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Inaugural Wanamaker season announced

Published 22 April 2013

Shakespeare’s Globe’s new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse will host a diverse season of work that includes drama, opera and live music when it opens for the first time next year.

Opening the 2014 inaugural season and marking the first ever performance to play in the indoor theatre’s candlelit surroundings, The Duchess Of Malfi will play from 9 January (press night 15 January) to 16 February.

Directed by the venue’s Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole, John Webster’s tragedy about a duchess who marries below her class will be followed into the venue by Francis Beaumont’s anarchic comedy The Knight Of The Burning Pestle, which plays from 20 February (press night 26 February) to 30 March.

From 25 March to 12 April, Shakespeare’s Globe has teamed up with the Royal Opera to present Cavalli’s rarely performed L’Ormindo. Directed by the Kasper Holten, Director of Opera at the Covent Garden-based company, the outrageous comedy about a sex-deprived young queen and her two would-be lovers marks the beginning of the Globe’s long-term aim to extend its research into the field of opera.

Following Holten’s production, which marks the first time L’Ormindo has been staged in the UK since 1967, a newly formed company of 12 to 16-year-olds will perform John Marston’s The Malcontent, echoing the play’s origin as a piece that was originally written for the Children Of Blackfriars, a company of which Marston was a shareholder.

The new company, which will be known as the Globe Young Players and trained in the craft of early modern drama by the Globe’s resident experts, will be formed of youngsters discovered during a nationwide talent search that is to take place later this year.

The drama and opera productions will be interspersed throughout the season with a number of musical and theatrical performances by world-renowned performers. The first will see BAFTA and Grammy Award-winning actress Eileen Actress take to the stage as Ellen Terry, the woman considered to be the greatest Shakespearean actress of the 19th century. A dramatic exploration of the Bard’s women, Ellen Terry With Eileen Atkins will play from 12 to 23 January.

Following Atkins’ performance, acclaimed harpsichordist and conductor Trevor Pinnock will curate a series of musical evenings entitled Mozart In London to be performed by Kristian Bezuidenhout, Carolyn Sampson, Alina Ibragimova, Chiaroscuro and the musician himself. The performances, which will take place on 2 and 3 March, are inspired by Mozart’s time spent writing and performing in London at the age of eight.

From 9 to 17 March, another four-concert sequence will see Grammy Award-winning guitarist John Williams work with internationally renowned musicians – including fellow guitarists Pavel Steidl and John Etheridge, and kora player Tunde Jegede – to present concerts incorporating music composed in different countries and centuries.

The John Williams Series will be followed by subversive musical comedy from Rubberbandits on 30 and 31 March, while I Fagiolini, a vocal ensemble that specialises in performing 16th and 17th century Italian and English music, will present two contrasting pieces from 17th century venice, Monteverdi’s Madrigls And Duets and musical comedy Barca Di Venezia Per Padova, on 6 and 7 April.

An evening of Armenian folksong, dance and poetry will follow from 13 to 14 April. An exploration of Shakespeare’s influence on Armenia culture, Armania will feature performances from Dudukner Ensemble with Levon Chilingirian, Alexander Chaushian, Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian and Tereza Gevorgyan.

Created to provide an indoor space during the winter months, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is a 340-seat venue that has been designed with careful research into the materials, methods and decorative aesthetics of Jacobean buildings, and hopes to offer an insight into indoor performance during the 17th century.

Talking about the venue’s first season, Dromgoole said: “The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse offers us a unique opportunity to explore the theatre practice of Shakespeare’s day, and the theatrical context within which he worked. In time we will perform the plays of Shakespeare in there, but we could not be more delighted than to be opening this theatre with three such shining jewels from this time: a macabre tragedy, a riotous comedy and a beautiful philosophical satire.  We hope that the Wanamaker Playhouse will afford as many insights, and prove as theatrically rejuvenating, as the Globe has proved over the last 16 years.”

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