Such Stuff Podcast

#SuchStuff s5 e7: Remember thee

  This week in the podcast, we share and celebrate in people’s memories of the Globe as we look to the uncertain future of theatre

SEASON 5 EPISODE 7

Remember thee

This week on the podcast, we take a moment of reflection. As the future of theatre is in question, we look both to the future of theatre and take inspiration from the Globe’s past and its rich history of reinvention, of imagination and an enduring determination to tell stories.

This episode celebrates memory: of people, places and things and how in the act of remembrance, we begin to slowly stitch ourselves back together and look to the future with all the promise and hope of rebirth and renewal.

‘You stand in the yard at the Globe surrounded by people in the knowledge that you are community forming in the act of watching a play and at the same time, conscious that you’re also rehearsing a bodily action that itself has incredibly old and ancient lineage going back 400 years to the Globe in 1599. And you’re not doing that kind of self-consciously, you’re not performing it like some sort of historical reenactor, but you’re doing something that has been done for the same reasons for these four centuries. It creates a sense of something significant and powerful and beautiful.’

— Dr Will Tosh, Shakespeare’s Globe

You can download the episode transcript or read it below.

The cast of 'Emilia' gather on stage with their arms in the air, the yard audience also have their arms in the air

In this episode, you will hear a number of contributors reminisce about the 2018 production of Emilia. Photography: Helen Murray.

Transcript

[Music plays]

Michelle Terry: Hello everyone. My name’s Michelle Terry, I’m the Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe. The following episode of Such Stuff was pre-recorded prior to the tragic murder of George Floyd on May 25. In light of this, and the global protests against systemic and institutional racism, we as an organisation not only stand in solidarity with our friends who strive for racial justice but we also make a commitment to action, to continue our anti-racist work and not only question but also change the structures of oppression, racism and white supremacy that have too long defined us. This episode is about remembrance and we not only dedicate this episode to those who have lost their lives to Covid-19, we also dedicate this episode to the number of casualties from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and particularly black communities who have been so devastatingly and disproportionately affected.

[Music plays]

Imogen Greenberg: Hello and welcome to another episode of Such Stuff, the podcast from Shakespeare’s Globe.

In this episode, we take a moment of reflection. As we find our doors closed to you – our beloved audience – we look to the future of theatre, which at the moment can feel as if it’s hanging in the balance. But etched into the Globe’s very being is a rich history of reinvention, of imagination and an enduring determination to tell stories.

Here to introduce the episode properly is our very own Michelle Terry.

MT: Remember thee!
Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee!

Our beautifully distracted Globe, along with the rest of the world, is in the most memorable of times. A period of profound reflection in which questions about who we are, why we are and who we will become have never felt so pressing as we all come to terms with the fact that life will never be the same again. But who we have been will always inform who we may be. Those who came before us leave their indelible footprint on the sands of time. And Shakespeare’s Globe wouldn’t be here without the memories, the archives, the fragments of a scattered past pieced together to help reconstruct our wooden ‘o’ and candlelit playhouse.

June 14th is the birthday of Sam Wanamaker, an incredible human being whose love of Shakespeare and dream for a new Globe brought us into being. He would have been 101 this year and around his birthday we always take a moment to commemorate and celebrate those members of the Shakespeare’s Globe family who we have lost during the past 12 months.

This year it feels important to remember those who have sadly lost their lives to Covid-19 and we dedicate this episode to them. So as we look to our past to help us understand today, we also consider the impact might have on generations to come who will remember us via the stories we that we tell and the memories that we share as they in turn try to make sense of their present.

This episode celebrates memory of people, places and things and how in the act of remembrance, we begin to slowly stitch ourselves back together and look to the future with all the promise and hope of rebirth and renewal.

