The first season at Shakespeare’s Globe under new artistic director Michelle Terry has been announced, ranging from some of the Bard’s greatest hits to premieres of new plays.
The programme will open on 25 April with Hamlet which will play alongside As You Like It from 2 May. Both written around 1599, the year the original Globe was built, they will be presented by The Globe Ensemble which includes, among others, Federay Holmes, Bettrys Jones, Jack Laskey, Nadia Nadarajah, Pearce Quigley, Shubham Saraf, Elle While, Tanika Yearwood and Michelle Terry herself. They intend to explore these well-known plays as if for the first time, with the unique opportunity of performing them in the theatre for which they were written.
Brendan O’Hea will direct a tour of eight actors with The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night. The three plays will open at the Globe before setting out on a national and international tour where they will offer the audience the chance to pick their choice from the three plays, mimicking a tradition from Shakespeare’s day. Venues already announced include Chilham Castle in Kent, Art Carnuntum in Austria, the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond in North Yorkshire, Brighton Open Air Theatre and the Oxford Bodleian Library Quad.
From 25 May, the Globe will stage The Two Noble Kinsmen by John Fletcher and William Shakespeare, directed by Barrie Rutter – his first play since stepping down as artistic director of Northern Broadsides. Barrie is soon to be directing and appearing in his forthcoming production of The Captive Queen in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse as part of the 2017/18 winter season, co-produced by Northern Broadsides.
The Winter’s Tale will run from 22 June, directed by Blanche McIntyre who is returning to the Globe after previously directing The Comedy of Errors in 2014 and As You Like It in 2015.
To tie in with Refugee Week from 18 to 24 June, the Globe will present a festival of events exploring Shakespeare’s response to refuge and refugees. The week will include the premiere of Nanjing, a piece about identity, dispossession and the consequences of war. Written and performed by Jude Christian, it tells the story of the Nanjing Massacre of 1937, often referred to as the Rape of Nanking.
André Holland, best known for his roles in Oscar-winning films Moonlight and Selma, will play Othello alongside Mark Rylance as Iago when Othello takes the stage from 20 July. Rylance, who is currently starring in the Globe’s production of Farinelli and the King on Broadway, is returning after being the theatre’s founding artistic director from 1996 to 2005. It will be directed by Claire van Kampen, the writer of Farinelli and the King, who has been director of productions such as Nice Fish in the West End and at St Ann’s Warehouse in New York City.
Love’s Labour’s Lost will be staged in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse from 23 August, directed by Nick Bagnall, associate director of the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. His previous Globe directing credits include The Two Gentlemen of Verona in 2016, The Odyssey: Missing, Presumed Dead, The Last Days of Troy, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and 2013’s Henry VI: Parts I, II and III.
From 10 August to 1 September, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s new play Emilia will explore the life of Emilia Bassano, whom many consider to be the Dark Lady of the Sonnets, but was also a writer, poet, mother, feminist and woman in her own right. It will be directed by Nicole Charles, whose most recent credits include The Jungle at the Young Vic and The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? at Theatre Royal Haymarket as well as The Taming of the Shrew at the Globe in 2016. Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s previous plays include Belongings and The Wasp, both at Hampstead Theatre and Trafalgar Studios.
The second new play will be Eyam by Matt Hartley, about the moral dilemmas facing a village community when the plague arrives surprisingly in 1665. Running from 15 September to 13 October, it will be directed by Adele Thomas whose previous Globe credits include Thomas Tallis, The Oresteia and The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Matt Hartley’s recent work includes Myth at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Deposit at Hampstead Theatre and Sixty Five Miles for Paines Plough and Hull Truck Theatre.
Throughout February to September, a series of events will focus on Shakespeare and Censorship. Censorship of British theatre started in 1737 and officially ended 50 years ago on 26 September 1968. This bold series of events will explore censorship from historical, national and international viewpoints, and explores what the future may hold.
From 12 August, Shakespeare and Race will be a festival of events which will include performances, workshops, public lectures, panels and an international conference. Curated to draw attention to and provide a platform for scholars, practitioners and educators of colour in the teaching, study and performance of Shakespeare, this festival will highlight the importance of race to the consideration of Shakespeare not only in his time, but more urgently, in our own.
As part of a series of scenes, sonnets and songs, All Places that the Eye of Heaven Visits will return for an event at Westminster Abbey from 26 to 28 April. In celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday, Mark Rylance will join a company of 23 actors to bring Shakespeare’s plays, poetry and song to life in “fleeting and intimate encounters” throughout the abbey.
Shakespeare’s birthday weekend will also include the Globe and Rylance’s annual Sonnet Walks: Sweet Love Remember’d, a walk through Shakespeare’s London with performances by actors. Conceived by Rylance, it will take place on Saturday 28 April and Sunday 29 April, tracing routes through Westminster and the City and finishing at the Globe.
The sonnets will also be the focus of Sonnet Sunday: Ten Times Happy Me on 2 September. This site-specific venture will give audiences the rare opportunity to experience all of the sonnets from one to 154 over the course of one day.
Michelle Terry, an acclaimed actor who has appeared in numerous Globe and National Theatre productions of Shakespeare, officially takes over as artistic director in April, replacing Emma Rice who is leaving after two years in the role.