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Shakespeare's Globe

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Four Shakespeares: Titus Andronicus, Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and The Comedy of Errors

Four major new plays by Simon Armitage, Richard Bean, Howard Brenton and David Eldridge

First venues for the worldwide Hamlet tour announced, including Wittenberg, the ancient theatres of Heraclea and Philippopolis, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington and the Mayan ruins of Copán in Honduras

The Globe’s 2014 programme will draw together two momentous anniversaries: the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and the centenary of the First World War. Entitled Arms and the Man, the season will include new productions of Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra, Julius Caesar (directed by Dominic Dromgoole), The Comedy of Errors (directed by Blanche McIntyre), and a revisiting of Lucy Bailey’s 2006 production of Titus Andronicus. 


Four new plays will be staged: Dr Scroggy’s War by Howard Brenton, Holy Warriors by David Eldridge, Simon Armitage’s The Last Days of Troy (premièring at the Royal Exchange) and Richard Bean’s Pitcairn (co-produced with Out of Joint and Chichester Festival Theatre). 


Dr Scroggy’s War follows nineteen-year-old Jack Twigg on his journey to the trenches of the First World War and back, and explores his relationship with pioneering medic Harold Gillies, the founding father of plastic surgery. Written by Howard Brenton and directed by John Dove – the team that brought us the sharp and vibrant Anne Boleyn – Dr Scroggy’s War offers a sideways look at one of the most cataclysmic periods of the twentieth century. 


David Eldridge’s Holy Warriors is a kaleidoscopic tale of holy war and bloody revenge in the struggle for Jerusalem, taking in over two millennia of conflict. James Dacre directs a rich palimpsest of history that takes in Richard the Lionheart’s third crusade, Hamas suicide bombings and the ancient Roman conquest of this highly-prized and much-beleaguered city. 


Pitcairn is Richard Bean’s brutal telling of the colonisation of the remote island of Pitcairn by Fletcher Christian and the Bounty mutineers. Directed by Max Stafford-Clark and designed by Tim Shortall, the play charts – with salty humour and growing horror – the spiralling descent of the colony from a new Eden of freedom and equality to a brutal dystopia. Richard Bean’s recent credits include One Man, Two Guvnors at the National Theatre and in the West End.


Award-winning poet and novelist Simon Armitage’s The Last Days of Troy dramatises and completes the narrative of Homer’s Iliad, bringing the siege of Troy to its bloody conclusion. It is – in the playwright’s own words – “a back-room story of wounded pride, and the push and pull of family ties and national loyalty”. Directed by Nick Bagnall, designed by Ashley Martin Davies and composed by Alex Baranowski, the production promises to be a tense and intriguing interpretation of one of Western literature’s greatest myths. 


Next year’s touring productions will be a global tour of Hamlet to every single country on earth, a revival of this year’s King Lear, a mid-scale reworking of Dominic Dromgoole’s 2013 A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing. 


The Globe will also present A Midsummer Night’s Dream in British Sign Language by Deafinitely Theatre, All’s Well That Ends Well in Gujarati and Lope de Vega’s Punishment Without Revenge in Spanish, as part of the international Globe To Globe programme. 


The Hamlet tour will open at the Globe on 23 April 2014 – the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth – and go on to tour over 70 unique and atmospheric venues in Europe, South America and the Caribbean by the end of the year alone. Over the course of the entire two-year project, the company will travel to hundreds of venues across the seven continents by boat, sleeper train, jeep, tall ship, bus and airplane.


The first international stop will be the prestigious Stadsschouwburg in the heart of Amsterdam, a neo-Renaissance theatre that dates back to 1894. The company will then head to Wittenberg in Germany, where Hamlet spent his university years. Other European venues will include the National Theatre of Kosovo in Pristina, the National Theatre of Serbia in Belgrade, Kiev’s Zhvotnevy Palace and the courtyard of the Lichtenstein Palace in Prague. The production will also be staged at several ancient venues, including the Roman theatres of Philippopolis in Bulgaria and Heraclea in Macedonia.


The Globe’s Hamlet will be the inaugural performance at the brand new Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre. The theatre is adjacent to the site of the sixteenth-century Fencing School, a home from home for English Elizabethan players. Companies from London first arrived in Gdańsk in 1587 and over the next eighty years Poland became one of the great European havens for Shakespeare. It is the perfect venue for a touring production of a play whose action hinges on a performance by a travelling troupe of players.


In the Americas, the company will play at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, home to the largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works in the world. They will then travel to Copán in Honduras, once one of the great cities of the Mayan civilization. The Caribbean leg of the tour will include a stop at the Fond D’Or in St Lucia, an outdoor theatre nestled in the rainforest, before visiting the grandest theatres of South America: Uruguay’s Teatro Solis and the Teatro San Martin in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Public booking for the 2014 theatre season opens on 7 February 2014. For priority booking from 14 January 2014, audiences can join the Friends & Patrons of Shakespeare’s Globe. Information about the benefits of being a Friend or Patron is available online at or from the Friends & Patrons office on 020 7902 5970 / [email protected].




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