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Shakespeare's Globe - booking opens and early casting announced

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

SHAKESPEARE’S Globe opens public booking for its 2011 theatre season The Word is God, on Monday, February 14, 2011.

The season, which celebrates the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and the enduring power of dramatic language, follows the unprecedented success of the 2010 Kings and Rogues programme which achieved a record 91% of full capacity attendance across the entire season, the highest in the Globe’s history.

The season will commence with a cover-to-cover reading of The King James 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.

The Bible will be recited by 20 actors – including many Globe regulars – in five teams of four. Over the course of 69 hours, spread across eight days between Palm Sunday and Easter Monday, the actors will read aloud one of the greatest and most significant English texts.

Dominic Dromgoole will direct rising star Joshua McGuire as Hamlet. McGuire, who appeared in Posh at the Royal Court in 2010, is co-starring in the new BBC series The Hour with Ben Whishaw and Dominic West.

This small-scale production opens at the Globe on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, before touring the UK and Europe, visiting a unique trio of England’s oldest working theatres – Theatre Royal Margate, Georgian Theatre in Richmond and Bath – before finishing in Elsinore.

The first large-scale production will be the Globe premiere of All’s Well That Ends Well. Directed by John Dove (Anne Boleyn, In Extremis, Shakespeare’s Globe), it will star Olivier Award-winning actress Janie Dee as the Countess of Roussillon.

Dee’s theatre credits include A Month in the Country (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Comic Potential (Lyric Theatre/Scarborough/Manhattan Theatre Club) for which she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress.

Read more about All’s Well That Ends Well. Read our review

All’s Well That Ends Well will be followed by Much Ado About Nothing from acclaimed director Jeremy Herrin, whose recent work includes The Heretic, Kin, The Priory and That Face at the Royal Court.

Playing Beatrice will be another Olivier Award-winning actress, Eve Best, whose recent work includes The Homecoming (Broadway), As You Like It (Sheffield Crucible) and Dr. Eleanor O’Hara in Nurse Jackie, on Showtime in the USA and BBC2.

Benedict will be played by Charles Edwards, who recently appeared as Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Rose Theatre, Kingston. Edwards also originated the role of Hannay in The 39 Steps at the Tricycle Theatre and went on to reprise the role at the Criterion Theatre and on Broadway.

Read more about Much Ado About Nothing. Read our review

The Word is God theme will continue 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.

Directed by Matthew Dunster (The Frontline, Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare’s Globe), it stars Paul Hilton in the title role. Hilton’s previous work includes Rosmersholm (Almeida Theatre) and In Celebration alongside Orlando Bloom (Duke of York’s Theatre).

Read more about Doctor Faustus

In August, the Globe will celebrate the British medieval tradition of the Mystery plays with a new version by poet and playwright Tony Harrison who, following his acclaimed adaptation of The Mysteries at the National Theatre in 1985, will revisit the Mystery Cycles for the unique performance space of the Globe, celebrating the spirit of street theatre and processional performance.

This new version will be directed by Deborah Bruce, who previously worked at the Globe in 2009, directing Frank McGuinness’s adaptation of Helen by Euripides.

Read more about The Globe Mysteries

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. Directed by John Dove, it returns to the Globe following its 2010 sell-out run.

Read more about Anne Boleyn

The season will be brought to a rude and rowdy climax with Raz Shaw (the Globe’s touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream) directing Chris Hannan’s The God of Soho, a wild satire on modern living, set in contemporary, suburban England. Described as a bracingly modern play, it continues the Globe’s commitment to new writing, which draws bigger audience’s year-on-year.

Chris Hannan’s previous work includes the award-winning The Evil Doers (Bush Theatre), Shining Souls (Old Vic) and Gamblers (Tricycle Theatre).

Read more about The God of Soho

In addition to its main-stage programme, The Globe will present two new small-scale productions in 2011 – As You Like It from James Dacre, director of the 2010 Olivier Award-winning production The Mountaintop, and Hamlet.

Now in 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.

Shakespeare’s Globe filmed four of its 2010 Shakespeare productions in high definition as part of its commitment to capture its work on film. In partnership with Arts Alliance Media, these productions will appear in cinemas across the world this year, beginning in May 2011 with The Merry Wives of Windsor.

During the 2011 season, the Globe will film Much Ado About Nothing, All’s Well That End’s Well and Doctor Faustus. These high-quality recordings provide the archive with accurate and lasting records of the Globe’s work, as well as extending its work into cinemas, on DVD and online.

From February 14, 2011, tickets will be available through the box office on 020 7401 9919 and 0871 297 0749 or online at www.shakespearesglobe.com

DATES FOR 2011

The Bible – April 17 to April 25.

Hamlet – on tour from April 13, at the Globe from April 23.

All’s Well That Ends Well – April 27 to August 21.

As You Like It – on tour from May 12, at the Globe from May 17.

Much Ado About Nothing – May 21 to October 1.

Doctor Faustus – June 18 to October 2.

Anne Boleyn – July 8 to August 21.

The Globe Mysteries – August 5 to October 1.

The God of Soho – August 27 to September 30.