Announcing Summer 2020 at the Globe
Join us in our wooden ‘O’ this summer for a season of mythic love and radical transformation
Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night and Antony & Cleopatra are of course plays about love. But love of the most transcendent and transformative kind. Love that reaches across difference, that challenges a generational divide, that defies war and hate, poetic love, passionate love, painful love, obsessive love, unrequited love, inconvenient love, ridiculous love, renewed love, restored love, re-imagined love, powerful love, true love, artful love, heart full love, hopeful love, revolutionary love, love that will thrive us, and love that will survive us.
Romeo & Juliet opens the season, and we are thrilled to welcome Ola Ince into the Globe family to direct this beloved play, featuring Alfred Enoch as Romeo. Ola is currently an Artistic Associate at the Royal Court Theatre and winner of the h100 Theatre & Performance Award. Direction includes: Appropriate (Donmar Warehouse), The Convert (Young Vic) Poet In Da Corner (Royal Court).
We continue with the much adored Much Ado About Nothing directed by the equally adored Eleanor Rhode. Eleanor was last at the Globe when she directed Boudica in 2016, and more recently directed King John at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The Globe Ensemble will perform Twelfth Night – directed by our very own Associate Artistic Director, Sean Holmes – as well as Antony & Cleopatra with a Company that will include our Artistic Director Michelle Terry, Federay Holmes and Nadia Nadarajah. Nadia most recently played Celia in As You Like It (2018 & 2019) and we are so excited she will play Cleopatra this season.
For the first time in 400 years, we’re so excited to have resident writers returning once more to the Globe: Sami Ibrahami, Laura Lomas and Sabrina Mahfouz. Using a 400 year old model to inform our work, the Shakespeare of the past will inform our Shakespeares of today as they create a new version of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, writing not only bespoke to the architecture of the Globe, but also bespoke to an Ensemble of players: exactly as Shakespeare would have done.
All these plays explore humankind’s relationship with Mother Nature – her power, her magic, her nourishment, her pain, her rage, and her boundless potential for abundance and transformation, and we’re excited to keep the conversation of these plays going beyond Bankside.
As well as our performances at the Hay Festival, Hever Castle, Brighton, Taunton, Liverpool, Guernsey and the Globe (to name but a few venues), we will work with the communities we visit to find opportunities to investigate, debate and talk about where Shakespeare meets nature, and heed the clarion call for ecological and climate adaptation.
As human-made climate change threatens to dissolve the ‘great globe itself’, a new two-day event, Globe 4 Globe: Shakespeare and Climate Emergency, will take place on 1 and 2 May. Activists, experts and theatre practitioners will gather in a vital exploration of the relationships between Shakespeare’s works and the current climate crisis. Scholars will explore ecological collapse and renewal in Shakespeare’s texts. Environmental experts will map out ways in which Shakespearean theatres and festivals can achieve sustainable and ethical futures, and theatre professionals will reflect on the capacity of live theatre to change audience perception and behaviour.
In a theatre open to the elements, we are at the mercy of the ever changing climate, but this also means we are best placed to find ways to work with nature rather than against her. So this summer we will also chart the carbon journey of our production of Romeo & Juliet from start to finish, culminating in us opening our season with a week of matinee-only performances starting at 2pm. This would have been the approximate time of the original performances 400 years ago and gives the opportunity to highlight the need for changed behaviour to help save our environment.
Returning this April is Shakespeare Walks: Sweet Love Remember’d, a three-hour walk celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday, brought alive by actors delivering sonnets and speeches along the way. The Walks start from one of two destinations, the parish of Shoreditch, where the original theatre was built in 1576, or from Westminster, the seat of power. Conceived by Mark Rylance, who will be part of the company, Sweet Love Remember’d has taken place for over 25 years.
Read Not Dead, our popular script-in-hand performances which revive otherwise forgotten plays, marks its 25th anniversary this year. Starting in April, performances throughout the year will celebrate the English actor and dramatist Nathan Field, with titles such as The Knight of Malta and The Mad Lover. The usual Read Not Dead ground rules apply: actors receive the script on a Sunday morning and present it to the audience the same afternoon.
Building on the success of 2018’s festival, Shakespeare and Race will return as a two-day symposium in May, organised in partnership with the University of Sussex. It will focus on the performance of race on the Shakespearean stage, as well as the racial dynamics in play when Renaissance plays are staged today. Theatre practitioners, educationalists and academics will gather to reflect on the intersection of performing race with religion; eroticism and exoticism; stagecraft, acting and directing.
We will once again hold our Worlds Elsewhere Festival during Refugee Week where artists from across the Globe respond to Shakespeare through the prism of their lived experience. Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, encouraging a better understanding between communities.
Shakespeare’s Telling Tales, our annual family festival, returns this summer for its fifth year, celebrating storytelling in all its forms, and, as ever, you can visit our wooden O and see the space brought to life with colourful stories from our Guides as they take you on a magical Guided Tour of our theatres.
This is just a snap shot of the the kaleidoscope of treats that is our summer 2020 season.
Guided by the embrace of our wooden O we are reminded daily of what can be achieved when artists and audience come together and continue to redefine our theatre making and theatre going habits.
And these plays are a constant catalyst for our passion to serve these plays, serve the art of play; and to provide opportunities for imagination, re-imagination, participation, collaboration, wonder and laughter in the most unique and inherently theatrical playhouse in the world.
With only love until the summer.