Shakespeare’s Globe has announced its plans to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with an unprecedented multi-lingual Shakespeare project. For the first time ever in a single theatre season, all the plays of Shakespeare will be presented, each in a different language, each by a different company from around the world. Over the course of six weeks, beginning on Shakespeare’s birthday, 23 April 2012, the Globe will host a kaleidoscope of 38 international theatre companies, from some of the most respected to some of the newest, to present every one of Shakespeare’s 38 plays in a different language.
This project will be the most ambitious multilingual Shakespeare project ever attempted, building on a long tradition of international Shakespeare productions in London. It will also celebrate the vast array of ethnic communities and languages that make up London’s vibrant multi-cultural landscape.
Artistic Director, Dominic Dromgoole explains: “It has long been recognised that Shakespeare, as well as a great playwright, has become an international language, and has proved one of the most life-affirming and barrier transcending ways that people can speak to one another. His plays have been translated into every major living language and there is a long tradition of Shakespeare performances around the world in people’s own vernacular.
“As Shakespeare’s theatrical London home, we want to celebrate this international affection by welcoming Shakespeare enthusiasts – producers, performers and audiences – to experience his work in their own languages and dialects within this iconic theatre. During the course of these six weeks, the Globe will create an international Shakespeare community in the heart of London, as a prelude to the internationalism which will fill the capital later in the year with the Olympics”.
Within the season, Shakespeare’s Globe will stage one production, with the remaining 37 plays presented by theatre companies from around the world. Likely partnerships include:
– In Lithuanian, a production from one of the world’s greatest Shakespearean directors, Eimuntas Nekrošius;
– In Urdu, Pakistani TV star Nadia Jamil as Katherine in Taming of the Shrew;
– In Greek, a visit from the National Theatre of Greece with one of Shakespeare’s Mediterranean masterpieces;
– In Aboriginal languages for the first time, a co-production of King Lear from the Malthouse Theatre and Bell Shakespeare Company;
– In Maori, a new production of Troilus and Cressida starring Rawiri Paratene;
– In Shona, The Two Gentlemen of Verona presented by Zimbabwean actors Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyevu;
– In Turkish, a production from the immensely popular Istanbul theatre Oyun Atolyesi;
– In Spanish, the Madrid-based company Rakata, who specialise in work from the Spanish Golden Age, with a production of Henry VIII;
– In Mandarin, a history play from the National Theatre of China;
– In Portuguese, the return of the celebrated Grupo Galpão from Brazil;
– In Italian, Rome’s Cometa Off Theatre with a new production of Julius Caesar;
– In British Sign Language, a groundbreaking production of Love’s Labour’s Lost from Deafinitely Theatre;
– In Cantonese, visionary Hong Kong director Tang Shu Wing’s Titus Andronicus;
– In Arabic, a musical version of The Tempest from Sabab Theatre, based on the Persian Gulf’s sea shanty tradition.
Since Sir Peter Daubeny’s ‘World Theatre Season’ at the Aldwych Theatre in 1964, multilingual Shakespeare has become a popular feature of London’s theatrical landscape. The Globe has previously welcomed the Zulu Macbeth and staged the London premières of Grupo Galpão’s Brazilian Romeo and Juliet and Mansai Nomura’s Japanese Kyogen of Errors.
Shakespeare’s Globe project forms part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and celebrates international cultural collaboration. Shakespeare’s Globe – which celebrates its 15th birthday in 2012 – has established itself as an indelible part of the national and international theatre landscape and welcomes hundreds of thousands of people a year from around the world to its annual summer season, tours through the centre and a wide variety of educational projects.
This programme is funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor.
Release issued by: Shakespeare’s Globe press office