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

Early casting for the season promises a continuation of the Globe’s ability to spot rising stars with Joshua McGuire as Hamlet, which will be directed by Dominic Dromgoole. Joshua appeared in Posh at the Royal Court in 2010, and 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, 23 April, before travelling all over 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 with Olivier Award-winning actress Janie Dee as the Countess of Roussillon. Janie’s stage work includes A Month in the Country (Chichester Festival) and Comic Potential (Lyric Theatre / Scarborough / Manhattan Theatre Club) for which she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress. John Dove’s previous work for Shakespeare’s Globe includes Anne Boleyn and In Extremis.

This production will be followed by Shakespeare’s brightest and wittiest of comedies, 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. The Globe welcomes another recipient of the Olivier Award for Best Actress, Eve Best, to the role of Beatrice. Eve’s 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. Completing Shakespeare’s wittiest, most endearing pair of lovers, is Charles Edwards as Benedict. Charles recently appeared as Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rose, Kingston) and he originated the role of Hannay in 39 Steps (Tricycle, Criterion and Broadway).

‘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, who has previously directed The Frontline and Troilus and Cressida at the Globe, Paul Hilton takes the role of Doctor Faustus. Paul’s previous work includes Rosmersholm (Almeida) and In Celebration alongside Orlando Bloom (Duke of York’s).

In August, the Globe will celebrate the British medieval tradition of the Mystery plays, with a new version by poet and playwright Tony Harrison, directed by Deborah Bruce. Following his acclaimed adaptation of The Mysteries at the National Theatre in 1985, Tony will revisit the Mystery Cycles for the unique performance space of the Globe, celebrating the spirit of street theatre and processional performance. Deborah previously worked at the Globe in 2009, directing Frank McGuinness’s adaptation of Helen by Euripides.

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, 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, directed by Raz Shaw – a wild satire on modern living, set in contemporary, suburban England. Chris Hannan’s previous work includes the award-winning The Evil Doers (Bush Theatre), Shining Souls (Old Vic) and Gamblers (Tricycle Theatre). Raz Shaw directed the Globe’s popular touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2009 and 2010. This bracingly modern play continues the Globe’s commitment to new writing, which draws bigger audience’s year-on-year.

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.

Public booking for the theatre season opens on 14 February 2011.

Release issued by: Shakespeare’s Globe press office

LINKS

Shakespeare’s Globe website