The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse has nestled into the body of the Globe for two winters now, and has proved a loving and an inspiring companion. Raucous laughter has rebounded within its wooden frame with The Knight of the Burning Pestle; bloody acts of Grand Guignol have had heads turning away and eyes covered with ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore and The Broken Heart; shadowy Pinteresque textures have flickered within the room with The Duchess of Malfi and The Changeling; and alongside these, opera, performance, recital and glorious, glorious music have stained the oak. Whatever we have asked of it, it has delivered, and answered our questions with a spinning eloquence which has pushed our imagination to further and further adventure and exploration.
But we have withheld one great experiment until we felt we knew the space, its potentials and its own artfulness, as fully as possible. That experiment is Shakespeare, and the glorious sequence of late plays, Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, which he wrote late in his life. Whether he wrote them for an indoor space exclusively is moot, since we know that they played in the outdoor theatres as well, but he certainly wrote them with the technology and the theatrical grammar of the new indoor spaces, most specifically the Blackfriars, in the front of his mind.
Each play busts out of its own frame into its own very individual life,but they share much as well; re-finding wives and daughters; the sadness of the end alongside the delirious joy of the beginning – ‘thou metst with things dying, I with things newborn’, as the Old Shepherd says in The Winter’s Tale;the enshrining of the past in bitterness and revenge, and the enabling of the future in forgiveness; and overwhelmingly of a sense of farewell.
Before we come to the Shakespeares, we are delighted to present a minifestival, a smorgasbord of the sort of lyric and poetic work we have been enjoying so much in the Playhouse – a new opera, Rossi’s Orpheus, from the Royal Opera, revivals of the exquisite Thomas Tallis by Jessica Swale and Omeros by Derek Walcott, and a new take on The Odyssey by Simon Armitage; and later, alongside the Shakespeares, an extraordinary suite of music and performance, including Aidan Gillen’s compelling and haunting rendition of Joyce’s The Dead. Words and music dive and fly together in a unique way within the candlelit atmosphere of the Playhouse, and we invite you to sample as many of these treats as you can. As with the great Globe itself, it will be
a pleasure and a privilege to harness some of the prodigious energy and imaginative flight of Shakespeare within our magical space for the first time, and to watch so much other glorious work fly alongside.
Please come and join us.
Find out more about the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse winter season, October 2015 - April 2016 on our website.
Join our Friends & Patrons membership scheme today to enjoy Priority Booking.
11 June – Advance Priority Booking opens for
Courtiers, Nobles & Director’s Circle members
16 June – Priority Booking opens for Friends
& Patrons of Shakespeare’s Globe
6 July – Public Booking opens