The old will collide with the new for Shakespeare’s Globe’s 2014 season, which will feature four Shakespeare productions alongside a quartet of new plays by writers including Richard Bean and Howard Brenton.
Marking the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth as well as the centenary of World War I, next year’s programme, which is entitled Arms And The Man, will include new productions of Antony And Cleopatra (from 17 May), Julius Caesar (from 20 June) and The Comedy Of Errors (from 30 August) as well as a reworking of Lucy Bailey’s 2006 production of Titus Andronicus, which will play from 24 April.
Shakespeare’s Globe’s Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole will direct the Bard’s well-known tragedy about the Roman dictator, while UK Theatre Award-winning director Blanche McIntyre will take on Shakespeare’s farcical comedy of mistaken identities. The director of Antony And Cleopatra is still to be announced.
Alongside the Globe’s traditional 2014 offerings, a selection of new works by some of Britain’s most acclaimed playwrights will brings tales of war and bloodshed to the Bankside venue.
Offering a sideways look at one of the most cataclysmic periods of the 20th century, Dr Scroggy’s War (from 12 September), which is written by 55 Days and Drawing The Line playwright Brenton and directed by John Dove, charts the story of 19-year-old Jack Twigg as he journeys to the WWI trenches and back again, exploring his relationship with pioneering medic Harold Gillies.
Continuing the theme of conflict is David Eldridge’s Holy Warriors (from 19 July), a kaleidoscopic tale of holy war and bloody revenge that spans more than two millennia of conflict, from Richard The Lionheart’s third crusade to the Hamas suicide bombings, which is directed by The Thrill Of Love’s James Dacre.
The playwright behind current West End hit One Man, Two Guvnors will also bring a new work to the Bankside venue next summer. A co-production with Out Of Joint and Chichester Festival Theatre, Bean’s Pitcairn (from 22 September) tells the brutal story of the remote island’s colonisation and how it descended from a new Eden of freedom and equality to a violent dystopia. The production will be directed by Out Of Joint’s Artistic Director Max Stafford-Clark with designs by Tim Shortall.
Completing the quartet of new plays is Simon Armitage’s The Last Days Of Troy, which will receive its premiere at Manchester’s Royal Exchange theatre prior to its summer run at the Globe from 10 June. Directed by Nick Bagnall, the play, which is described by the award-winning poet and playwright as “a back-room story of wounded pride”, dramatises Homer’s Illiad, offering a tense interpretation of the narrative and bringing the siege of Troy to its bloody conclusion.
Also announced today is a British Sign Language interpreted production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2 to 7 June), presented by Deafinitely Theatre, and two foreign language productions – All’s Well That Ends Well in Gujarati and Lope de Vega’s Punishment Without Revenge in Spanish – as part of the venue’s Globe To Globe programme.
While London’s South Bank will be brimming with works both new and old next summer, touring productions of King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing will set off around the globe, with a worldwide tour of Hamlet set to visit every single country on Earth following its opening at the Bankside venue on 23 April.
Before the arrival of the summer season, audiences will be welcomed for the first time into Shakespeare’s Globe’s new indoor venue, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, where Gemma Arterton will take the lead role in The Duchess Of Malfi from 9 January.