Shakespeare's Globe has announced the inaugural season in its new candlelit indoor Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Opening on 9 January 2014, the first production will be artistic director Dominic Dromgoole's staging of Webster's gory tragedy The Duchess of Malfi.
This will be followed by revivals of Francis Beaumont's comedy The Knight of the Burning Pestle (from 20 February) and Cavalli's opera L'Ormindo in a co-production with the Royal Opera House (from 25 March).
Other events programmed for the new space include Eileen Atkins' "reincarnation" of Victorian actress Ellen Terry in an exploration of Shakespeare's women (from 12-23 January), and a series of music evenings curated by harpsichordist and conductor Trevor Pinnock.
From 3 to 19 April the Globe Young Players, a new company of 12-to-16-year-olds, will perform John Marston's The Malcontent. The company will be formed on the basis of open auditions from "across the social spectrum" and participants will be paid a small fee.
Dominic Dromgoole said today: "The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse offers us a unique opportunity to explore the theatre practice of Shakespeare's day, and the theatrical context within which he worked.
"In time, we will perform the plays of Shakespeare in there, but we could not be more delighted than to be opening this theatre with three such shining jewels from this time - a macabre tragedy, a riotous comedy and a beautiful philosophical satire."
Artist's impression of the Sam Wanamaker Theatre
The 340-seat venue, which is situated adjacent to the Globe's main outdoor auditorium, is being constructed based on a set of plans that were found in Worcester College Oxford in the 1960s and are believed to be by Renaissance architect Inigo Jones' protégé John Webb.
According to press material, "The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse will provide an indoor playing space during the winter months and will host a wide variety of events all year round. It will be completely unique amongst London venues, with a handmade oak structure and pit seating, lit by hundreds of candles during performances."
A fundraising campaign by the Globe has enabled the £7.5million project to be developed thus far without any government support - just £600,000 is still needed.
Dromgoole added: "We hope that the Wanamaker Playhouse will afford as many insights, and prove as theatrically rejuvenating, as the Globe has proved over the last 16 years."
Tickets, which will be priced between £10 and £60 for plays and concerts and up to £100 for opera, go on public sale from 14 May 2013.