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Sam Wanamaker Playhouse - second season follows success of first

Season preview

SHAKESPEARE’S Globe has announced a triumphant first season in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, with events and productions playing to average audiences of 95% capacity and over 40,000 tickets sold across the January-April season.

The candlelit space and captivating performances enchanted critics and members of the public alike, winning five-star reviews and praise for this “exquisite little jewel box” of a theatre (The Independent) that “feels like it’s always been there and was just waiting to be uncovered” (The Guardian).

While the authentically unforgiving oak bench seating initially provoked a few grumbles, extra cushioning was deemed to have improved matters by the end of the season.

The second season of indoor theatre will open and close with plays by John Ford. His infamous tale of incestuous lust and obsessive revenge, ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, opens on October 23, 2014, while The Broken Heart – another searching exploration of the darkest recesses of the human psyche – will run from March 12 to April 18, 2015.

Completing the trio of classic Jacobean tragedies, Middleton’s ferocious tale of madness and passion, The Changeling will run from January 15 to March 1, 2015.

Two stellar productions from the first season will be revived: Adele Thomas’s hilarious and joyful The Knight of the Burning Pestle and Cavalli’s L’Ormindo, a revival of the ground-breaking collaboration between Shakespeare’s Globe and The Royal Opera.

The former, which will run across Christmas from December 11, 2014 to January 11, 2015, will again star Pauline McLynn as the Citizen’s Wife. Kasper Holten’s exquisite production of L’Ormindo, a smash hit that won unanimous rave reviews in March this year, returns from February 3 to March 5, 2015.

Between February 11 and March 7, the Playhouse will host the world premiere of Claire van Kampen’s new play with music, Farinelli and the King. Set in eighteen-century Spain and Italy, it tells the true story of Farinelli, the world’s most famous castrato, and his decision to trade fame and fortune for a life of servitude at the court of King Philip V. Replete with beautiful arias originally sung by Farinelli, this production promises to be a feast for the ears and eyes.

The Globe Young Players, a company of talented 12-16-year-olds who train with the Globe’s resident experts in the craft and practice of early modern drama, will present Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage. An exploration of the tragic antagonisms that arise when public duty and private passions collide, this production will be the second outing for the Players following their staging of The Malcontent in April, and will play six performances only (April 9 to April 18, 2015).

Although the main theatre season in the Playhouse does not open until October 23, events continue throughout the summer.

From Saturday, May 31 to Monday, June 9, the Playhouse will host Nobel Prize-winning poet and author Derek Walcott’s new stage adaptation of his 1990 epic poem Omeros, starring Joseph Marcell, who is best known for his long-standing role as Geoffrey in the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He is currently starring in the Globe’s touring production of King Lear for the second year running and has worked extensively with the Globe and the RSC over the course of his 37-year career.

From Sunday, July 27 to Sunday, August 10, members of The Sixteen – one of the world’s greatest choral ensembles – will perform Thomas Tallis, a specially-commissioned piece about the life and work of the celebrated Tudor composer, written by Jessica Swale and directed by Adele Thomas. Jessica Swale made her playwrighting debut at the Globe last year with the critically-acclaimed Blue Stockings.

Finally, on July 14, Dominic Dromgoole’s Julius Caesar (playing in the Globe Theatre from June 20 to October 11) will enter the Playhouse for one special candlelit performance. The production stars George Irving as Caesar, Luke Thompson as Mark Antony, Katy Stephens as Calphurnia, Tom McKay as Brutus, Anthony Howell as Cassius and Catherine Bailey as Portia.

Rising star Luke Thompson appeared in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe last year, when he was nominated for an Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Newcomer for his performance as Lysander.

Although Anthony Howell is best known for his starring role as Sergeant Paul Milner in the acclaimed television series Foyle’s War, he has also toured with Peter Hall’s company in A Doll’s House and Portrait of a Lady.

Tom McKay, who recently completed filming on the BBC series The White Queen, has also toured the US with the Tricycle’s The Great Game, and appeared in Michael Grandage’s Frost/Nixon in the West End.

Katy Stephens appeared as Tamora in last year’s production of Titus Andronicus at the RSC, and during her time at Stratford she also played Rosalind in As You Like It and Regan in King Lear.

George Irving’s extensive television credits include a three-year stint in Holby City playing consultant Anton Meyer.

Completing the cast are Catherine Bailey, Sam Cox, Patrick Driver, Joe Jameson, Tom Kanji, Christopher Logan, William Mannering, Keith Ramsay, Paul Rider and Dickon Tyrrell.

For more information or to book, call the box office on +44 (0) 20 7401 9919 or visit