[Music plays]

IG: As Michelle says, we’ve been thinking a lot about why theatre in general and the Globe, in particular, is so vital. So we set about making an audio time capsule of the Globe. We asked members of our extended Globe family – so, a Theatre Director, a Schoolchild, a Playwright, a Volunteer, a Designer, a Scholar, a Student, a Patron, a Trustee, a Globe Council Member and a Teacher – to help us to collect the stories and the things that they would save if their memories were to be wiped or the theatre was to vanish. This is the spirit of the Globe and our enduring inspiration. And whilst we had them, we put to them the question we’ve all been asking ourselves: what is the future of theatre if we cannot come together in this space?

Here’s what they came up with. 

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm: Hello this is Morgan Lloyd Malcolm.

Regine Vital: My name is Regine Vital, I’m a former MA student at Shakespeare’s Globe. 

Diana Devlin: Hello, this is Diana Devlin. 

Fintan Garvin: My name is Fintan Garvin.

Terry Pope: I’m Terry Pope and this is my tenth season volunteering as a steward at the Globe.

Jean Chan: Hi, my name is Jean Chan, I’m a theatre designer.

Margaret Casely-Hayford: Hello I’m Margaret Casely-Hayford and I’m chair of the trustees.

Simon Humphreys: This is Simon Humphreys, head of drama at Spa School and I work with autistic students in London.

If someone was about to wipe all your memories, what one single memory of the Globe theatre would you save?

DD: My memory goes back to 1995 when I first walked into the completed Globe and it was finished after – for me – 23 years of wanting it to happen. I looked all around and said ‘we did it and it’s beautiful’. So that’s my best memory.

Matthew Dunster: There is one moment, the first time we did Ché Walker’s Frontline at the Globe in 2008 and it was press night. And I woke up that day and I just knew, you know the sky was grey and it was oppressive. And the show started and it was a bit like that and it was a bit sticky and you could hear everybody sort of rustling with their macs waiting to see whether it rained or not. And it did start raining and the rain was coming down for the first ten minutes and there were songs in the show. And there’s a character played by Golda Rosheuvel whose a kind of evangelical Christian and she’s using a song to try and rally people around her on stage and the audience to join her flock. Golda just paused as the opening chords came into the song and she walked out and she cupped her hands and she caught the raindrops in her hand and she sang the first line of the song which was: ‘Jesus gave me water’. And the crowd just went crazy, it was total liftoff. It was the best way of acknowledging that it was gonna rain and it was what we were in for in that auditorium that night and everything came together: her energy, the energy of the play, the energy of the audience, and the environment, you know, the weather. She just brought it all together and it was a brilliant, brilliant moment.

M C-H: I would say that I would like to save watching the play Emilia by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, which was the play about Shakespeare’s dark lady of the sonnets, the life of Emilia Bassano. And it brought out an amazing woman from the shadows and it gave her a creative, vibrant, defiant life of her own. And as a woman of colour, it was a most exciting thing for me to be in a theatre and see three women of colour on stage, on the theatre stage that I love, as the principles, expounding a treatise about women in all their glory and on the night that I saw it the theatre was absolutely packed and the audience was really absorbing every nuance and every powerful statement and right at the end, we jumped up with the most ecstatic excitement, whooping and shouting and screaming, an ovation that was so joyous. It was the sort of joy that only comes out of the surprise of receiving new writing and I think that it must have been exactly the sort of ovation that Shakespeare himself would have got on a really great day having presented a new play 400 years ago. And to get that in the theatre that was a replica of his own theatre was just magnificent, it was wonderful, such a brilliant memory.

MLM: I think my answer to that would be probably a little bit predictable, it’s the final night of Emilia at the Globe in 2018. There was something in the air that night. It was electric and powerful and so moving, and watching that full house, that audience go on that final show journey with us, watching them move and shake and cheer and shout and cry. And then listen to Claire Perkins close the show with the final speech, there was just an energy that night that I will never forget.

