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The Duchess of Malfi [2014]

Written by: John Webster
Directed by: Dominic Dromgoole

The widowed Duchess of Malfi longs to marry her lover, the steward Antonio. But her rancorous brothers, Ferdinand and the Cardinal, are implacably opposed to the match. When their spy, Bosola, discovers that the Duchess has secretly married and carries Antonio’s child, they exact a terrible and horrific revenge.

First performed by the King’s Men – Shakespeare’s own company – ‘privately at the Blackfriars and publicly at the Globe’, The Duchess of Malfi is a thrilling combination of brilliant coups de théâtre, horrific set-pieces and vivid characters – notably the tragic Duchess and the subtly villainous Bosola – all lit by Webster’s obsessional imagination. This most intimate Jacobean tragedy is the ideal curtain-raiser for our first season in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Gemma Arterton returned to The Globe to play the title role of the Duchess. Gemma made her professional stage debut at the Globe in 2007, when she won huge critical acclaim as Rosaline in Love's Labour's Lost.

Gemma Arterton and James Garnon featured as part of the Adopt an Actor interview series for this production.


  • Designer Jonathan Fensom
  • Composer Claire van Kampen


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