Shakespeare and Fear


From 31 October – 9 Novemeber 2020 you joined us in the shadows of our candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for a digital festival of chilling ghost stories, a staged reading of Macbeth from the critically acclaimed 2018 acting company, discussions and spooky stagecraft workshops.

Present fears are worse than horrible imaginings.

– Macbeth Act I, Scene 3

Fear weaves its way through Shakespeare’s plays, manifesting as delusion, paranoia and terror. He shows us how the contagion of fear can spread faster than the plague, how it can infect the mind and the body and how it can be used as a pacifying and suppressing power. Shakespeare also shows us that when fear is harnessed, it can offer hope and catharsis – and be transformed into a motivating force for positive action.

The Globe’s digital future has been supported by WarnerMedia, ensuring the digital infrastructure is secure throughout this period of closure and for future work to be made available to audiences worldwide.


Missed the Shakespeare and Fear festival? 

Catch up with In Coversation: Fear in our moment on Youtube. Dr Will Tosh and a panel of thinkers and writers, including Professor Bridget Escolme, Stella Kanu, Michelle McMahon and Joseph Marcell, explore fear in 2020 in this timely conversation. Shakespeare’s fears were not our own, but his society had its own dread of pandemics, political earthquakes and economic recessions. The panel will ask how Shakespeare coped with – and built upon – political and personal dread, and how that translates into our own moment.

Listen to the latest episodes of our #SuchStuff podcast series and read the festival blogs below.

In Conversation: Fear in our moment


Plays, Poems & New Writing 

'Darkness does the face of earth entomb'

Such Stuff Podcast Season 7 Episode 2 Fear conjuring and catharsis in Macbeth
Such Stuff 

#SuchStuff S7 E2: Fear, conjuring and catharsis in Macbeth

Shakespeare and Fear blog
Globe Theatre 

Spooks and scares at Shakespeare's Globe

Spooky stories three candles
Plays, Poems & New Writing 

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Such Stuff S7 E1 Ghost stories standard
Such Stuff 

#SuchStuff S7 E1: Ghost stories