TP: My one single memory is not so much one or single but more a repeated sensation that I get each time I walk through the doors of the theatre and into the yard. It’s a feeling of being enfolded, included and embraced, of being safe, protected and loved. Entering the theatre is a translation from the world of reality to a world of imagination where the unthinkable can be thought, the impossible will happen and the unexpected should always be anticipated.

If we had to close the theatres again, but I could save one thing from the Globe and hide it under the stage for posterity, what would it be?

Professor Emma Smith: The thing I would preserve, do you know, is the flag. I love that image of the Globe flying it’s flag by the Thames, it echoes and modernises the Hollar landscape, all those wonderful engravings of the Globe, the Globe on Bankside. I love that flag and I long to see it flying again.

Fintan Garvin: I would save the programme from the Othello with Mark Rylance playing Iago. I chose this out of all the amazing productions I have seen at the Globe because I remember watching Rylance and he was toying with the audience all the way through, making them almost on his side, even though Iago was clearly a villain. I remember thinking I want to be that powerful and that great an actor one day.

RV: I don’t know how I’d manage this but I think it would have to be the roof above the stage, I’d have to save the heavens.  

JC: I’d have to save the many metres of tasselled bunting from my show in the hope that one day we could reuse and decorate an opening party to celebrate the reopening of the Globe.

Kate Birch: I think it would have to be a pair of stage swords from Romeo and Juliet, from the scene just before Mercutio dies with its wonderful word play and exquisite sword play when it’s not too late for the whole thing to become a comedy and not a tragedy.

SH: I think any script that we’ve worked on at the Globe, especially if it were a first folio of Shakespeare’s works. But just how we can see the words change and evolve and how we can then take the words from the page and have amazing experiences and adventures on the stage, sharing with everyone the beauty of Shakespeare’s words and giving my students things they can relate to, and putting them through experiences they possibly haven’t been put through before. Again, making them feel more a part of society.

MLM: I think we’re going to keep one of the pamphlets that we made for Emilia, which were handed out to the audience. It had original words from Emilia Bassano in it. But also some advice for women on how to protect themselves in the 1600s which was written by Will Tosh in the research department and I feel like this pamphlet probably represents so much about the show but also about the collaboration that was there between the creative team, the research team and the building as a whole so I think it deserves a place under the stage. 

TP: There is much that is iconic and precious around the Globe. There are also things that have no intrinsic monetary value but that nevertheless speak of history and tradition to those that know and love them. Such is the item that I would choose. How long it has sat in the stewards room is lost in the midst of time, certainly well before I joined ten years ago. It figures in every show briefing and is ritually touched every shift by most stewards on duty. It’s the small pottery cow under which we are instructed to place our expenses claims. It has been glued back together a few times and is missing a horn but it’s steadfastly maintains its position on top of the microwave as a familiar site to all. It’s cheerful, colourful, serves its purpose magnificently and is, above all, wonderfully eccentric, a fine example of what a steward should aspire to be.

MD: I thought about this a lot and what I would want to save and hide under the stage for posterity in the first instance would probably qualify as kidnap and in the second instance would probably result in murder. But what I would love to save is the theatre department and the people in it. I’ve watched them work for 12 years and people would be just gobsmacked if they knew what a small team that is. It’s an extraordinary group and an extraordinary example actually of how slim and efficient you can be without public subsidy and how free that can make you and I learnt from the set up and a lot from all the individuals. So yes I would grab them all together and stuff them under the stage and try and keep them for posterity and then get arrested, probably.

FG: If you could never go to the theatre again, how would you choose to tell stories instead?

DD: All you need is a storyteller and a listener and you’ve got theatre.  

FG: Nah, I don’t like to think about that. Um. If I could never go to the theatre again, and honestly, sometimes in lockdown it feels a bit like this, I would tell stories through monologues. I’ve been learning a few monologues for some auditions recently and they are a great way to reveal a character to an audience. I would go out every week on a busy street corner and perform monologues to people in like a busking kind of way and tell stories through these monologues. This way I could keep acting on even if the theatre was closed. I hope that other people would like start performing on other street corners and street corner monologues would become like a popular form of theatre all over the world.

