Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (generic)
Shakespeare's Globe's candle-lit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Women lead Globe’s Wonder Noir season

Published May 23, 2016

Shakespeare’s Globe Artistic Director Emma Rice has announced her inaugural winter season in the venue’s Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, with four critically acclaimed female directors leading the charge.

Globe regular Lucy Bailey will open the Wonder Noir 2016-2017 season with John Milton’s Comus. Rice herself will then take up the mantel over the festive period with a new adaptation of The Little Matchgirl, with Annie Ryan staged to open 2017 with John Webster’s The White Devil and Ellen McDougall following with Othello.

Talking about the programming, which will follow the venue’s current al fresco Wonder season, Rice said: “As the nights draw in, my Wonder Season moves indoors and slips sensuously into ‘noir’. I’ve been itching to get into the magical den that is the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and can’t wait to explore its intoxicating beauty.

“Moral complexity, tragedy and folklore will all come together with John Milton’s Comus, John Webster’s The White Devil, Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Matchgirl and Shakespeare’s masterpiece Othello. I look forward to welcoming you to Wonder Noir, and bringing these haunting, surprising and enrapturing tales into the flickering candlelight.”

Bailey’s take on Milton’s epic Comus will start proceedings from 26 October. Following her many directorial credits in the venue’s outdoor space, including Timon Of Athens and the controversial Titus Andronicus, she’ll switch on the magic for the mystical story of an unnamed heroine who finds herself trapped in the God Of Revelry’s palace, and forced to choose between pleasure and virtue.

Rice’s collaboration with I Want My Hat Back’s playwright Joel Horwood, The Little Matchgirl (And Other Happier Tales) will follow from 24 November to 22 January. Featuring music, puppetry and, of course, the Sam Wanamaker’s ethereal candlelight, it promises to bring Hans Christian Andersen’s classic stories to life for adults “and brave children” alike.

The White Devil will play from 26 January, showing audiences the Globe’s dark side with its tale of violent passion, deceit and madness. The Production marks Dublin’s The Corn Exchange founder Ryan’s return to the London stage following her award-winning adaptation of A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing at the Young Vic.

Drawing the season to a close, Shakespeare’s great tragedy Othello will play from 23 February, marking McDougall’s Globe debut following hugely acclaimed productions including the Olivier Award nominated Ivan And The Dogs and The Glass Menagerie for Headlong.

The season will also feature the return of Jonathan Munby’s critically acclaimed play with music exploring the story of Handel’s legendary Messiah, All The Angels, which returns to play in rep with The Little Matchgirl and The White Devil from 6 December to 12 February following its sell-out run at the venue in 2015.

Audiences still have a whole host of surprises and treats in store for them at the Globe this summer. Following the season’s triumphant opening last month with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, theatre fans still have the chance to catch productions including Macbeth, The Taming Of The Shrew and an update of Cymbeline, Imogen, from now until October.

"I look forward to welcoming you to Wonder Noir, and bringing these haunting, surprising and enrapturing tales into the flickering candlelight.”