Category: Theatre

The Macbeths that went wrongWe all know the stories of…

The Macbeths that went wrong

We all know the stories of productions of ‘the Scottish Play’ where things have gone awry. Even our own Access Manager, David Bellwood recalls a time in his past life as a performer when a friend dared to utter the word ‘Macbeth’ in the theatre and what happened as a consequence.

You might think that it’s always been cursed but critic Paul Menzer points out that the history of Macbeth’s supposed bad luck is relatively recent with there being no mention of a curse for the first 300 years of the play’s history. However, maybe it’s incidents like these that follow that have fuelled the flames of superstition.

On 20 August 1671, diarist and 3rd Baronet of Lamport, Thomas Isham,  recorded a fatality at a showing of Macbeth:

It is reported that Harris has killed his associate actor, in a scene on the stage, by accident. It was the tragedy of ‘Macbeth,’ in which Harris performed the part of Macduff, and ought to have slain his fellow-actor, Macbeth; but during the fence it  happened that Macduff pierced Macbeth in the eye, by which thrust he fell lifeless, and could not bring out the last words of his part. 

In 1688, the dramatic  biographer and critic, Gerard Langbaine witnessed another Macbeth that didn’t go to plan:

At the Acting of this Tragedy, on the Stage, I saw a real one acted in the Pit; I mean the Death of Mr. Scroop, who received his death’s wound from the late Sir Thomas Armstrong, and died presently after he was remov’d to a House opposite to the Theatre in Dorset-Garden.

And finally actor Frank Benson recalls a performance in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1900  where ‘everything went wrong’, from drunken actors to prop mishaps, lighting errors, and mistimed curtains.

We’ll find out the truth about curses from 7 November when Macbeth opens in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Photography: 
Macbeth, 2016 by Marc Brenner 

The Macbeths that went wrong.We all know the stories of…

The Macbeths that went wrong.

We all know the stories of productions of ‘the Scottish Play’ where things have gone awry. Even our own Access Manager, David Bellwood recalls a time in his past life as a performer when a friend dared to utter the word ‘Macbeth’ in the theatre and what happened as a consequence.

You might think that it’s always been cursed but critic Paul Menzer points out that the history of Macbeth’s supposed bad luck is relatively recent with there being no mention of a curse for the first 300 years of the play’s history. However, maybe it’s incidents like these that follow that have fuelled the flames of superstition.

On 20 August 1671, diarist and 3rd Baronet of Lamport, Thomas Isham,  recorded a fatality at a showing of Macbeth:

It is reported that Harris has killed his associate actor, in a scene on the stage, by accident. It was the tragedy of ‘Macbeth,’ in which Harris performed the part of Macduff, and ought to have slain his fellow-actor, Macbeth; but during the fence it  happened that Macduff pierced Macbeth in the eye, by which thrust he fell lifeless, and could not bring out the last words of his part. 

In 1688, the dramatic  biographer and critic, Gerard Langbaine witnessed another Macbeth that didn’t go to plan:

At the Acting of this Tragedy, on the Stage, I saw a real one acted in the Pit; I mean the Death of Mr. Scroop, who received his death’s wound from the late Sir Thomas Armstrong, and died presently after he was remov’d to a House opposite to the Theatre in Dorset-Garden.

And finally actor Frank Benson recalls a performance in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1900  where ‘everything went wrong’, from drunken actors to prop mishaps, lighting errors, and mistimed curtains.

We’ll find out the truth about curses from 7 November when Macbeth opens in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Photography: 
Macbeth, 2016 by Marc Brenner 

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 

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.

image

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

image

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 

image

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

image

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

image

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 

Plague and the Theatre in Shakespeare’s London Barbara Taylor of…

Plague and the Theatre in Shakespeare’s London 

Barbara Taylor of the Globe Research team delves into the murky world of the Plague to see if theatres were to blame for its spread. Grab your nosegays as you enter the Plague-stricken village of Eyam.


In 1577, clergyman Thomas White offered a pithy analysis of the relationship between plague and theatre. ‘The cause of plagues is sin,’ he wrote, ‘and the cause of sin are plays: therefore the cause of plagues are plays’.  Such a view wasn’t the opinion of a single preacher. The aldermen of the city of London wrote to the Privy Council in 1584, claiming that to put on drama during times of sickness ‘is to draw the plague by offending God on occasions of such plays’. Whether or not it was widely believed that plays, actors, and the sinful temptations of the public theatre were directly responsible for the plague, it was common practice in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to shut the whole sordid business down whenever the plague reared its ugly head.

