Category: Theatre

When Dorothy famously triumphed over the Wicke…

When Dorothy famously triumphed over the Wicked Witch, we only ever heard one side of the story. Gregory Maguire’s acclaimed 1995 novel, ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’, re-imagines the Land of Oz, creating a parallel universe to the familiar story written by L. Frank Baum and first published as ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ in 1900.

Wicked tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two young women who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba. Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power while Elphaba’s determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences for her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Acclaimed as “one of the West End’s true modern classics” (Metro), and already the 15th longest running show in London theatre history, Wicked has show-stopping songs by Academy Award® winner Stephen Schwartz and is adapted for the stage by Winnie Holzman (My So Called Life).

Wicked is a three-time winner of the WhatsOnStage Award for ‘Best West End Show’ and a two-time winner of the Olivier Audience Award.  

Get your tickets here!

#GlobeOnTour 2018 in RehearsalOur #GlobeOnTour company are in…

Cynthia Emeagi.

Cynthia Emeagi.

Steffan Cennydd and Sarah Finigan.

Luke Brady.

Steffan Cennydd.

Colm Gormley and Rhianna McGreevy.

Brendan O’ Hea (Director) and Isabel Marr (Assistant Director).

Rhianna McGreevy.

Cynthia Emeagi, Russell Layton, Colm Gormley, Steffan Cennydd, Jacqueline Phillips, Rhianna McGreevy, Sarah Finigan and Luke Brady.

#GlobeOnTour 2018 in Rehearsal

Our #GlobeOnTour company are in rehearsals. This year they will take Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew and The Merchant of Venice on tour to various venues across the world. 

Some of the performances will be decided beforehand, but for others the choice of play will often be given to the audience on the evening of the performance, in order to experiment with how a company would have toured in Shakespeare’s day.

See the full rehearsal gallery on Facebook

Browse tour locations

Photography by Marc Brenner

Apprentice Jadzia’s Big Awards Win!Today, as well as celebrating…

Apprentice Jadzia’s Big Awards Win!

Today, as well as celebrating National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2018), we’re cheering a massive congratulations to our apprentice Jadzia for her big achievement last night at the Lewisham Southwark College Apprenticeship Awards.

Jadzia won Creative Apprentice of the Year Award – a well-deserved recognition of all the amazing work she is doing here with us and at college. Well done Jadzia!

In addition, we successfully scooped the Apprenticeship Employer of the Year Prize, another fantastic result.

A very successful night in Southwark for Shakespeare’s Globe!

Read more about the Shakespeare’s Globe apprentices

Pictured: Andrew Lawson (Head of Human Resources, Shakespeare’s Globe) and Jadzia Francis (Education Operations Apprentice)

Photography: Joe O’Neill

Meet the Shakespeare’s Globe Apprentices!It’s National…

Meet the Shakespeare’s Globe Apprentices!

It’s National Apprenticeship Week, and our four Apprentices Ria-Renee, Pedro, Joshua and Jadzia wanted to share their experiences working at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Our Apprenticeship Scheme employs these 4 young people who work across our Theatre, Communications, Education and Visitor Experience teams. They are working full-time and studying for Level 2 qualifications at Lewisham Southwark College (in Live Events and Promotion, Business Administration and Cultural Venue Operations). 

With us for a year, the Apprentices are valued members of our Globe community, contributing amazing work to the different projects they are engaging with. 

This week, congratulations are in order for Jadzia who was awarded the title of Creative Apprentice of the Year at the Southwark College Apprenticeship Awards!


‘Working at the Globe is very active and very fun – I have achieved and will achieve more amazing experience here.’ Ria-Renee


‘Working at Shakespeare’s Globe is a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.’ Pedro


‘I have grown to love working at the Globe, getting to do what I love and developing my skills on a daily basis. Being one of the first Apprentices on the scheme makes it even more exciting. Anyone who wants to become an Apprentice here should know how great of an opportunity it is.’ Joshua


‘I am really honoured to work at the Globe. It has opened my eyes to new possibilities and I am delighted to be a part of the scheme. Apprentices are the way forward!’ Jadzia

We are excited to see what great things these guys go on to do in the future!

The Shakes-peers Collective: The AlchemistsOur Shakes-peers…

The Shakes-peers Collective: The Alchemists

Our Shakes-peers Collective company have been taking part in workshops and blogging about their experiences here at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Open Access Arts’ Jeanette Rourke describes the group’s latest session.

If you were a type of dessert, based on how you feel now, what dessert would you be? There were lots of fizzy sherbets in the room today but I’m pretty sure I’d be a Banoffee Pie!

