Thursday, February 22

Maxine Peake, The Guilty Feminist and Johnny Flynn at Shakespeare’s Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe has announced a series of new events running alongside the season of Shakespeare plays in the indoor candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. These include: a panel discussion with Maxine Peake, Artistic Director Michelle Terry and Co-Director of Education Professor Farah Karim-Cooper, dubbed ‘Hamlet and She’ as part of a ‘Women and Power’ festival; the hit feminist comedy podcast, The Guilty Feminist, returns for another live recording in the Playhouse hosted by Deborah Frances-White; Johnny Flynn and Robert Macfarlane present a live performance of their stunning new album; and a whole host of education events including February half-term activities for families.

Despite the difficulties faced since the Globe closed its doors in March 2020, from May 2021, the theatre has successfully welcomed over 200,000 audience members into 291 performances, with only 2 shows being cancelled due to the pandemic. To remain connected to those unable to visit in person, the Globe ran 8 livestreamed productions, reaching audiences in 69 different countries. This year also saw the Globe’s first ever neighbourhood tour, delivering 10 performances across 8 London boroughs. From November, the winter season will bring Shakespeare plays into the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, including Measure for Measure directed by Blanche McIntyre, Hamlet directed by Sean Holmes, The Merchant of Venice directed by Abigail Graham, and a festive reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Fir Tree written by Hannah Khalil.

Co-Director of Education, Lucy Cuthbertson, said: “We have loved having schools and families return to the Globe and we continue the work to enable younger audiences access these key texts. We have created new storytelling performances of Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice to both support and compliment the productions in the Winter Season. We are also delighted to see the return of Globe Youth Theatre.”

Co-Director of Education, Professor Farah Karim-Cooper, said: “Our second Women and Power festival uses Shakespeare’s works to ask questions about our moment and its resonances with the past. Issues that women face today – inequality, sexual harassment, diminished access to power – will be discussed through the lens of Shakespeare, performance and social justice.”

From 6th – 12th  December, the Globe will host Women and Power, a festival of panel events, workshops, and a scholarly symposium. On 6 December, audiences are invited to an in-person panel with actress Maxine Peake (Dinnerladies, Shameless, Silk) discussing Hamlet, a role she played in 2014 at the Royal Exchange, Manchester. Maxine will be joined by Michelle Terry, who played Hamlet at the Globe in 2018, and Co-Director of Education Professor Farah Karim-Cooper for a feminist discussion on the role of Hamlet. On 12th December, smash-hit comedy feminist podcast, The Guilty Feminist, returns to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for a live recording with host Deborah Frances-White, special guests will be announced in due course. The festival will also feature an online symposium titled ‘Empowerment to Disempowerment: Intersectional Voices’, this one-day event on 10th December will gather experts, activists and theatre practitioners in an exploration of intersectionality, women, and power. The event will be of particular interest to students, academics, teachers, and scholars but is open to all. 

On 6th and 7th February, Johnny Flynn and Robert Macfarlane will present the first live performance of their stunning album, Lost in the Cedar Wood, in an evening created specifically for the unrivalled intimacy of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Created in lockdown 2020, the album bases itself loosely upon the world’s oldest written work of literature, The Epic of Gilgamesh, with beautiful music woven through with storytelling, drawing audiences on a 4000-year-journey from Mesopotamia through to our present moment. Much-lauded singer-songwriter and actor Johnny Flynn, most recently worked at the Globe creating music for 2015’s As You Like It and was on stage in 2012’s Twelfth Night and Richard III. Internationally celebrated and award-winning Robert Macfarlane is known for his writing about the natural world, his 2017 ‘The Lost Words’ created with artist Jackie Morris became a phenomenon.

2022 marks the 16th Anniversary of Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank, returning from 3rd March with a production of Macbeth created especially for young people. This project provides up to 20,000 free tickets to state secondary school children from London and Birmingham. Since the programme started more than 211,000 students have benefited from the programme, which also supports teachers by offering free Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions, workshops, and free learning resources. This production of Macbeth will also be available to all, with the first public performances taking place on the 19th March, so more families and young people can experience this production.

On 13th – 19th February, the Globe’s flagship Telling Tales family festival will return for February Half-Term, packed with events and activities for families and young people to enjoy over the school break. Activities will be held both online and onsite and allow families to uncover the magic of storytelling together in a Family Workshop or explore Shakespeare’s plays in one of the many fun Storytelling sessions. On 6th and 13th March, younger audiences are invited to watch a live storytelling of The Merchant of Venice. Stereotype is placed under the microscope in this interactive storytelling event, led by experienced storyteller, actor, and writer Alex Kanefsky.

The Globe’s Education department will present a series of free webinars exploring the relationship between race, social justice, and Shakespeare. Anti-Racist Shakespeare: Perspectives on the Plays will enable live discussion online of Measure for Measure (9th December), Hamlet (10th February) and The Merchant of Venice (15th March). 

Young performers (11 – 19-year-olds) are invited to audition to join the Globe’s Youth Theatre, a weekly training programme for young performers hungry to engage with acting and performance. Running from January – July 2022, members of the Youth Theatre will work with experienced, professional actors and directors, gaining the unique chance to immerse themselves in the Globe’s approach to the work of Shakespeare and his continued relevance to the modern world. For those who want to learn more about the program, the Globe is offering Free Youth Theatre Taster Sessions on the 20th and 27th November. 

In the New Year, Shakespeare’s Globe will continue to support teachers through a variety of online and onsite CPD workshops. Teach Shakespeare offers a practical toolkit for teaching Romeo and Juliet (15th February); Teaching Anti-Racist Shakespeare will explore anti-racist approaches to teaching Othello and The Merchant of Venice (15th January) or Othello and The Tempest (2nd March); Shakespeare and Women (29th January and 12th March) will equip teachers with strategies to facilitate conversations with their classes about sexism, misogyny, and depictions of women in Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s Globe recently played host to the Letters to the Earth project, individuals such as Vivienne Westwood, Laura Whitmore and Ben Okri joined thousands of others who have been raising their voices for environmental protection ahead of the U.N. COP26 summit. The Globe has also made its own contribution to this project. Michelle Terry will be joined by artists including Stephen Fry, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Helen Schlesinger, Shubham Saraf, Paul Ready, Rosalie Craig, Hadley Fraser, Philip Cumbus, and Tanika Yearwood, in a short film: Shakespeare’s Letter to the Earth available to view now online. The video explores Shakespeare’s contribution to the 400-year-old conversation about the climate, helping to make the crisis understandable and hopeful.