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Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare and Friendship

To be ‘Friends’ in Shakespearean England meant many things.  Your friend might be a family member, a business associate – or your lover.

To be ‘friendless’ was the worst state imaginable. Shakespeare and his contemporaries returned time and again to the central importance of friendship in its many guises: kinship, romance, eroticism and devotion beyond death. 

Read Not Dead goes on the road to celebrate the amity of the Inns of Court. Beginning in the Middle Temple Hall with The Excellent Comedy of Two the Most Faithfullest Friends, Damon and Pithias by Richard Edwards – the story of a friend’s willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice. Gray’s Inn will host John Ford’s Love’s Sacrifice in which friendship is pitted against romance and envy.

The 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta will also be celebrated with our Read Not Dead reading of The Troublesome Reign of King John of England by George Peele at Inner Temple. This major source for Shakespeare’s own King John offers a compelling vision of an England torn apart by war.

Friendship is the theme for talks by Dr Will Tosh and Dr Simon Smith in These Are The Youths That Thunder At The Playhouse, an evening which celebrates the work of emerging scholars.

A number of free tickets are available for events in the Globe Theatre, starting with our annual festive celebration A Concert for Winter. Our resident student company of actors from Rutgers University will provide a stirring performance of Henry V. And the ultimate tale of friendship and jealousy is explored in Othello: our choice for the 2015 Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production, aimed at young learners.

Families can enjoy brand new interactive story days, Shakespeare Untold: the stories you know from the characters you don’t. This series of new adaptations comes from the team behind the award-winning Muse of Fire.

Students, coupled in amity, from the UK’s leading drama schools, present scenes by Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the Globe Theatre before jigging together in the annual Sam Wanamaker Festival.

The season ends at Shakespeare’s Globe in April 2015 with a staged reading of the 1614 play The Faithful Friends which includes the character Philadelphia (brotherly love), and an academic conference Halved Heart: Shakespeare and Friendship.