KB: This is such a devastating thought and it’s really hard to see beyond it. I think I would still want, I would still need theatre but would have to be taken outside and in all weathers: close off parts of streets with the actors social distancing and the audience looking out of their windows, from their balconies, and sitting on their steps. Set aside parts of local parks or commons and have the performers weaving in and out of the audience much as they have done as part of the wonderful Shakespeare Within the Abbey performances that the Globe has put on at Westminster Abbey over the past few years. I’d have to have theatre of some sort. 

JC: If I could never got to the theatre again, and I needed to tell stories, I think I would find these lost and abandoned spaces all over the world that we can inhabit. I would invite you as an audience to come and experience these stories and we could play in the different spaces that not many people would never step foot in.

PES: Maybe the great beneficiary of our current times has been to listen more and perhaps have a break from watching. Maybe in the absence of theatres, radio or audio is the way to construct the stories. 

SH: I think we’d go back to the beginnings of time, and we’d start with sensory experiences: what makes people feel happy, feel comfortable, what makes them feel confident. Then we’d use those experiences to build and create stories and we would pass these on obviously by word of mouth and then I think slowly, slowly theatre as we know it would evolve again. The important thing is that we give everybody a voice and this one thing that the Globe does extremely well, to give those who wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to speak in public that forum, that support and that sense of wellbeing.

Paul Chahidi: I think we’ll always try and find a way to tell stories, to communicate with each other. I have a son, who we can’t persuade to go to the theatre [laughs], he’s eight years old but he loves stories and he loves being read to. So, I would tell stories by reading, from books but also from memory and recalling events, and improvising and making up stories orally. I don’t really think theatre is ever going to leave us because stories will never leave us and we’ll always need to tell them in order to make sense of our lives, to work out how we might live them differently.

MLM: It’s [laughs], it’s the big question, isn’t it? I think as a writer, I will keep writing, that’s how I will tell stories. But I think that we will be finding all sorts of different ways to make theatre in the coming months, the coming years, telling stories is what we do as human beings and how we process things, it’s how we make sense of the world and it’s how we heal and we’ve just got to adapt to this and that’s OK and maybe what comes out the other end will be a better form and we just need to maybe let go of a few things and find new ways. I don’t know what they are at the moment but I am, I’m willing to try. 

[Music plays]

IG: Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the Globe – steeped in generations of history as it is – was only built in 1997. But as Michelle said, it is built on fragments of those who came before us. I chatted to our research fellow Dr Will Tosh about the 1599 Globe and how the spirit of rebuilding is etched into the very fabric of the Globe. 

IG: So Will, can you tell me a bit about where the Globe’s modern reinvention of the Globe sits in this sort of long line of theatrical reinventions of theatres. So how does it relate to its predecessors and what was the 1599 Globe drawing on?

Dr Will Tosh: So Immy, I was thinking about this over this week. We’ve been thinking a lot about memories and where the Globe comes from and it occurred to me how much the Globe is based in rebuilding and reinvention even from the start. Because the 1599 Globe that’s so famous, that we rebuilt 20 odd years ago, was itself of course involved in an act of rebuilding because used the building materials and the kind of theatre company and the personnel of a previous theatre, called The Theatre which had been built over 20 years before in Shoreditch. So that theatre was built in 1576 before Shakespeare became an actor or a writer, before he had any involvement in London’s theatre, as part of that kind of first wave of public playhouses. It laid the plans, the kind of blue prints for so many of the playhouses that followed and as many people that listen to this podcast will know, Shakespeare’s Globe was built in 1599 partly as the result of a dispute with a landlord because Shakespeare’s theatre company that had for many years been established in The Theatre in Shoreditch were forced off their property when their lease ran out and decided that they would observe the letter of the law if not the spirit and take the materials of the building of the theatre and carry those building materials to a different part of London. So in 1599 when Shakespeare’s theatre company invested heavily in building this new theatre, they were building into its structure, into its skeleton, into its DNA the nature of an earlier building and of theatre history. So even then, when the Globe was brand new for the first time, it carried with it this air of theatre history and theatre heritage.

