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Shakespeare's Globe

Farinelli and the King

By Claire van Kampen

11 February – 8 March

£10 standing
£25-45 seats
£60 premium tickets 


Directed by
John Dove

Designed by
Jonathan Fensom

Musical Director/Harpsichord
Robert Howarth


Sam Crane

Huss Garbiya
Doctor Jose Cervi

Melody Grove
Isabella Farnese

Colin Hurley

Mark Rylance
Philippe V

Edward Peel
De la Cuadra

Iestyn Davies and William Purefoy

  • Farinelli and the King

Please note: this production has now closed.

History is bejewelled with mysteries.

Italy, 1731. Farinelli, the world’s most famous castrato, is rich, adored and lauded with honours. His divine voice has the power to captivate all who hear it.

Spain, 1737. King Philippe V lies awake. The Queen, desperate to relieve her husband of his insomnia and depression, begs the castrato to come and sing to the king. The effect is transformational. Philippe is healed, held captive by Farinelli’s voice – but so is Farinelli…

This intriguing true story is re-told in Claire van Kampen’s sumptuous new play, replete with many of the arias first sung by Farinelli. 

West End transfer

The critically-acclaimed Shakespeare’s Globe sold-out production of Farinelli and the King starring Mark Rylance transfers to the West End for a strictly limited run this autumn.

More information >


'Mark Rylance is a master of his craft... No actor in the world could play the role better'
The Times

'A sumptuous production'
Daily Telegraph

'A richly unusual evening'
The Guardian

'A warm, witty tribute to music and its therapeutic power'
Evening Standard 

'A beguiling first play by...Claire van Kampen'
The Independent

'John Dove's charming production'

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Iestyn Davies will return to the Playhouse on 9 May, when he joins Arcangelo - one of the world's leading ensembles - for an intimate performance of music by Bach, Albinoni and Telemann. 

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The Broken Heart