Shakespeare’s Globe has been preparing a raft of new digital content to continue to engage its audiences with Shakespeare’s works.
Shakespeare & Love in Isolation will see artists, in times of solitude and from their place of sanctuary, sharing some of the greatest words ever written. The series will be released as soon as possible, and artists involved include the creative team behind Christmas at the (Snow) Globe, Sandi Toksvig and Jenifer Toksvig, and award-winning actress and director Kathryn Hunter.
The video-on-demand platform Globe Player will host free content including six filmed productions, 37 short films from ‘The Complete Walk’, and titles in a multitude of languages from the 2012 Globe to Globe festival. The podcast ‘Such Stuff’ will broadcast with brand new features, including Michelle Terry and Paul Ready’s Shakespeare Diaries, in which the two actors discuss some of their favourite plays and why art, theatre and Shakespeare remain important in times of global crisis.
While a physical gathering may not be possible, after 27 years of its success, the organisation is still endeavouring to find a way to host the beloved ‘Shakespeare Walks’ with Mark Rylance in celebration of Shakespeare’s Birthday on 23 April.
The Globe is a registered charity receiving no public subsidy and has asked ticket bookers of cancelled performances to donate the cost of their ticket to help the theatre survive the most challenging of times. Over one third of bookers have already chosen to donate, and the organisation will launch a Gift Voucher this week, allowing people to support the organisation and to give the gift of the Globe valid for future purposes even when the doors are closed.
As previously announced, Shakespeare’s Globe is closed to the public until further notice, ceasing performances, education activities and tours. The organisation hopes to open again in early July, if it is safe to do so.
Michelle Terry, artistic director, said: “ ‘One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.’ Nature has certainly touched all of our lives in recent months. Whilst everything seems so uncertain, one thing we know for sure is that the world will never be the same again. In 1599, when Hamlet stood on a “distracted Globe” and uttered the words ‘Now I am alone’ he would have been surrounded by up to 3,000 people.
“Now we are alone, but we are also in the company of billions, from all around the globe, finding the most inspiring ways to be alone, together. In these times of isolation, we will continue to reach people on our ‘distracted Globe’, providing community, joy, and wonder, remaining, albeit digitally for now, a place of connection for us all.”
From 6 April, six Shakespeare’s Globe productions will be available to watch for free on the theatre’s video-on-demand service, Globe Player. The free films will rotate every two weeks, one at a time, including: Hamlet (2018), Romeo & Juliet (2009), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013), The Winter’s Tale (2018), The Two Noble Kinsmen (2018) and The Merry Wives of Windsor (2019).
The Globe Player will also host all 37 ‘Complete Walk’ short films for free. These films celebrated the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, with an all-star cast in 10-minute short films shot on location in the real setting of each plot. Also hosted for free will be all 34 Globe to Globe titles. These were filmed throughout the Globe to Globe festival of 2012, bringing together artists from all over the world, to enjoy speaking these plays in their own language on the Globe stage.
In line with the dedication to Access shown in live performance, all Globe Player productions are captioned. The podcast ‘Such Stuff’ will also be accessible to visually impaired people, and all episodes are transcribed.
For students studying Shakespeare at home, the Globe’s Learning team has developed a wealth of activities, including ‘Teach Shakespeare’, helping to support parents who are home-schooling. Other activities online such as ‘The Globe Playground’ are suitable for younger children, and ‘Staging It!’ for budding directors, allows users to direct scenes online.
As universities have taken their teaching online, the Globe’s Higher Education and Research team are creating and providing online content in the form of lectures, workshops and resources to support students learning at home.