IG: So how did this and how does this change the way that that theatre and Shakespearean theatre is performed, the way that we tell those stories and the way I guess that audiences experience them and hold the performances and the plays in their minds?

DWT: I think that’s a great question and I’ve been pondering this, of course I think we all have especially in the past few weeks when we haven’t had access to these spaces and we’re thinking about what we’ll do when we get access to them again. And the, I think the really unusual interesting thing about the Globe as a space is that it represents modes of popular and populist storytelling that make sense in an early modern context and in a modern one, in a 21st century context. So to take the early modern context first, the Globe represents, it’s an example of a kind of form of theatre building that was radically popular and radically non-elite. It was largely on a commercial footing although not wholly, the theatre companies set up shop in a populous city in the non-elite parts of that city, primarily, not always. In Shakespeare’s theatre companies place in a suburb in Shoreditch, later a suburb in Southwark and only later an inner city venue in Blackfriars, but you know, primarily those suburban parts of town and they created and performed stories that they hoped would appeal to the theatre going public. It wasn’t just stories they hoped they would appeal to aristocratic patrons although that was definitely part of their calculation. It wasn’t just stories that would appeal to a highly literate reading public, but their business model was in many ways predicated on the idea of: who in this city will pay a small amount of money and come and hear our stories? In a space, in a building, that crams as many people in as possible and you are getting more or less the same product, whoever you are and wherever you sit or stand. And even if you do stand, you’re closest to the action and closest to that engagement with the actors on stage so there’s a real benefit to being in the more kind of accessible area of the stage. And that’s revolutionary for an early modern society which is unbelievably hierarchised. So for there to be this incredibly successful and established popular art form that says: come one, come all and listen to our stories is hugely powerful, hugely, hugely powerful. And that I suppose maps on to the way in which it speaks to popular storytelling today as well because the Globe manages to straddle the various kind of poles of high art, of popular theatre, of popular storytelling, of international storytelling but storytelling rooted in a canon of work that is by an English writer, in a way that keeps as many doors open as possible. So we’ve sort of taken if you like the inspiration of that kind of radically populist early modern mode of storytelling and tried to turn it into a radically democratic mode of storytelling for the 21st century. And obviously there are ways in which those two worlds don’t fit precisely together and aren’t the same thing by any means but the inspiration for both I think possibly shares a common ancestor. So that I think is what the building does to our ability to tell stories and understand stories in the Globe.  

IG: And when you personally stand in the yard as an audience member, what does that rich history and that call back to those earlier periods mean to you? 

DWT: I don’t think I’m alone in choosing always to stand in the yard rather than sit and it’s not just a matter of price, even on those occasions when I don’t have to pay. But it’s to do with proximity to the story going on on stage. But it’s not just that I think it’s also to do with feeling that you’re part of a crowd, or part of a community and it’s a community that’s only really formed in the moment of the play’s existence, the performance’s existence. But it’s a community that suggests the existence of much more stable communities if that makes sense. So you sort of, you stand in the yard at the Globe surrounded by people – very conscious as I say this that that’s not been happening the last few months and I miss it very dearly – you stand in the yard at the Globe surrounded by people in the knowledge that you are community forming in the act of watching a play and at the same time, conscious that you’re also if you like rehearsing a bodily action that itself has incredibly old and ancient lineage going back 400 years to the Globe in 1599 and other theatres even earlier than that in London. And you’re not doing that kind of self consciously, you’re not performing it like some sort of historical reenactor, but you’re doing something that has been done for the same reasons for these four centuries which creates a charge, let’s be honest. It creates a sense of something significant and powerful and beautiful which then the story of the play layered on the top, makes even more intense and potent, makes it even more kind of gleaming. So there is something incredibly significant about the nature of the Globe space, it’s relationship to history, its particular architectural layout and the way in which bodies relate to the space and relate to what’s going on onstage that makes the Globe completely, completely unique.

