Artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Emma Rice
Artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Emma Rice
© Sarah Lee

Emma Rice, the outgoing director of Shakespeare's Globe has published a letter to her successor.

In a post on the venue's Tumblr blog, Rice, who stepped down from the position in October last year, offered up some advice based on lessons she has learnt since joining in April 2016.

Breaking her silence on her reasons for leaving the riverside venue, Rice says that the job has allowed her to learn where her "personal and professional boundaries were".

"Born to please, I have enjoyed a life filled with encouragement, delight and love. I walked into the Globe expecting this to continue but my blessed path was crossed and I had to call on my beliefs, principles and integrity for guidance.

"I have learnt, never again, to allow myself to be excluded from the rooms where decisions are made" she continues, "...as important and beloved as the Globe is to me, the board did not love and respect me back. It did not understand what I saw, what I felt and what I created with my actors, creative teams and the audience."

Responding to rumours that her departure was based on the Globe's aversion to her use of electric lighting and sound systems, she said: "Never think that my decision to step down in 2018 was simply about lights and sound, it was about personal trust and artistic freedom. You must make sure that your own freedom is assured."

In a separate post, former artistic director Dominic Dromgoole recalled the 'bile towards the Globe' during his and Mark Rylance's terms at the theatre. "The Globe is forever breaking moulds, that inspires fear, and fear can lead to loathing" he says, before urging the successful applicant to 'keep the Globe new'.

He continues by calling Rice's departure 'heart-breaking' and 'wrong', saying: "The only people who have the moral strength to get rid of you are the audience. No-one else, not the board, not your supposed colleagues, not the vulture punditry, just the audience."

Asking the next artistic director to return to performances without electric lights, Dromgoole says: "For me, shared light was the unique Globe tool... Taking away that uniqueness doesn't strike me as radical, it strikes me as conformist. Every theatre has light and sound, the Globe didn't."

On the politics behind the scenes at the Globe, he says: "There are structural problems, there are personality problems, there is too much fighting for territory, and there are too many who feel free to comment on work without ever taking the risk of making it.

"However the Globe is taking steps to address the problems, you have an excellent CEO in Neil Constable, who has copped too much of the blame for last year's imbroglio while doing all he could to avoid it, and you have the best theatre department in the country."

Applications for the position of artistic director at the Globe close on 24 April with interviews taking place in May. Rice's final season, the Summer of Love begins with Daniel Kramer's production of Romeo and Juliet, opening on 27 April.

Click here to read the full letter from Emma Rice and here for Dominic Dromgoole's full post.