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Shakespeare’s Globe announces 2011 Theatre Season: The Word is God

Preview by Jack Foley

SHAKESPEARE’S Globe has announced that its 2011 season will be entitled The Word is God.

The season will enable the legendary theatre venue to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, which was completed in 1611, and the enduring power of dramatic language.

It will commence with a cover-to-cover reading of The Bible and a small-scale touring production of Hamlet, presenting a rare opportunity to experience the two foundation stones of the modern English language back-to-back.

Around the Easter weekend a simple, unstaged recital of The Bible – one of the greatest pieces of world literature – will only be interrupted by performances of Hamlet – widely celebrated as Shakespeare’s intellectual masterpiece – which opens at the Globe on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, before it takes to the road for a UK and European tour.

The first main-house production will be All’s Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare’s most Chekhovian of comedies, never before performed at the Globe, and soon followed by Shakespeare’s brightest and wittiest of comedies, Much Ado About Nothing.

The season’s theme will be followed through with the first Globe production of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, the greatest tragedy in English before Shakespeare, which tells the tale of a man who sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge.

Later in August, The Globe Mysteries will present a fresh perspective on The Mystery Plays, using the Globe’s historically resonant auditorium to look anew at the earliest form of English drama, which retells the story of the bible with language rich and irreverent, using street theatre and processional performance.

The story of King James’ feat in uniting England’s religious factions with a common Bible is told in Howard Brenton’s acclaimed dramatisation of the life and legacy of Anne Boleyn, which returns to the Globe following its 2010 sell-out run.

The season will be brought to a rude and rowdy climax with The God of Soho by Chris Hannan – a wild satire on modern living, set in contemporary, suburban England.

Chris Hannan’s previous work includes the award-winning The Evil Doers at The Bush Theatre and Shining Souls at The Old Vic.

The Globe will continue its commitment to regional touring, with two new small-scale productions in 2011, both celebrations of two of Shakespeare’s greatest wordsmiths, Rosalind and Hamlet, in As You Like It and Hamlet.

Now approaching their fifth year, the Globe’s regional tours help to sustain a fading tradition of touring Shakespeare, which in 2010 reached over 35,000 people at 38 beautiful venues across the UK and Europe.

This announcement follows the unprecedented success of the 2010 theatre season, Kings and Rogues, which achieved a record 91% of full capacity attendance across the entire season – up 4% from 2009, and the highest in the Globe’s 13 year history.

Due to audience demand, the season was extended by a week to include an extra eight performances of the celebrated productions of Henry IV parts 1 and 2

Four of the Shakespeare productions from the season were filmed for distribution through cinemas, television, DVD and online.

During 2010, over 170,000 £5 groundling tickets were bought – a significant achievement for a company that still operates without public subsidy.

Preceding the 2011 summer theatre season, Shakespeare’s Globe will present Winter Wassail in January – four special performances from the world-renowned Gabrieli Consort & Players in an uplifting musical celebration of the New Year.

This unique programme will include seasonal pieces inspired by words from Shakespeare, Hardy and Chaucer, with selected readings.

Public booking for the theatre season opens on February 14, 2011, when tickets will be available through the box office: 020 7401 9919 / 0871 297 0749 or online

Priority booking for the Friends of Shakespeare’s Globe opens in January 2011.