[Music plays]

IG: It’s worth taking time to remember that the Globe wouldn’t be here at all without the extraordinary tenacity and dedication of one man in particular: Sam Wanamaker. Last year, on his 100th birthday, I spent some time delving through our archives and speaking to Patrick Spottiswoode, our director of education, who worked with Sam for many years. We’re bringing this segment to you again today because his incredible imagination is a lesson and an inspiration to us: in persistence despite very real obstacles, in building theatres with strong, democratic principles and in dedicating our theatre to pushing for the kind of world we would like to see realised.

Patrick Spottiswoode: I think the amazing thing is, when I look back, Sam saw a reconstruction of the Globe, it was the British Pavilion at the World Exhibition in Chicago. He was 15 years old. You know? That sparked something in Sam, that was the seed he needed. So he saw this. He then became a celebrated actor, radio soap star, he moved to New York, he was on Broadway, he was a bit of a noise and he came over here in 1949 to make a movie. Then because of Senator Joe McCarthy, who started creating a black list for authors, artists of all sorts, writers, thinking that they were basically communists and preventing them from getting employment and having them stand in front of a tribunal, Sam stayed in England. So he became a political refugee.

And its one of the horrible ironies of this project that it was only thanks to Senator Joe McCarthy and the blacklist and the witch hunt that we’re here today. Because Sam would probably have gone back to the States and lived there and forged a career there. He stayed in London and we don’t know when he sort of thought I must build a Globe, we don’t know, but in 1970 he set up a charity in order to rebuild the Globe as close as possible to the original site here on Bankside. And that’s when a lot of work started to happen. He invested more and more of his time, and sacrificed more and more of his career, to focus on the rebuilding of the Globe.

[Sounds of machines and digging]

PS: Judi Dench broke ground and that was very exciting, 1986. And that was very exciting. But you know, we broke ground, we had a mechanical digger and she dug from the first… but there was no… I mean Sam said ‘We’ve got to build tomorrow, it’s gonna open in 2 years’ and then 2 years passed… ‘Well another two years’. You know, it kept on being delayed because we didn’t have the money. A lot of our major funders, serious funders dropped out because they said it’s never going to get built. So we had to crank up the whole fundraising and development side again. And then Sam was hit by… several recessions hit the project. And I remember in 1991, we had no money, we had the site, we couldn’t even employ a contractor because we were a debtor to the bank, you know, we couldn’t pay the gas bill. And Theo Crosby was the architect who worked with Sam, we had a meeting at his place and basically I thought… that was Saturday morning, I thought I’m gonna be out of work Saturday afternoon. We’re all going to be out of work, the whole place, the project is gonna crumble. We’ve been defeated. And Theo started the meeting by saying, I just want everyone to have a look at this, I’ve got a, this is my artist’s impression of the footbridge we’re going to need to get people across the Thames from St Paul’s. And we looked at him as if he was bonkers, we said we can’t even pay the gas bill. And he said, ‘We can’t get bogged down by the petty present, we have to think of the future’. And we were back.

[Archive recording]

Sam Wanamaker: The fact is that a dream cannot be made into a reality, not a dream of this kind. It takes thousands of people to share that dream, to be inspired by it, to see it with heavy imagination, to envision what this could be. Not just this structure, not just this complex, but this whole area, how it is going to be transformed for the people of Southwark in the first instance. And let there be no mistake about it, it’s the heritage of the people who live here in the first instance that this project is about and we shall never, never forget their commitment, their involvement, their heritage. But more than that, it is the heritage of the people of London, the people of Britain, the heritage of all the people’s of the world. Shakespeare belongs to everyone, we know that. And this place will be the centre for the understanding of his works, for helping young people to get over the difficult barriers of language. Welcome. Watch us grow. We’re going to be here and create and transform the most exciting new area of London and Britain. Thank you.

