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Peat bogs, climate change, and bog bodies: the making of Macbeth

  Costume and Set Designer Rose Revitt gives an insight into her inspiration behind the design for our Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production of Macbeth

2 minute read

How is the essence of Macbeth’s famed witches translated into the physicality of stage and costume? Costume and Set Designer Rose Revitt explains her creative process in transforming our Globe Theatre stage into the natural environment that underpins our 2022 Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production, now playing in our wooden ‘O’.

Three actors stand to the left of the stage adorned with flowers. Another actor stands in front of them dressed in a white tunic.

The natural world served as the main inspiration for both costumer and set in Macbeth. Photographer: Cesare De Giglio



Director Sarah Frankcom’s production of Macbeth invites us into a world where the natural land has been disrupted by human intervention. Interested in the natural world and the way that the witches interact with the human environment, Rose Revitt set out to create a landscape  that brings the injustice of human action to the visual forefront.

Two actors stands on stage. One holds their hands up to the sky with a confused expression on their face

Fiston Barek and Hannah Azuonye as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Photographer: Cesare De Giglio

Sketch of two people holding hands dressed in royal blue robes

Design sketch of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth as King and Queen.

A model box of a stage. The stage has red two red pillars and there is mud spilling over, creating a pathway across the pit in front of the stage

Model box for the Macbeth production.

Much research goes into the construction of these worlds, and Rose found an unusual inspiration as a basis:

“Peat bogs ended up being hugely inspiring. They look quite boring on the surface, but a huge amount of carbon is stored in peat bogs, which is released into the atmosphere and interacts with climate change quite a lot. Subsequently, this disruption felt like a really interesting starting point”.

Delving further into her discovery, Rose discovered something else – bog bodies.

“Bog bodies are preserved in peat bogs, and they’ve been there from the 4th century. Sarah and I loved the idea of these – beings from another land that had been disturbed by human interaction with nature”.

Her findings, she explains, served as a source of inspiration for the witches costumes. The witches are, in a sense, a formation of the bog bodies. They, Rose explains, ‘had been disturbed by human interaction with nature, and had come back to right these wrongs, and see how they could interact with the human environment’.

A human skull with a full head of red curly hair

Dated back to the fourth century, bog bodies are often well preserved.

Sketch of three figures wearing brown gowns and antlers

Bog bodies were an inspiration for the witches costumes.

Three actors in brown with arms open wide

The famous three witches in our 2022 production of Macbeth. Photographer: Cesare De Giglio

Designed within a rapid turnaround of eight weeks, the design process can be intense at times, Rose explains. This however, she says, is hugely outweighed by her gratitude for the variety of the people she gets to meet on the way:

“I get to collaborate with skilled practitioners every day, including painters, prop makers, and costume supervisors. Seeing how one small but incredibly important aspect of the show might come about is a really exciting process”


A person paints on a large white sculpture

Our Props department at the Globe hard at work creating key set pieces for Macbeth. Photographer: Claudia Conway

See Rose Revitt's natural world brought to life on stage in Macbeth


Find out more about our  Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank project for young people.

Macbeth  plays in the Globe Theatre until 16 April 2022.