London's Shakespeare Globe Will Offer 37 Plays, Each Presented in a Different Language

By Mark Shenton
26 Sep 2011

Shakespeare's Globe in London has announced the full program for its Globe to Globe season in 2012 that will see all 37 Shakespeare plays presented, each in a different language, across the season that runs April 21-June 3, before the Globe's usual annual summer season commences with a new production of Henry V from June 8.



The plays will be presented in languages as various as IsiZulu and other South African languages, Maori, Russian, Swahili, Greek, Hindi, Mandarin, Korean, Italian, Juba Arabic, Cantonese, Palestinian Arabic, Bangla, Polish, Shona, Serbian, Albanian, Macedonian, Mexican Spanish, Argentine Spanish, Armenia, Belarusian, Georgian, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Gujarati, Yoruba, Urdu, Turkish, Hebrew, Castilian Spanish, Dari Persian, German, French, Lithuanian and English. There were also be productions in Hip Hop and British Sign Language.

Amongst the highlights, Chicago's Q Brothers, whose previous productions include The Bomb-itty of Errors and Funk It Up About Nothin' (a hip-hop, ad-RAP-tation of Much About Nothing) have both been in the U.K., will present their hip-hop production of Othello  May 5-6, which, according to press material, is an "urban take on Shakespeare's tragedy spun out, smashed out and lyrically rewritten over original beats."

A production of The Taming of the Shrew from Pakistan, performed in Urdu May 25-26, will star the Lahore screen and stage star Nadia Jamil as Katherine, and a production of Antony and Cleopatra from Istanbul in Turkey, performed in Turkish  May 26-27, will star Haluk Bilginer, one of Turkey's most prestigious actors, as Anthony. Bilginer is known in Britain from spending two years on the BBC series "EastEnders."

A production of Love's Labours Lost -- a play that artistic director Dominic Dromgoole quipped at the press conference was hard enough to understand in any language -- will be staged in British Sign Language (BSL) by Deafinitely Theatre, a London-based company who aim to build a bridge between Deaf and hearing worlds by performing to both groups as one audience. This is the first time this has been attempted with a full Shakespeare play.

The season will also host a Balkan Trilogy of the three Henry VI plays, featuring national theatres from Serbia, Albania and Macedonia, running May 11-13. The world's youngest company, South Sudan, which was finally recognized as an independent country earlier this spring, will present Cymbline in Juba Arabic May 2-3. The National Theatre of China will perform Richard III in Mandarin in their first-ever visit to the U.K. April 28-29. South Africa's Isango Ensemble, previously seen in London with productions of The Mysteries - Yiimimangaliso and The Magic Flute, both of which transferred to the West End, will present a stage adaptation of Shakespeare's poem Venus and Adonis, as part of the opening weekend of celebrations April 21-22.

According to a statement in publicity materials from artistic director Dominic Dromgoole, "We are bringing together artists from all over the globe, to enjoy speaking these plays in their own language, in our Globe, within the architecture Shakespeare wrote for. The artists will play the Globe way - telling stories through the word and the actor, complemented by costumes, music and dance -- and will complete each play within two-and-a-quarter hours (we hope)." There will be no surtitles used during the performances.

A range of discount offers are being provided for multi-buys, including an "Olympian" ticket offer for anyone who wants to see them all. A standing ticket for the entire series will cost £100.

To book tickets and for full details on the entire season, contact the box office on 020 7401 9919, or visit www.shakepsearesglobe.com for more details.