PS: I think one of the amazing things about Sam was his tenacity. I think there was a part of him that the more obstacles the better ’cause he just liked to say nothing is going to defeat me. The only thing that defeated him in the end was cancer. That’s something he couldn’t defeat. So yes, he died in 1993, four years before the Globe opened. This project is built on chutzpah, passion and inquiry, and Sam had all three of course. But he knew he would only see one play on the Globe site in his lifetime, in 93, he knew he was dying. So he had a temporary stage and he said I want The Merry Wives of Windsor but it must be played by 5 men in German. [Laughs] So we Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor as the only show he saw. And that was Sam saying look, you know, this is… Shakespeare now belongs to the world and this is an international organisation, it was a tremendous statement. But that was the only thing he saw.

[Archive recording]

SW: Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

PS: What was he like? Desperately difficult to work with. I could use expletive after expletive… but the most wonderfully inspiring, difficult, inspiring [laughs], painfully difficult but inspiring man. He just dedicated everything of his life to this. He was terribly demanding. He expected… I remember I had my first row with him when he said ‘Patrick, the pavement outside, the gutter, it’s filthy’. And I said ‘And your point?’ He said, ‘Well clean it.’ I said, ‘Sam I’m not employed by the council’. He said ‘We’ve gotta have pride in this place!’ So I said ‘I’m sorry’ and he said ‘Where’s the broom?’ And he did it, he swept the gutter. And a tour group walked by on a walking tour and this American lady turned around and said ‘Isn’t that Sam Wanamaker, the actor?’ And she thought, gosh he’s fallen on hard times. [Laughs] But as soon as he did that, I said ‘Sam, give us the broom’, you know. I mean really nothing was too demeaning for Sam. You did it because you believed in the cause. Yeah. I saw him give talks when he was absolutely rock bottom exhausted, especially when he was going through the illness. But he could just electrify a crowd. He just was the missionary. Everybody had to hear the word. His tenacity, his refusal to be bowed down by cynicism, by criticism, by opposition of all sorts, he felt by anti-semitism, certainly anti-Americanism. All these things he faced, but damn it he just carried on.

[Archival recording]

Reporter: Was it worth all of the struggle?

SW: Of, of course it was worth all the struggle. It’s a great project, as everybody now seems to recognise and acknowledge. And in that respect it is a great moment.

Reporter: Is Sam Wanamaker going to be able to relax a little bit now?

SW: Oh indeed, I’m very relaxed, don’t you see? [Laughs]. I have no nerves at all! No, no. I think that it is now being taken over by a lot of other people, wonderful people who are now almost as dedicated to the project as I am and will take it over from me, I’m quite confident of that.

[Music plays]

IG: This is an incredibly reflective time for us as individuals and as a community. But it is also a time when memory and reflection is steeped in grief and loss for so many. Michelle, as ever, puts it far better than I can. 

MT: In memory of those who have lost their lives to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Like as the waves make towards the pebbl’d shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.

[Music plays]

IG: You’ve been listening to Such Stuff with me, Imogen Greenberg.

A huge thank you to: Diana Devlin, Professor Emma Smith, Fintan Garvin, Jean Chan, Kate Birch, Margaret Casely-Hayford, Matthew Dunster, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Paul Chahidi, Regine Vital, Simon Humphrey and Terry Pope for their wonderful contributions to our time capsule.

To find out more about Shakespeare’s Globe follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

We’ll be back soon with more stories from Shakespeare’s Globe, so subscribe wherever you get this podcast from.

FINIS.

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