Follow Us on Twitter

Shakespeare's Globe - 2008 Season

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING last year’s success, Shakespeare’s Globe has announced its 2008 theatre season. Entitled Totus Mundus, which is thought to have been the motto of the first Globe, it will include a total of nine productions, two more than in 2007.

The season opens on April 23, Shakespeare’s birthday, and features four Shakespeare plays – King Lear, directed by the Globe’s Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole; A Midsummer Night’s Dream (director to be confirmed); The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Christopher Luscombe and designed by Janet Bird (the creative team behind the Globe’s 2006 production of The Comedy of Errors); and Timon of Athens, directed by Lucy Bailey and designed by William Dudley (who directed and designed the Globe’s production of Titus Andronicus in 2006).

Speaking about the forthcoming season, Dominic Dromgoole said:

“Totus mundus agit histrionem (The Whole World is a Playhouse) was a glorious statement of Elizabethan ambition and has been taken up by the Globe for our next theatre season. Following the achievements of our most successful box-office season ever, we are delighted to be presenting such a range of Shakespeare’s plays in 2008, proving the glorious unruly diversity of his genius.

We are complementing these works with two big and bold new plays, which transform the reconstructed Globe into a platform for contemporary writers. We were also thrilled by the success of last year’s outdoor tour of Romeo and Juliet, and are very excited about expanding this area of our work.”

The 2008 season therefore includes two new commissions – The Frontline and Liberty.

The Frontline by Ché Walker, winner of the 2003 George Devine Award, is set on a Saturday night outside Camden tube and presents a modern, vigorous tale of London life on the edge. It contains bad language and strong content.

Liberty by the poet Glyn Maxwell, whose Lifeblood was voted best play by the British Theatre Guide in 2005, is described as a thrilling adaptation of Anatole France’s 1912 novel Les Dieux ont Soif.

Set at the height of the ‘Reign of Terror’, Liberty tells the gripping story of Gamelin, a Revolutionary magistrate who turns from being a radical idealist to a fanatical apologist for state violence, and the effect on the lives of the girl he loves, his best friend and the people they know. Co-produced with Lifeblood Theatre Company, Liberty will be directed by Guy Retallack.

As well as the six main stage productions and following the success of this summer’s open-air tour of Romeo and Juliet, the run has been extended to even more UK venues and into Europe. A second production, The Winter’s Tale, has also been introduced. It will be directed by John Dove, who revisits the play following his 2005 production for the Globe.

The 2008 theatre season is completed by A Shakespeare Party from the internationally revered Footsbarn Theatre. The company has travelled the world for 35 years celebrating and sharing Shakespeare’s work with people of all cultures, using their distinct blend of visual theatre and music. In 2008, they return to London, after a 15 year absence, with a production specially conceived for the unique space of Shakespeare’s Globe.

The Globe’s 2007 theatre season achieved outstanding box office success, grossing more than £5 million in ticket sales. These figures mark an increase of £520,000 and over 30,000 tickets – a growth of just over 22% on 2006’s figures.

2008 schedule

King Lear – April 29 (previews from April 23) to August 17.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – May 21 (previews from May 10) to October 4.

Romeo and Juliet – at the Globe on Sunday, May 18 at 1pm and 6.30pm. Tour dates and venues to be announced.

A Shakespeare Party – May 23 to May 25.

The Merry Wives of Windsor – June 18 (previews from June 8) to October 5.

The Winter’s Tale – at the Globe on Monday, August 11 at 7.30pm. Tour dates and venues to be announced.

The Frontline – July 9 (previews from July 6) to August 17.

Timon of Athens – August 6 (previews from July 26) to October 3.

Liberty – September 3 (previews from August 31) to October 4.

Public booking for the season opens on February 11, 2008, when tickets will be available through the box office (020 7401 9919 and 020 7850 8590) or online.