For a second year in a row, Shakespeare's Globe has announced winter programming. After the success of last year's festive run of Footsbarn's Christmas Cracker, the open-air Bankside landmark, whose extended summer repertory season finishes this Saturday (9 October 2010), will host four New Year concert performances of Winter Wassail, a selection of Elizabethan and Victorian inspired music and poetry performed by the Gabrieli Consort & Players.

Presenting a programme of seasonal pieces inspired by the words of Shakespeare, Hardy and Chaucer, the ensemble will also be joined by experienced Globe actor Peter Hamilton Dyer (Henry VIII, The Frontline and King Lear) to perform the selection of readings.

The Winter Wassail title alludes to the ancient custom of coming together to drink from the wassail bowl at the turn of the year. In keeping with this theme the family-friendly programme will be presented in two half hour acts, giving plenty of room for “wassailing” over mulled wine and hot food during the interval.

Founded by Paul McCreesh in 1982, Gabrieli Consort & Players have travelled around the world, interpreting choral and instrumental repertoire from the renaissance to the present day. Influenced by the relationship between architecture and music, the ensemble's previous work includes a recreation of the grand pageantry of a Elizabethan Coronation Mass at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. They also regularly present work in London at Christ Church, Spitalfields.

Speaking about the upcoming musical programme the Globe's artistic director Dominic Dromgoole said: “Music always plays a big part in Globe shows and this will be a rare opportunity for us all to hear the sound of exquisite voices and period instruments reverberate through this theatre uninterrupted."

The newly announced winter programme follows the success of last year's Christmas Cracker, which featured 18 daytime performances of magic, music, puppets and circus-based family entertainment presented by physical theatre company Footsbarn. As well as poetry readings, last years events included a three-headed Bard, a tightrope-walking Juliet and an accordion-playing worm all delivered in Footsbarn's trademark larger-than-life style.