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She Wolves and Shrews - the 2019/20 Sam Wanamaker Playhouse Season

Season preview

SHAKESPEARE’S Globe has announced the 2019/20 Sam Wanamaker Playhouse Season. Centred around She Wolves and Shrews, the season is a celebration and interrogation of women, power, and the role of the feminine in shaping our past, present and future.

The candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse will play host to a world-premiere of Ella Hickson’s new play Swive [Elizabeth], Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Richard III and The Taming of the Shrew, and Middleton’s Women Beware Women.

Sandi and Jenifer Toksvig have written a new family show dubbed, Christmas at the (Snow) Globe, and a series of candlelit ghost tales will include a new story from Jeanette Winterson.

Other events running throughout the season include half-term storytelling festival, Half Term Tales at the Globe, with the new Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, and a double bill of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas, marking the centenary year since the removal of the sex disqualification act.

The Globe’s flagship project for secondary and post-16 students, Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank, reaches its 14th year with Macbeth.

Opening the theatre season on November 5, Sean Holmes and Ilinca Radulian will co-direct the Globe Ensemble in Henry VI and Richard III, completing the year-long journey through the history of our ‘scepter’d isle’. The Globe Ensemble includes Sarah Amankwah, Philip Arditti, Nina Bowers, Jonathan Broadbent, Leaphia Darko, Steffan Donnelly, Colin Hurley, Sophie Russell, and Helen Schlesinger.

Sean Holmes is Associate Artistic Director, and most recently directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of the 2019 Summer Season. He recently stepped down from the Lyric Hammersmith after almost a decade as Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive. His tenure at the Lyric included programming game-changing shows such as Three Kingdoms, directing 22 productions, including the Olivier Award-winning Blasted, the worldwide hit Ghost Stories, and the first stage version of Bugsy Malone in over a decade. His years of experience working with ensembles include Filter and the ground-breaking Secret Theatre project.

Ilinca Radulian was Associate Director on the Secret Theatre national tour, and assistant directed Hamlet and Mary Stuart as a resident director at the Almeida Theatre. Other credits include Fight Club (site specific, RO), Hypothetical, Lost and Found (Rapid Write Response, Theatre503), and Inland Empire (site specific, USA).

The world-premiere of award-winning writer Ella Hickson’s new play Swive [Elizabeth] will be directed by Natalie Abrahami. Swive interrogates the power of sex in gaining and maintaining control in a patriarchy. Elizabeth I was a political mastermind and monarchic force who reigned supreme for 45 years, and yet she still felt that her power ultimately resided in her beauty. Swive explores power, sex, intimacy, solitude and desire, shining candlelight on the savage pressure that women are under to sell themselves on their least interesting quality.

Swive (archaic, transitive) To copulate with (a woman); (archaic, transitive, dialectal) To cut a crop in a sweeping or rambling manner, hence to reap; cut for harvest.

Ella Hickson is an award-winning writer whose work has been performed throughout the UK and abroad. Her most recent credits include ANNA (National Theatre), The Writer, and Oil (Almeida). She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and twice a MacDowell Fellow.

Natalie Abrahami’s credits include ANNA (National Theatre), Machinal (Almeida), and The Meeting (Chichester Festival Theatre). She ran the Gate Theatre from 2007 to 2012 with Carrie Cracknell.

Over the Christmas period, the Globe Theatre will open its doors for a new family show created and directed by Sandi Toksvig and Jenifer Toksvig, Christmas at the (Snow) Globe. The show will be full of song, laughter, mulled wine, and the magic of Christmas.

Sandi Toksvig OBE is well known to UK audiences as a broadcaster, with television credits including celebrated series Call My Bluff (as regular team captain) and Whose Line Is It Anyway? She took over from Stephen Fry as host of QI, BBC2’s fiendishly difficult and hugely popular quiz, and she and Noel Fielding became the new co-hosts of The Great British Bake Off. For a decade Sandi Toksvig was a familiar voice for BBC Radio 4 listeners as the chair of The News Quiz which led to her induction into the Radio Hall of Fame.

Much of Sandi Toksvig’s time is devoted to writing, with more than 20 fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults to her credit. Her adaptation of Mamma Mia the Party will open at London’s O2 next month. She is an activist for gender equality, and in 2014 she co-founded the Women’s Equality Party.

Jenifer Toksvig is a writer, deviser, director and producer. Theatre work includes spoken word poetry for UNHCR, performed and translated worldwide; immersive, interactive theatre/gaming hybrid shows; a catalogue of musicals for young people to perform (in collaboration with composers David Perkins and Alexander Rudd); stage adaptations of novels by authors including Terry Pratchett, Geraldine McCaughrean and David Almond. Jenifer Toksvig is an advocate for writers and an active member of the Writers Guild of Great Britain.

