Globe brings theatre world to London

Published September 26, 2011

Theatre companies from Afghanistan, Palestine and South Sudan are among the international guests joining Shakespeare’s Globe’s ambitious Globe To Globe project next spring.

The epic play cycle, announced earlier this year, will see all of Shakespeare’s plays performed in a different language using the talents of 37 visiting international theatre companies.

A specially formed theatre company from the world’s youngest country, South Sudan, will perform Cymbeline, while Kabul-based company Roy-e-Sabs will stage The Comedy Of Errors after performing against the odds in Afghanistan. Palestinian company Ashtar Theatre is to present its version of Richard II.

The project, which forms part of next year’s Cultural Olympiad, includes a number of ‘firsts’, including the first visit to the UK of the National Theatre of China, which will perform Richard III in Mandarin, and the first ever Shakespeare play performed entirely in British Sign Language, as Deafinitely Theatre stages Love’s Labour’s Lost.

The Henry VI trilogy will be staged by the national theatres of Serbia, Albania and Macedonia in a Balkan collaboration, while Mexico and Argentina will give audiences a Spanish-language Henry IV Part 1 and 2.

Along with companies new to London, the project welcomes many groups whose work has previously been seen in the capital, including South Africa’s Isango Ensemble, whose The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso won an Olivier Award in 2008, and Belarus Free Theatre, which recently visited the Almeida theatre. US company Q Brothers, whose work includes Funk It Up About Nothin’ at Theatre Royal Stratford East, stages its take on Othello, while Brazilian company Grupo Galpão presents its famous carnivalesque production of Romeo And Juliet, which has previously been staged at the Globe.

Globe To Globe concludes its six-week season on 8 June with the 38th show, an English-speaking production of Henry V, created by the Globe itself.

Festival Director Tom Bird said the project had approached “groups that are capable of playing anywhere at a moment’s notice”.

The venue had been “stunned by the overwhelming enthusiasm from the international community to come here,” added Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole.

The £1.8million project, which is jointly funded by Olympics organising committee LOCOG and the Globe itself, aims to reach out to London’s international communities, with Globe ambassadors being sent to various areas of the capital to drum up support.

In keeping with the Globe’s regular season, tickets for Globe To Globe start at £5 for a standing yard ticket, with a number of Olympics-themed ticket bundles available, including a Decathlon (10 shows) and a Marathon (26 shows). Those up for the challenge of seeing all 38 plays can buy an Olympian for £100, which comprises a standing ticket to each of the productions.

Each company will give two performances at the Globe, with production lengths capped at two hours and 15 minutes. The shows will not be surtitled, though synopses will be available.

Globe To Globe runs from 21 April to 8 June and will be followed by the Globe’s usual summer season, featuring four Shakespeare productions of which details are yet to be announced.

CB