Globe Education celebrates 200th Read Not Dead performance
THIS SUMMER, Globe Education is marking the 200th performance in its popular Read Not Dead series by celebrating the works of some of the greatest dramatists of the early modern era.
To share the success of the project, Globe Education will take Read Not Dead on the road for the first time, with performances not only at Shakespeare’s Globe, but also at the Latitude festival in Suffolk.
The Read Not Dead programme, which has been running since 1995, stages “performances with scripts” of rarely performed plays written by Shakespeare’s contemporaries between 1576 and 1642, a time that would be considered a golden age of British theatre even without the works of Shakespeare.
Tickets for the Globe performances, which run from July 15 to September 23, 2012, can be booked online at www.shakespearesglobe.com or by telephone on 020 7401 9919. Tickets for the Latitude Festival performance on July 13 are available via www.latitudefestival.co.uk/tickets/.
Read Not Dead is a fast-paced theatrical experience, with the director and actors meeting, rehearsing and performing a play in a single day. This season’s performances begin on Friday, July 13 when visitors to the Latitude festival will enjoy a reading of Beggars Bush by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger – a play which has not been staged at any time in the last 100 years.
Set in a world of beggars, thieves and gypsies, the play is a light-hearted view of the social underworld, complicated by disguises, deceptions and hidden identities. Directed by Martyn Hodgson, a cast of 15 actors will spend the day rehearsing the play in the Faraway Forest, before performing at the Outdoor Theatre at 5pm.
Rehearsals will be open to the public, offering festival-goers a fascinating rare insight into the process of producing and performing Renaissance drama.
The Globe performances begin on Sunday, July 15 with a reading of Sir John Oldcastle written by Anthony Munday, Michael Drayton, Richard Hathwaye and Robert Wilson.
When Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays were first written, one of Shakespeare’s best loved characters, Falstaff, was called Sir John Oldcastle. This was much to the annoyance of Shakespeare’s patron the Lord Chamberlain, a descendant of the real-life Oldcastle. This play, once attributed to Shakespeare, aims to rescue the reputation of a proto-protestant hero who fought with Henry V in France.
On Sunday, August 5, Perkin Warbeck by John Ford follows the fortunes of a man who claimed to be one of the Princes supposedly murdered in the Tower by Richard III, and challenged Henry VII’s right to the throne of England.
The Taming of A Shrew, on Sunday, September 2, is an anonymous play originally performed by Pembroke’s Men. Debate continues as to whether this ‘Shrew’ is an early version, an adaptation, or a half-remembered pirate version. Whatever the truth, The Taming of A Shrew is different enough from Shakespeare’s to be regarded a play in its own right.
The summer season culminates on Sunday, September 23, with a celebration of the 200th Read Not Dead to be staged by Globe Education, with a reading of A New Way to Pay Old Debts by Philip Massinger. The play’s central character, Sir Giles Overreach, became one of the most popular villains seen on the English stage, rivalling even Shakespeare’s Richard III as arch-villain.
Read Not Dead readings are preceded by Rarely Played seminars, where leading scholars provide inspiring and engaging introductions to the plays.
Looking ahead to this summer’s special performances, Jamie Arden, Head of Events at Globe Education, commented:
“We are delighted to be celebrating two major developments with the Read Not Dead programme this summer. The first is the partnership with Latitude festival and taking the Read Not Dead programme to this new festival audience, giving them an insight into the richness of Early Modern drama with the delightfully comedic, Robin Hood-esque Beggar’s Bush. A perfect play for the wild woods at Latitude.
“Secondly we are thrilled to be reaching a significant landmark as we celebrate the 200th Read Not Dead, marking an opportunity to stop, reflect and take stock of the jewels of Elizabethan and Jacobean playwriting we have unearthed and rediscovered in the 15 years of the programme”.
Read Not Dead performances are taking place as part of Globe Education’s summer events season, Merry Meetings. For full listings details, visit the Globe Education website at www.shakespearesglobe.com/education/events.