Running from February 1 to April 18, 2020, Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew will be directed by Maria Gaitanidi. The production will be performed by an ensemble cast comprising Lila Clements, Mattia Mariotti, Melissa Riggall, and Globe Artistic Director, Michelle Terry.

Maria Gaitanidi is founder of the ensemble ‘We Are Raw Material’, bringing together artists who make art in various forms, using solely the rawness of the space, the actor, the text. The artists create in the here and now with the audience as witness. Gaitanidi works extensively in the UK, Italy and Greece. Her London credits include Black Monk (The Holborn Workshop), The Late Mattia Pascal (Shoreditch Church) and directors labs on Platonov and Suddenly Last Summer (Young Vic). She recently completed her first short film Salt Wound starring Stacy Martin.

Running in repertory with The Taming of the Shrew, Thomas Middleton’s Women Beware Women opens on February 21, directed by Amy Hodge. Women Beware Women is an enduringly relevant exploration of gender power dynamics that uncovers the savage underbelly of desire, lust and ambition through the prism of the flamboyant Florentine court.

Amy Hodge’s recent credits include Mr Gum And The Dancing Bear – The Musical! (National Theatre), Mother Courage and Her Children (Royal Exchange), and The Brexit Shorts for The Guardian and Headlong. She is making her first virtual reality film Sundowning, for the National Theatre and National Film Board of Canada, about the experience of dementia.

Special events will continue throughout the season with a ghost story series, Deep Night, Dark Night: Tales from Beyond the Grave, including a new commissioned story from Jeanette Winterson, Victorian stories and true tales of ghosts of London. A double bill of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and her lesser known paper, Three Guineas on November 28, marks the centenary year since the removal of the sex disqualification act, and Nancy Astor becoming the first female MP.

The Globe’s Voices in the Dark series will continue in January and February with Notes to the Forgotten She Wolves. This collection of performances will shed candlelight on the women who have so far remained in darkness in a world history dominated by stories about men, by men. Taking their lead from Shakespeare’s own She Wolf, Queen Margaret of Anjou, the Globe will ask the Shakespeares of today to pen their own letters to the forgotten women of the past, and write these women back into history (herstory).

Work with schools is immersive, inclusive and inspired by the Globe Theatre. The ever-popular Lively Action Workshops continue with almost 50,000 students from Key Stage 2 to A Level visiting the Globe already this year.

Next year’s Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production will be Macbeth. Opening in the Globe Theatre on February 26, this gripping, full-scale production is created especially for young people, with 20,000 free tickets available for state secondary schools in London and Birmingham. As well as supporting teachers and students at GCSE level, and those being introduced to Shakespeare at Key Stage 3, this year’s production of Macbeth will use Shakespeare’s most famous power couple to explore how people struggle with mental health in the world Shakespeare created and our own.

The Higher Education programme will include performances of The Winter’s Tale on the Globe stage presented by the Rutgers University Conservatory at Shakespeare’s Globe, directed by Nicole Charles (director of smash-hit Globe show Emilia). On November 12, the annual These are the Youths that Thunder in the Playhouse event celebrates two rising stars in Shakespeare studies.

Continuing the conversation from this summer’s successful Women & Power Festival, a day of discussion on December 12, Women & Power on the Early Modern Stage, will examine how writers grapple with representations of female leadership and the extent to which women in leadership – both now and in Shakespeare’s day – are forced to mask their sex. The King’s College London and the Globe’s unique collaboration continues to be the most popular Shakespeare MA in the country.

A special Read Not Dead performance of the recently rediscovered Restoration comedy, The Dutch Lady, will take place at Gray’s Inn on October 20, adhering to the usual Read Not Dead ground rules in which actors receive the play on Sunday morning and present it, script-in-hand, to an audience later in the afternoon.

The Globe’s Read Not Dead series will continue on November 17 with Jonson’s The Sad Shepherd, or, a Tale of Robin Hood, and Munday’s sequel to the Robin Hood story, The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon.

Community projects with the Borough of Southwark will continue with Southwark Youth Theatre, open to 11-14 year-olds who live and learn in Southwark; Our Theatre, a community and schools project which culminates in two final ensemble performances in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and A Concert for Winter, the Globe’s annual seasonal showcase performed by Southwark nurseries, schools and community groups.

Alongside family performances of Macbeth and Christmas at the (Snow) Globe, families can enjoy special tours of the Globe and the half term edition of the Globe’s family storytelling festival, Half Term Tales at the Globe, which returns in October. The week of performances, workshops and author events will explore all things magical, and the line-up includes the new Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, illustrator Chris Riddell, storyteller Kevin Graal and authors Sophie Anderson, Abi Elphinstone and Piers Torday.