We always ‘check-in’ like this, in a fun way, at the top of our sessions. Here we all were together for the third time. We huddled together to do a pencil sketch of how the sharing of our work may be next week. Amanda and Victoria support the group whilst having the all important tea and biscuits. That done, its off to the GLOBE STAGE! Each time it is SO exciting, it is such a magical place.

We make a few simple ‘staging’ decisions and off we go! Each person ‘performing’ the pieces we have been working on, with such raw honesty. Amazing responses have also been written by some the group and we listen in wonder.

Shakespeare’s words and our words shared in this spellbinding place, how extraordinary is that!  For some that have joined us, these workshops are the first time they have ever been in real contact with Shakespeare’s language and the “I don’t know what this is” of our first session has melted away. 

By allowing ourselves to be open to the process, magical things have happened. As Shakespeare said, “you are an alchemist; make gold of that.”

Elizabethan Special EffectsIn this new series of blogs, we’re…

Elizabethan Special Effects

In this new series of blogs, we’re going to take you behind the scenes of our Guided Tours & Exhibition. Open all year round, the tour gives you an opportunity to learn more about this unique building and its most famous playwright, Shakespeare.

In this post, Exhibition Assistant Claire Reeves talks about how stage effects would have been created in Shakespeare’s time.

Facing tough competition from neighbouring theatres, such as the Rose and Swan, Shakespeare’s company, The King’s Men, had to fight hard to keep their share of the audience. So, like blockbuster movie producers today, they often looked to special effects to help wow audiences and keep them coming back for more.

There is the famous story of how, on the 29th June 1613, the company fired a cannon above the stage as part of a performance of Henry VIII. Part of the wadding flew out and landed on the thatched roof, starting a fire that would lead to the theatre burning to the ground. This was just one of the special effects used in Elizabethan Theatres. 

The Tempest is one of Shakespeare’s most spectacular plays, featuring raging storms, magic and even fairies. It also features one of Shakespeare’s most spectacular special effects. In Act Three Scene Three Prospero leads part of the shipwrecked party to a grand feast conjured by the spirit Ariel. However, just as the group reaches out to take the food Ariel ‘clasps his wings upon the table and, with a quaint device, the banquet vanishes.’ So how, without Prospero’s magic books, could Shakespeare’s company make a table of food disappear before the audience’s very eyes? 

The answer is simple: with a cleverly designed Trick Table. The table would be brought onto stage elaborately decorated with the magical feast. However, what the audience doesn’t realise is this table is carefully weighted so that once a pin was removed the top of the table would flip over to reveal the blank table top, concealing the feast below. The actors would crowd round the table, appearing to grab food from the feast. This meant that when the table flipped the audience couldn’t see the movement so when the actors step away in shock the food seems to have magically disappeared.

Of course The Tempest doesn’t just require magical special effects, it also needs a storm! Whilst you could be forgiven for thinking that there is enough rain and wind in a British Summer to make storm effects unnecessary in an open air theatre, Shakespeare and his company didn’t agree! Instead they came up with numerous ingenious machines to help ensure that, even on the brightest days, you got the full force of Prospero’s Tempest! 

The easiest way to create the sound of thunder was by banging drum in the Tiring House behind the stage. However, they all produced a device called a Thunder Run which was a wooden trough attached to a stand similar to a see-saw. This would be placed in the Sound Attic above the stage. A stagehand would then place a cannon ball in the groove and roll it from one end to the other to create a rumbling sound. To complete the effect they also use a device called a Swevel to create lightening. This was a wire reaching from the roof of the heavens to the stage bellow. Gunpowder could be purchased from a grocer or ironmonger and used to make a firecracker that could be lit to fly down the wire to the stage, sending sparks all the way. 

And, of course, Lear cannot cry ‘Blow winds and crack your cheeks’ without the wind. To create the sound of wind they had a large cylinder covered in fabric. When a handle on the side was turned the cylinder would rotate, moving the fabric and creating the sound of howling winds. This technique is still used on our stage today. In fact the wind machine used in our 2008 production of King Lear can be found in our Exhibition, so why not come and have a go at creating a storm yourself? 

Visit our Exhibition and find out more about other special effects, like flying gods, demons emerging from hell and of course how they achieved all of the blood and gore needed for all of Shakespeare’s tragedies!

Words: Claire Reeves
Photo: John Wildgoose

The Shakes-peers Collective: To Be or Not To BeOn 8 January we…

The Shakes-peers Collective: To Be or Not To Be

On 8 January we ran our first workshop as part of a new collaboration with Open Access Arts (OAA), St Mungo’s and The Clement James Centre. The Shakes-peers Collective is made up of 16 individuals – many identifying as socially excluded and with a range of access and support needs.

