Plays & Poems Story

Meet the Windsor Locals

  You might just encounter some unexpected individuals before stepping in to the Globe Theatre for The Merry Wives of Windsor

4 minute read

The first people you’ll meet as you arrive at the Globe for our 2019 summer production of The Merry Wives of Windsor might not be those you’d expect in the wealthy, glamorous world of Mistresses Ford and Page – there are socialist agitators, street hawkers and someone who needs help with a washing line…

A man stands on a ladder outside a wattle and daub white building, hanging white garments on a washing line.

Will you lend a hand to our Windsor Locals before watching The Merry Wives of Windsor? Photographer: Helen Murray.

Merry Wives is not a play about monarchs or magic, but rather ordinary people who happen to have extraordinary stories to tell. You can well imagine that Shakespeare based many of the characters on people he met down the pub, people who’d happily tell you their life story over a pint of ale.

We have collaborated with local arts organisations London Bubble, Clean Break and the Soldiers’ Arts Academy for The Merry Wives of Windsor. Collaborating with these groups  has introduced us anew to creative local people with a wealth of similarly imaginative stories to tell. They have created characters informed by lived experiences and offering perspectives shaped by unique circumstances. This is an opportunity to break open assumptions around who Shakespeare is for, and how he is performed, by sharing his words with people who have something to say, but don’t always get given the chance.

This is a play about community – it ends with an exuberant event to which all of Windsor is invited. It seems fitting to welcome as many people as possible to perform in it.

A man wearing a brown overcoat and hat stands glum with a billboard, outside.

You can well imagine that Shakespeare based many of the characters in The Merry Wives of Windsor on people he met down the pub, people who’d happily tell you their life story over a pint of ale. Photographer: Helen Murray.

Sam Wanamaker always said that Shakespeare’s Globe is as much a local theatre as it is a national and international theatre. Whilst community has been at the heart of so much of our work here over the past 21 years, it has never been fully integrated into our productions. If we are truly a local theatre then we have to represent our local community on our stages as well as off them and there can be no better time and no greater need for us to find every possible way, across difference, to come together and tell a story. Expanding on old relationships and starting ones anew, for the first time in our history we welcome London onto its Globe and into its plays.

—  Michelle Terry, Artistic Director

A chain of people stand in a row in a rehearsal room, arms outstretched and smiling at each other.

Sam Wanamaker always said that Shakespeare’s Globe is as much a local theatre as it is a national and international theatre. London Bubble Theatre in rehearsals for The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photographer: Helen Murray.

Meet our collaborators for The Merry Wives of Windsor

London Bubble Theatre

Established in 1972, London Bubble Theatre is a community arts company working to bolster individual and community wellbeing through participatory theatre practice. Delivering workshops and performances in locations across London, building children’s communication skills through primary school drama intervention, training the youth community to make interactive issue-based plays and inviting people to join regular drama groups at our base in Rotherhithe, London Bubble is open to everyone. All sessions, from the intergenerational to the age-specific, are designed to cultivate togetherness through play and the sharing of stories and are assisted by experienced practitioners who share the vision that people make theatre.

Clean Break

Clean Break changes lives and changes minds through theatre – on stage, in prison and in the community. It produces ground-breaking plays with women’s voices at the heart of its work. Founded in 1979 by two women prisoners who believed that theatre could bring the hidden stories of imprisoned women to a wider audience, it is still the only theatre company of its kind remaining true to these roots, inspiring playwrights and captivating audiences with the company’s award-winning plays on the complex theme of women and crime.

Soldiers’ Arts Academy

CIC is creating permanent arts hubs nationwide for current and former military personnel and their families. Founded by Amanda Faber, it runs free masterclasses and creates professional productions and exhibitions in performance, singing, creative writing, dance, poetry, film, photography and art. It provides forums where members can recover from physical and mental injury, link with professional mentors, and train for new careers. Shakespeare’s Globe partnered with the Academy for ‘Shakespeare and Remembrance’ on 11 November 2018 commemorating the World War One centenary. The Academy is delighted to work in association with Shakespeare’s Globe again.

Four people dance and leap in a rehearsal room.

This is a play about community – it ends with an exuberant event to which all of Windsor is invited. It seems fitting to welcome as many people as possible to perform in it. Soldiers’ Arts Academy in rehearsals for The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photographer: Helen Murray.

FINIS.