Shakespeare’s Globe has announced the full line-up for next year’s Globe to Globe season which, as previously announced, will see 37 international companies present all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 37 different languages.

At a launch event earlier today (26 September 2011), artistic director Dominic Dromgoole described the six-week event, which opens on Shakespeare’s birthday (23 April), as a “feast of wonderful stories”, and revealed the companies that will be taking part.

These include the acclaimed Isango Ensemble from South Africa (The Mysteries, The Magic Flute) who will present an adaptation of Venus and Adonis; New Zealand company Ngākau Toa, who will perform Troilus and Cressida in Maori; and a specially formed theatre company from the world’s newest country, South Sudan, who will present their take on Cymbeline.

Globe to Globe runs as part of both the ongoing Cultural Olympiad and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s recently launched Word Shakespeare Festival. Each production will be performed twice, with surtitles providing a synopsis of the action. Russian, Hindi, Georgian, Greek, Arabic, Urdu, Mandarin, Korean and Armenian are just some of the myriad languages that will be heard.

The Festival, which is being overseen by Tom Bird, is believed to be the first of its kind. Although the RSC presented a complete works cycle from 2005-06, most of the plays were performed in English.

Other highlights of the Globe to Globe programme include:

  • A new Balkan Trilogy, adapted from Henry VI by national theatres from Serbia, Albania and Macedonia.

  • For the first time ever a Shakespeare play will be performed in its entirety in British Sign Language. Deafinitely Theatre from London will translate the pun-riddled comedic text of Love’s Labour’s Lost into British Sign Language.

  • From Lithuania comes legendary director Eimuntas Nekrošius’ “seminal version” of Hamlet.

  • The Merchant of Venice will be presented by Israeli National Theatre company Habima in Hebrew in their first ever visit to the United Kingdom.

  • In another first, the National Theatre of China will perform Richard III. The company, whose “trailblazing productions represent the new face of Chinese theatre”, have not visited the UK before.

  • Following previous hits Bombitty of Errors and Funk It Up About Nothin, The Q Brothers return to London with an urban, hip hop performance of Othello.

  • Belarus Free Theatre, described by Dromgoole today as “the world’s bravest theatre company”, will present King Lear. The company has attracted worldwide support for its work which it does in spite of the threat of state persecution.

  • From Ramallah in Palestine comes the Ashtar Theatre its interpretation of Shakespeare’s “masterpiece of dislocation”, Richard II.

  • From Afghanistan come theatre company Roy-e-Sabs, who will leave Kabul for the first time to bring a production of The Comedy of Errors to the Globe.

    Olympic ticket offers

    Tickets for the Globe to Globe season are priced from £5 and are available in a variety of Olympic-themed packages, including the biathlon (two shows), decathlon (ten shows), marathon (26 shows) and Olympian (38 shows). There will also be the option of a Yard Olympian pass, which grants standing entry to all the productions for £100.

    In his introduction to the Festival brochure, Dominic Dromgoole says: “Many of the world’s greatest directors, over six hundred actors from all nations, and audiences from every corner of our polyglot community, will assemble to celebrate the stories, the characters and the relationships, which are etched into all of us.

    “Shakespeare is the language which brings us together better than any other, and which reminds of our almost infinite difference, and of our strange and humbling commonality.”