Why artistic director Emma Rice is departing The Globe
Since Shakespeare’s Globe first opened its doors on the South Bank in 1997–nearly 400 years after the original theatre that bore its name and where many of Shakespeare’s plays were premiered—it has become a major success in the London theatrical landscape. The theatre regularly plays to audiences at over 90% capacity at its home theatre, as well as at other venues and on international touring productions.
Following the tenures of first artistic director Mark Rylance—who is expected to reprise his Globe performance in Farinelli and the King on Broadway later this year—and second artistic director Dominic Dromgoole, third artistic director Emma Rice (Broadway’s Brief Encounter) has had a comparatively much shorter run. On April 27 she launches her second and final season at the helm with a new production of Romeo and Juliet, helmed by Daniel Kramer.
Rice set out the reasons for her departure in an open letter on the theatre’s website, along with a warning to whoever takes over her post. Her replacement is yet to be announced.
“I chose to leave because, as important and beloved as the Globe is to me, the Board did not love and respect me back,” Rice wrote. “It did not understand what I saw, what I felt and what I created with my actors, creative teams and the audience. They began to talk of a new set of rules that I did not sign up to and could not stand by. Nothing is worth giving away my artistic freedom for, it has been too hard fought for.”
Dromgoole also warned of problems that the next artistic director might confront in the letter: “There are structural problems, there are personality problems, there is too much fighting for territory, and there are too many who feel free to comment on work without ever taking the risk of making it. It is absurd that out of the mess of last year, the only person to be suffering the consequences is Emma.”
Production and casting news
The London production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will release a new batch of tickets for a booking period from May to July 2018. They will go on sale April 25 at 11 AM British Summer Time (6 AM ET).
The inaugural season of the Bridge Theatre, a brand-new purpose-built theatre on the South Bank near Tower Bridge and run by the National’s former artistic director Nicholas Hytner and his former executive director Nick Starr, will open with Young Marx. The new play by Richard Bean (One Man Two Guvnors) and Clive Coleman, will star Rory Kinnear in the title role, beginning October 18. A promenade production of Julius Caesar, starring Ben Whishaw as Brutus, is set to follow in January. Future productions will also include new plays by Barney Norris, Nina Raine, Lucinda Coxon, and Sam Holcroft.
British TV comic Ross Noble is set to play Igor, and Hadley Fraser will play the title role in the U.K. premiere of Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein, which will begin performances at the West End’s Garrick Theatre September 28 following an out-of-town run at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal.
Veteran actor Miriam Margolyes is to star in the title role of Madame Rubinstein, a new play about the rivalry between Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, to be played by Frances Barber. The production, which shares the same premise as the new Broadway musical War Paint, will begin at London’s Park Theatre April 26.
Bertie Carvel (Broadway’s Matilda The Musical) is to play media mogul Rupert Murdoch in the world premiere of James Graham’s Ink at the Almeida from June 17. The play revolves around Murdoch’s launch of The Sun newspaper, which is now the U.K.’s leading tabloid title.
All the President’s Men?, a new verbatim theatre piece drawn from transcripts of the U.S. Senate’s confirmation hearings for Trump’s Cabinet, is to receive a one-off performance at the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre April 24, and will subsequently be staged at New York’s Town Hall May 11. Casting in London includes Siân Phillips, Sinéad Cusack, Peter Davison, Allan Corduner, Phil Davis, Matthew Marsh, and David Calder.
The Toxic Avenger The Musical, Joe DiPietro and David Bryan’s stage musical version of the 1984 film, will see its 2016 London premiere production transfer to the West End’s Arts Theatre from September 28 following a run at this year’s Edinburgh Festival. The show originally premiered at New World Stages in New York 2009.
A new touring production of Death of a Salesman will go ahead despite the death of its star Tim Pigott-Smith, who was a Tony nominee for Broadway’s King Charles III, just days ahead of the scheduled opening. Nicholas Woodeson has taken over the role of Willy Loman in the production that will now begin performances in Cambridge May 4.
For further news…
Stay tuned to Playbill.com and follow me on Twitter @shentonstage, for rolling news updates as they happen.