A cast of rising stars, including Ellie Kendrick (pictured), will perform Romeo And Juliet, the first production in Shakespeare’s Globe’s 2009 season, entitled Young Hearts. The announcement was made today at a press conference, where other casting and directorial decisions were revealed.
At today’s launch, attended by Globe Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole, Kendrick and playwright Trevor Griffiths, it was also announced that directors Thea Sharrock, Matthew Dunster and Deborah Bruce, and performers Naomi Frederick, Rawiri Paratene and Pennie Downie would also be part of the Globe’s 2009 summer season.
Kendrick, who recently played Anne Frank in the BBC adaptation of The Diary Of Anne Frank, takes on another iconic role in her professional stage debut, that of Juliet in Shakespeare’s famous love story. She is joined in the tale of star-crossed lovers by New Zealand actor, writer and director Rawiri Paratene, best known for his role in Whale Rider, who plays Friar Laurence, and Adetomiwa Edun (Romeo), Ukweli Roach (Tybalt) and Jack Farthing (Benvolio), all fresh from drama school.
Kendrick, who is starring at the Globe before heading to Cambridge University to study English, told the gathered press that she had been coming to the open air theatre since the age of 12, describing it as having “an incredible atmosphere which you can’t quite get in any other theatre in London.”
Downie, who recently starred alongside David Tennant and Patrick Stewart in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet, plays the eponymous heroine in Frank McGuinness’s new version of Helen, described by Dromgoole as “frisky”. Australian actress Downie is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, for whom she has appeared in productions including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Winter’s Tale and Macbeth. Elsewhere her productions include Dinner, Henry V (both National Theatre), Death And The Maiden (Duke of York’s theatre) and An Ideal Husband (Theatre Royal Haymarket).
Frederick, who is currently appearing in the National Theatre production of Mrs Affleck, will play Rosalind in As You Like It. The RADA graduate’s previous London credits include the Laurence Olivier Award-nominated Brief Encounter (Cinema Haymarket), Henry IV Pt I & II, The Mandate and Measure For Measure (all National Theatre). Frederick stars opposite Laura Rogers, who returns to the Globe having appeared in both A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Timon Of Athens in 2008.
Sharrock, who previously directed Equus and A Voyage Round My Father in the West End, takes charge of Frederick and Rogers in As You Like It, her first professional Shakespearean production.
Dunster returns to the Globe to revive his production of Che Walker’s The Frontline, a piece which, said Dromgoole, when it was premiered in 2008, “really shut everybody up who ever said any nonsense about this being a heritage theatre and about this being nothing but a trip into the past. It was fantastic to see that sort of modernity on stage and to see a modern London being recreated with incredible vividness and incredible rawness and incredible energy.” Dunster will also mount the Bankside venue’s first full-scale production of Troilus And Cressida.
Bruce, who directed 2008’s Scarborough at the Royal Court, directs the world premiere of McGuinness’s Helen. The production is another first for Shakespeare’s Globe, being the first time the theatre has staged full-scale Greek drama.
Dromgoole keeps himself busy taking charge of Romeo And Juliet, Love’s Labour’s Lost and the Globe’s second world premiere of the season, Trevor Griffiths’s A New World: A Life Of Thomas Paine. The new piece, originally written as a screenplay, is currently being adapted for the stage by Griffiths, who disclosed its current running time as four and a half hours, though extensive cuts will be made before the play takes to the Globe stage.
The theme of Dromgoole’s speech at today’s launch was youthfulness. Young Hearts, he said, was “partly just a way of celebrating the incredible youth and excitement of this space and this theatre, which is still only, amazingly 12 years old, even though it’s made an indelible mark on the landscape of this country.”
Suitably for a season entitled Young Hearts, tickets for the productions go on sale on 14 February, Valentine’s Day.