with…

Costume and Cosmetics at the Globe 

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.

Current MA student Kate Bauer reflects on discovering how costume and cosmetics are used at the Globe.


Even as the sun begins to linger a little longer in the evenings, our classes with the Shakespeare’s Globe have finally walked off into the sunset.

Well, it certainly sounds like I’ve been reading too many sonnets recently.

Moving over from Ireland to study this course has been one of the best decisions of my life and has expanded my mind in all things Shakespearean whilst making some wonderful connections along the way! Even after finding out we Irish ‘savages’ are not so nicely referenced in most sixteenth-century drama, I found this to be a wonderfully welcoming experience delving into the world of Shakespeare.

Costumes and clothes have always been an integral part of staging Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Having worked on some of the very first Globe productions, costume designer Hattie Barsby allowed us quite literally to step into the garments of the past in her session on Dressing Shakespeare’s Actors! She showed our class the exceptional design and craftsmanship that goes into each item, and who doesn’t love a good dress-up?

We ended our wonderful term on Staging Shakespeare in Early Modern Playhouses with a seminar on cosmetics in the early modern period. Dr Farah Karim Cooper, Head of Higher Education and Research, began with an insightful lecture followed by a make-up demonstration given by Pam Humpage. She showed us how to apply the cosmetics used in ‘Original Practices’ productions at the Globe which aim to only use products available at the time. Their research of the period is coupled with their creative handiwork to manufacture a possible glimpse into the past.

Farah highlighted the constant debate surrounding make-up in the period; Elizabethans loved a natural, glowing complexion but often looked down upon a woman making use of products, such as crushed pearl or even deadly ingredients like lead, to achieve such an appearance. My personal favourite trick was how women painted blue veins on to their necks – make-up enthusiasts please take note!

Feeding this workshop into our research was hugely supportive as we studied the early modern attitude to how ‘the clothes doth make the man’ and how your clothes designated your social position.

Carrying on into the new summer season, this notion of the clothes making the man is even more exciting when we consider the current productions of Hamlet and As You Like It.

Michelle Terry, the Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, leads the cast of Hamlet in the titular role, playing the Prince of Elsinore himself. A male actor, Shubham Saraf steps into the watery shoes of Hamlet’s love, the fair Ophelia. Many of the great roles in the two productions are similarly ‘cross-cast’ which creates an exciting opportunity for the audience to see a fresh side to this iconic play.

Deaf actor, Nadia Nadarajah, speaking of taking on the role of Hamlet’s pal Guildenstern, says there is ‘Shakespearean English and British Sign Language wrestling to find a fit’ in this production. This inclusion of a wider area of communicative methods reflects the growing concern for representation on the Shakespearean stage.

For further reading on cosmetics and clothing in the early modern period see:

Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory (Cambridge University Press, 2000)

Farah Karim-Cooper, Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama (Edinburgh University Press, 2006)

Applications for the MA in Shakespeare Studies starting in September 2018 are now open. Read more and make your application.

Costume and Cosmetics at the Globe Delivered in partnership with…

Costume and Cosmetics at the Globe 

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.

Current MA student Kate Bauer reflects on discovering how costume and cosmetics are used at the Globe.


Even as the sun begins to linger a little longer in the evenings, our classes with the Shakespeare’s Globe have finally walked off into the sunset.

Well, it certainly sounds like I’ve been reading too many sonnets recently.

Moving over from Ireland to study this course has been one of the best decisions of my life and has expanded my mind in all things Shakespearean whilst making some wonderful connections along the way! Even after finding out we Irish ‘savages’ are not so nicely referenced in most sixteenth-century drama, I found this to be a wonderfully welcoming experience delving into the world of Shakespeare.

Costumes and clothes have always been an integral part of staging Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Having worked on some of the very first Globe productions, costume designer Hattie Barsby allowed us quite literally to step into the garments of the past in her session on Dressing Shakespeare’s Actors! She showed our class the exceptional design and craftsmanship that goes into each item, and who doesn’t love a good dress-up?

We ended our wonderful term on Staging Shakespeare in Early Modern Playhouses with a seminar on cosmetics in the early modern period. Dr Farah Karim Cooper, Head of Higher Education and Research, began with an insightful lecture followed by a make-up demonstration given by Pam Humpage. She showed us how to apply the cosmetics used in ‘Original Practices’ productions at the Globe which aim to only use products available at the time. Their research of the period is coupled with their creative handiwork to manufacture a possible glimpse into the past.

Farah highlighted the constant debate surrounding make-up in the period; Elizabethans loved a natural, glowing complexion but often looked down upon a woman making use of products, such as crushed pearl or even deadly ingredients like lead, to achieve such an appearance. My personal favourite trick was how women painted blue veins on to their necks – make-up enthusiasts please take note!

Feeding this workshop into our research was hugely supportive as we studied the early modern attitude to how ‘the clothes doth make the man’ and how your clothes designated your social position.

Carrying on into the new summer season, this notion of the clothes making the man is even more exciting when we consider the current productions of Hamlet and As You Like It.

Michelle Terry, the Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, leads the cast of Hamlet in the titular role, playing the Prince of Elsinore himself. A male actor, Shubham Saraf steps into the watery shoes of Hamlet’s love, the fair Ophelia. Many of the great roles in the two productions are similarly ‘cross-cast’ which creates an exciting opportunity for the audience to see a fresh side to this iconic play.

Deaf actor, Nadia Nadarajah, speaking of taking on the role of Hamlet’s pal Guildenstern, says there is ‘Shakespearean English and British Sign Language wrestling to find a fit’ in this production. This inclusion of a wider area of communicative methods reflects the growing concern for representation on the Shakespearean stage.

For further reading on cosmetics and clothing in the early modern period see:

Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory (Cambridge University Press, 2000)

Farah Karim-Cooper, Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama (Edinburgh University Press, 2006)

Applications for the MA in Shakespeare Studies starting in September 2018 are now open. Read more and make your application.

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)

Studying Shakespeare at the Globe: MA students…

Studying Shakespeare at the Globe: MA students reflect 

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.

In
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.