Best will star as Beatrice opposite Charles Edwards’ Benedict in a new production of Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Royal Court associate director Jeremy Herrin (That Face, The Heretic), making his Globe debut.
The production - running from 26 May to 1 October 2011 (previews from 21 May) - returns Best to the London stage for the first time since the Old Vic’s 2006 production of Moon for the Misbegotten, which co-starred Kevin Spacey and subsequently transferred to Broadway where Best was Tony nominated. She appeared at the Globe early in her career as Lady Macbeth. Her many other stage credits – at the National, Almeida, Young Vic and elsewhere – include The Coast of Utopia, The Heiress, Mourning Becomes Electra, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and Hedda Gabler, for which she won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress.
The Globe’s production of Much Ado About Nothing will go head-to-head with the high-profile West End offering of the play, starring Catherine Tate and David Tennant as Beatrice and Benedict, which is directed by Josie Rourke and runs for at Wyndham’s Theatre from 1 June to 3 September 2011 (previews from 16 May).
The 2011 Globe season launches with a cover-to-cover unstaged reading of The Bible to coincide with Easter weekend, as well as a new production of Hamlet, which will star Joshua McGuire in the title role. McGuire appeared last year in Posh at the Royal Court and is currently seen on screen in the new BBC series The Hour with Ben Whishaw and Dominic West. A small-scale touring production Hamlet opens at the Globe on Shakespeare's birthday (23 April) before travelling all over the UK and Europe before finishing in Elsinore. It’s directed by Globe artistic director Dominic Dromgoole.
The first large-scale production of the season will be All’s Well That Ends Well, running in rep with Much Ado About Nothing from 5 May to 21 August 2011 (previews from 27 April). It’s directed by Jonathan Dove and stars another Olivier Award winner, Janie Dee, as the Countess of Roussillon. Dee has won two Oliviers: for Alan Ayckbourn’s Comic Potential (Best Actress) and Rodgers and Hammerstein Carousel (Best Supporting Actress in a Musical).
The season’s theme is followed through with Paul Hilton taking the title role in the first Globe production of Doctor Faustus, the classic work by Shakespeare's contemporary Christopher Marlowe that tells the tale of a man who sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. It’s directed by Matthew Dunster and runs from 23 June to 2 October 2011 (previews from 18 June).
Later in the summer, The Globe Mysteries (5 August-1 October), in a new version by Tony Harrison directed by Deborah Bruce, present a fresh perspective on the mystery plays, some of the earliest forms of English drama, which retell the stories of The Bible in a combination of street theatre and professional performance.
Last year’s hit new play, Howard Brenton’s Anne Boleyn, a frontrunner in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Awards, returns from 15 July to 21 August 2011 (previews from 8 July), and is followed, from 1 to 30 September 2011 (previews from 27 August), by this year’s world premiere play, Chris Hannan’s The God of Soho, directed by Raz Shaw. Casting has not yet been announced for either.
The Globe’s second small-scale touring production for 2011 will be a new production of As You Like It helmed by James Dacre, who directed the 2010 Olivier Award-winning production of Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop. It’s at the Globe briefly in May.