Globe Premieres Modern Tube Play in 2008 SeasonDate: 27 November 2007
Shakespeare’s Globe artistic director Dominic Dromgoole (pictured) will continue his new work policy at the Bankside landmark next summer, by premiering two more new plays, including, for the first time, one set in modern London (outside Camden Tube station). The 2008 season, the most ambitious to date in the 11-year history of the theatre modelled on Shakespeare’s original Globe, will comprise a total of nine productions: four Shakespeares in London, two outdoor tours and a visiting production in addition to the new plays.
The title of the new season, running from 23 April (Shakespeare’s birthday) to 4 October 2008, is “Totus Mondus”, which is thought to have been the motto of the first Globe. Dromgoole explains: “’Totus mundus agit histrionem’ (‘the whole world is a playhouse’) was a glorious statement of Elizabethan ambition and has been taken up by the Globe for our next theatre season.
“Following the achievements of our most successful box office season ever, we are delighted to be presenting such a range of Shakespeare's plays in 2008, proving the glorious unruly diversity of his genius. We are complementing these works with two big and bold new plays, which transform the reconstructed Globe into a platform for contemporary writers. We were also thrilled by the success of last year's outdoor tour of Romeo and Juliet, and are very excited about expanding this area of our work."
In London, the schedule opens on 29 April 2008 (previews from 23 April) with Dromgoole’s own production of King Lear, which continues until 17 August. It’s joined in rep by three more Shakespeares: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (10 May to 4 October); The Merry Wives of Windor, directed by Christopher Luscombe (8 June to 5 October); and Timon of Athens, directed by Lucy Bailey (26 July to 3 October).
Premieres & touring
The two new plays are: The Frontline by 2003 George Devine Award winner Che Walker and Liberty by Lifeblood poet Glyn Maxwell. The Frontline, which premieres on 9 July (previews from 6 July) and continues until 17 August, is billed as a “modern, vigorous tale of London life on the edge”. It’s set on a Saturday night outside Camden Tube station and carries a warning that it “contains bad language and strong content”.
Liberty runs from 3 September to 4 October (previews from 31 August). The adaptation of Anatole France's 1912, “Reign of Terror”-set novel Les Dieux ont Soif Liberty tells the story of Gamelin, a Revolutionary magistrate who turns from being a radical idealist to a fanatical apologist for state violence. The co-production with Lifeblood Theatre Company is directed by Guy Retallack.
Outside London, the Globe will relaunch last year’s outdoor touring production of Romeo and Juliet, with new dates from May to August, and also launch a new production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, directed by John Dove and touring from June to September. The productions will also stop, for one day only, at the Globe on 18 May and 11 August respectively. Finally, international travelling troupe Footsbarn Theatre returns to London after a 15-year absence to present its new piece A Shakespeare Party, which has been specially conceived for the Globe, where it runs from 23 to 25 May only.
The newly announced 2008 season builds on the success of this past summer, during which over 300,000 theatregoers visited the Glove over the course of 264 performances. The result was ticket sales grossing £5 million, a 22 percent increase over 2006’s figures. The Globe is a registered educational charity and receives no annual government funding. Public booking for the new schedule opens on 11 February 2008.
- by Terri Paddock