Sean Holmes joins Globe as it reveals casting and new shows

Shakespeare’s Globe has announced a year-long cycle of history plays next year alongside casting for its winter season and the appointment of Sean Holmes, outgoing artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith.

Michelle Terry Shakespeare's Globe
Michelle Terry. Photo: Sarah Lee for Shakespeare’s Globe

After Richard II starring Adjoa Andoh in the theatre’s winter season, The Globe will continue the story with a journey through history via Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III over the following months.

Casting has been revealed for the winter season’s opening show, Macbeth, with artistic director Michelle Terry playing Lady Macbeth alongside her real-life husband Paul Ready, who can currently be seen plotting in BBC1 thriller Bodyguard.

Under director Robert Hastie, the cast also includes Catrin Aaron as Lennox, Philip Cumbus as Banquo, Marc Elliott as Ross, Joseph Marcell as Duncan and the Porter, Anna-Maria Nabirye as Macduff, Kirsty Rider as Lady Macduff, Philippine Velge as Donalbain and Kit Young as Malcolm. It will run from 7 November to 2 February in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, directed by Paulette Randall, will star Pauline McLynn as Mephistopheles. Best known for playing Mrs Doyle in cult TV series Father Ted, she has an extensive stage and screen career including the Queen in Cymbeline at the Globe. It will run in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse from 1 December to 2 February.

When she plays Richard II, Andoh will lead the first-ever company of women of colour in a Shakespeare play on a major UK stage. She will co-direct the production with Lynette Linton, staging it as a post-Empire reflection on what it means to be British in the light of the Windrush anniversary and moves towards Brexit.

Looking ahead to the 2019 season, Terry added: “As the UK approaches its exit of the EU, our theatre will present a cycle of history plays, providing a unique opportunity to rediscover how Shakespeare perceived ‘this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England’.”

Linton was associate director of London’s Gate Theatre from 2016 to 2017 and was most recently resident assistant director at the Donmar Warehouse. She is soon to direct the UK premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat at the Donmar. Richard II will run from 22 February to 21 April in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

In a day for big announcements, the Globe revealed that Holmes – who leaves the Lyric Hammersmith next month after nearly 10 years – will become associate artistic director.

He said: “Michelle’s vision for the Globe is exciting, inclusive and bold – focused on the centrality of ensemble and the honest and open relationship between actors and audience that it engenders. It’s an honour and a privilege to be invited to join Michelle’s team and to help deliver this vision in all its surprising, dynamic and enjoyable glory.”

As artistic director and joint chief executive at the Lyric, he was involved in the development of many ground-breaking initiatives, such as activities to increase accessibility and Secret Theatre where the titles of shows were not announced in advance.

Terry added: “Sean’s unprecedented experience on Secret Theatre will provide invaluable insight into a process and a practice that is so important to me and to the work that we are experimenting with at Shakespeare’s Globe.”

Other artists joining Sean as associates of the Globe include: actor, writer, comedian and director Athena Stevens who most recently wrote and starred in Schism at Finborough Theatre and Park Theatre; Federay Holmes who co-directed this year’s Hamlet and As You Like It; director, actor and education practitioner Brendan O’Hea who most recently directed this year’s touring shows The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice; and choreographer Siân Williams who has choreographed at the Globe for nearly two decades and co-founded The Kosh dance theatre company with Michael Merwitzer.

Also joining as associates are all members of the ensemble of Hamlet and As You Like It at the Globe this summer: Catrin Aaron, Yarit D’Or, James Garnon, Colin Hurley, Bettrys Jones, Richard Katz, Jack Laskey, Deb Machin, Nadia Nadarajah, Mary O’Hanlon, Ellan Parry, Pearce Quigley, Shubham Saraf, Helen Schlesinger, Rob Walker, Elle While, and Tanika Yearwood.

Terry said: “I am so proud to announce my core team of associate artists who will help guide and deliver on the season, as well as support the development and continuing exploration of The Globe Ensemble. The Ensemble allows us to truly explore the DNA of Shakespeare’s plays, all of which were written bespoke for a company of players and made for the architecture of our unique playhouses.”

The Globe also reported that the upcoming live cinema broadcast of The Winter’s Tale has been booked into over 400 cinemas, the largest theatrical footprint the theatre has achieved so far.

Bankside audience numbers remain high, while the touring productions reached over 16,000 people outside of London. Globe Player continues to provide international audiences with access to over 60 filmed Shakespeare plays. Expanding its digital content, the Globe most recently launched a regular podcast, Such Stuff.


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