Using Shakespeare’s plays as inspiration, the company have been exploring the connection between themselves, each other, our words and our spaces.

As well as joining to write a collective poem, the group will be sharing their experiences in the form of blogs. Shakespeare’s Globe Practitioner and Actor Beru Tessema reflects on the first two sessions.

I step out into the space, open the stage doors and see the participants run on to the stage – a brilliant start to our work. No matter how many times I step on to that stage it remains magical. I could see this discovery of the magic in each member of our group. 

We walked on the stage with open arms, breathing in the space, connecting to the space. Making real contact to the space, giving ourselves to it and being part of it. The group then took the space further by speaking the immortal words “To be or not to be.” 

The most moving and extraordinary moment came when we took some time and just watch each other connect to the space with open arms in silence. This was extraordinary because the singularity and wonder of each member of the group was revealed in the space. 

We went to the rehearsal room where we chose speeches and started the journey of connecting with Shakespeare’s words. We finished this fantastic first session with a poem we wrote together. The words of The Shakes-peers Collective has the truth of Shakespeare.


In our second sessions, taking the speeches to the stage was super exciting. The group’s connection to the space was immediate. An ease and confidence was growing. We all belong on this stage. We can feel this now. 

Each member took turns speaking the speech individually while the rest of the group responded by repeating out loud the words or the lines that resonated with us. We were communicating with each other. Call and response showed us how this absence of a ‘fourth wall’ goes to the heart of Globe’s practice. I heard the speeches in a way I’d not heard them before because of the depth and truthfulness of connection. 

In the rehearsal space we explored our connection to the speeches further by drawing our self portraits. This was deeply inspiring and nourishing to see and listen to. The group shared their lived experiences, responses to speeches and what became clear is the link between the members of the group and the depth of the ideas Shakespeare explores in the speeches. It was profound. The ownership the members of the group found for their speeches was powerful. I can’t wait for our next session!

The Shakes-peers Collective: A Globe for Us ALLOn 8 January we…

The Shakes-peers Collective: A Globe for Us ALL

On 8 January we ran our first workshop as part of a new collaboration with Open Access Arts (OAA), St Mungo’s and The Clement James Centre

The Shakes-peers Collective is made up of 16 individuals – many identifying as socially excluded and with a range of access and support needs. 

We will be facilitating four sessions over the coming months and these are co-led by a Shakespeare’s Globe Education Practitioner and the Open Access Arts Team.

Using Shakespeare’s plays as inspiration, the company have been exploring the connection between themselves, each other, our words and our spaces.

In session one, this incredibly talented and diverse group dived straight into a workshop. Along with actor Beru Tessema, and Jeanette Rourke and Amanda Bass (two of the project leaders from Open Access Arts) the group looked at Shakespeare’s words and stories in their original context and a contemporary setting.

At the end of the session, the group wrote a collective poem to express how their time together had been. 

You are amazing. I am privileged to have spent time with you
A group that is filled with joy
A room full of sparkle
I am so moved by everyone’s power and confidence!
Feel it, give yourself to it. Don’t fear. Accept yourself for once.  It’s time.
I feel the energy vibrating in the room
I will express myself to the fullest
Wow! The power of the stage
To release, to forget oneself, and smile.
As an opened Forget-Me-Not Shakespeare has filled my heart and spread his seed again.
Beautiful relief to be breathing hopeful in the creative company of others
Transformation by simple means.
Releasing my inner power to motivate my confidence.
Wonderful feeling and blessed to break through. It is amazing to be here
Empowering. The floorboards are mine. They didn’t creak, or did they moan.
I stood, I looked. I acknowledged the space. You’re mine
It was beautiful to be in Shakespeare’s spirit

Words: Jeanette Rourke and Amanda Bass

Playing Shakespeare 2018: In RehearsalRehearsals are underway…

Playing Shakespeare 2018: In Rehearsal

Rehearsals are underway for Playing Shakespeare 2018 with Deutsche Bank.

This version of Much Ado About Nothing is created for those new to Shakespeare, young people, families and schools. 

Performances start on 23 February.

Photography by Cesare de Giglio

Find more photos and information on Facebook

Imaginary Forces: Q&A with Michelle TerryIn 2018, we’ve…

Imaginary Forces: Q&A with Michelle Terry

In 2018, we’ve entered an exciting new phase. Our new summer season was announced earlier this month, along with a new visual identity.

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?

Vital. Alive. Wonder-Full… nope, sorry, one word is not enough.

Shakespeare’s Globe Summer Season 2018 goes on sale to the public on 29 January, but you can support us as a Friend to receive priority booking.