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A book of prayers to ward off the plague (1603)

Since the fourteenth-century Black Death, which wiped out huge swathes of Europe’s population, the plague came and went from England in waves, periodically sweeping over the country and taking thousands of lives with it. Because its true cause – diseased rats infecting humans through the bites of fleas – was unknown, boundless theories, superstitions, and so-called treatments emerged. The plague was a punishment from God; or the result of planetary alignments; or an imbalance and corruption of the body’s humours; or a combination of all the above. Preventions and remedies included surrounding yourself and your home with specific herbs, or peeling onions to leave in the street so they might absorb the infection of the neighbourhood. ‘Treatments’ also included fasting and praying. Needless to say, despite onions and prayer, chance of survival for the infected lingered optimistically at 50%.

Shakespeare’s life was affected by the plague. It probably took the life of his son Hamnet in 1596, and regularly closed the public London theatres that were the primary source of income for Shakespeare and his family. During these periods of closure Shakespeare and his fellow company-members could take their plays on tour to the provinces, although as arrivals from the plague-hit capital city they couldn’t be sure of a warm welcome. During an 11-month shutdown between 1603 and 1604, the new King James helped to tide the company over with financial hand-outs and the chance to perform at Court.

The plague-struck early years of the seventeenth century affected the demand for new plays, as touring companies took their tried-and-tested repertory on the road. The playwright Thomas Dekker complained in 1607 that these companies were ‘making fools of the poor country people’ who had to make do with old fare passed off as new work – ‘which here [in London] every punk and her squire […] can rant by heart, they are so stale and therefore so stinking’.

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An illustration from the title page of Thomas Dekker’s ‘A Rod for Run-Awayes’ (1625), a pamphlet decrying those who fled London during the Great Plague.

After Shakespeare’s death in 1616, London would see its worst plague yet: the so-called ‘Great Plague’ of 1625, which killed an estimated one-sixth of London’s population, and drove flocks of people to flee the city. One of the victims of this plague was John Fletcher, Shakespeare’s collaborator who had taken over as playwright for the King’s Men. The shock of the 1625 plague lived in the city’s memory for decades, only to be dislodged by the horror of the 1665 outbreak – a pestilence that spread along trade routes from London all the way to the remote village of Eyam in Derbyshire…

Eyam, written by Matt Hartley and directed by Adele Thomas opens at the Globe on 15 September. 

Header image: Runaways fleeing from the plague, from ‘A Looking-glasse for City and Countrey’, (1630)

shakespearesglobeblog: Othello: In production….

shakespearesglobeblog:

Othello: In production. 

Shakespeare’s all too human story tale of jealousy and betrayal, Othello plays in the Globe theatre until 13 October. Directed by Claire van Kampen. 

Photography: Simon Annand

Measure for Measure gender swap may be theatri…

Measure for Measure gender swap may be theatrical first: undefined

Photos from the Sam Wanamaker Festival 201840 students from 20…

Photos from the Sam Wanamaker Festival 2018

40 students from 20 drama schools arrived at Shakespeare’s Globe on Friday and spent the entire weekend singing, workshopping and dancing together as part of the Sam Wanamaker Festival 2018

On Sunday they presented duologues from plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries to a roaring crowd. Photographer Cesare De Giglio captured them on stage and also backstage in the lead up to their energetic performance which ended with one mighty ‘Globe jig’!

The event was a gorgeous celebration of the conservatoire training available in the UK and lovely to watch emerging actors perform together as a company.

The 1,500 strong audience raised the ‘roof’ (well, we don’t have a roof but you know what we mean!) in support of the students – on Sunday Shakespeare’s Globe was pulsating with energy, at its liveliest and loudest.

Naturally we can’t wait to do it all again next year. See you in 2019!

Photography by Cesare De Giglio 

Five Star Reviews for #FourSeasons!Gyre & Gimble’s…

Five Star Reviews for #FourSeasons!

Gyre & Gimble’s Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: A Reimagining plays in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse until Saturday 21 April 2018 and has opened to an amazing audience and critical response.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Some of the most magical and moving puppeteering you will get to see […] a remarkable evening’
The Times

⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Transfixing’
Financial Times

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Gyre & Gimble have made magic’
The Arts Desk

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘An emotional rollercoaster, filled with touching and charming moments […] A night you will never forget’
BroadwayWorldUK

⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Feels like something entirely new, a genre unto itself, and a really exciting one at that’
WhatsOnStage

⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Spellbinding in its simplicity and for the breadth of its emotional canvas’
The Stage

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘There are not enough words to praise the work of art that the team of The Four Seasons performed’
The Upcoming

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Puppetry at its finest’
Theatre Bubble

‘This vastly skilled team imbue every tiny, sensitive movement with meaning and feeling’
The Independent

‘This has dramatically transformed for me what is possible with the medium’
Exeunt Magazine

‘Gyre & Gimble are puppet directors at the top of their game’
Time Out

See more photos on Facebook

Pictured: puppeteers Avye Leventis, Elisa De Grey, Ben Thompson, Craig Leo and John Leader, photography by Steve Tanner.

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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! https://www.wickedthemusical.co.uk/london/tickets/book-tickets