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Tuesday, 27 September 2011 07:53

LONDON: Globe Theatre to Present 37 International Companies Performing 37 Shakespeare Plays in Different Languages

The Globe Theatre

Shakespeare’s Globe announces full programme for Globe to Globe

 For the first time, 37 international companies present all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 37 different languages 

  •   An athletic ticket pricing scheme including the chance to see all shows for just £100
  •  A kaleidoscopic six weeks of shows starting on Shakespeare’s birthday April 23rd
  •  An opening weekend of celebrations including: an adaptation of Venus and Adonis by the Isango Ensemble from South Africa, a public open day at the Globe to celebrate Shakespeare and the worlds’ languages, and Ngākau Toa’s Troilus and Cressida beginning the festival with a haka.

{module ad_london_hotels}Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Dominic Dromgoole today announced full details of the programme for the eagerly anticipated Globe to Globe season.

In an extraordinary array of productions, full details of which are enclosed in this pack or on request, Globe to Globe highlights include:

From the world’s youngest country, South Sudan,a specially formed theatre company will present their take on Cymbeline. After 50 years of civil war, in the spring of this year South Sudan was finally recognised as an independent country. Out of the horrific troubles suffered by this country’s people, the first signs of hope for the future are springing and this production marks an historic step for the country’s future.

A new Balkan Trilogy – Henry VI. The three electrifying Henry VI plays about England’s first great civil war are presented as an epic and sweeping Balkan trilogy, featuring national theatres from Serbia, Albania and Macedonia.

For the first time ever a Shakespeare play will be performed in its entirety in British Sign Language. Deafinitely Theatre from London will translate the pun-riddled comedic text of Love’s Labour’s Lostinto British Sign Language.

/Continued overleaf...
From Lithuania comes one of the greatest productions of Hamlet in modern times. Legendary director Eimuntas Nekrošius brings his seminal version to London for the first time.

The Merchant of Venice will be presented by Israeli National Theatre company Habima in Hebrew in their first ever visit to the United Kingdom.

Featuring the haka, waiata and many other aspects of Maori culture, a production of Troilus and Cressida from New Zealand has been put together by Rawiri Paratene, star of Whale Rider.

In another first, the National Theatre of China will perform Shakespeare’s horror show of power and paranoia, Richard III. The company has not visited the UK before and its trailblazing productions represent the new face of Chinese theatre.

The Isango Ensemble from South Africa are well known to UK audiences following their acclaimed productions The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso and The Magic Flute, will perform a stage adaptation of Venus and Adonis as part of an opening weekend of celebrations.

The world’s bravest theatre company Belarus Free Theatre will present King Lear. The company has attracted worldwide support for its work which it does in spite of the threat of state persecution.

From Ramallah in Palestine comes the Ashtar Theatre. Renowned for its direct storytelling style this remarkable theatre company will present its interpretation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece of dislocation, Richard II.

And from Afghanistan comes an extraordinary theatre company whose work is a living triumph against adversity. Roy-e-Sabs will leave Kabul for the first time, to bring a production of The Comedy of Errorsto Shakespeare’s Globe. This company’s determination to perform and rehearse is a genuinely audacious stand against the strictures of life in Afghanistan.

Tickets start at just £5, and a series of multibuy schemes are in place, including the Yard Olympian which will allow you to see all 38 productions for just £100. Full details can be found at the end of this pack.

The World Shakespeare Festival and Globe to Globe is funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor.



About Shakespeare’s Globe

Founded by the pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare’s Globe is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare’s work and the playhouse for which he wrote, through the connected means of performance and education. Together, the Globe Theatre, Globe Exhibition and Tour and Globe Education seek to further the experience and international understanding of Shakespeare in performance.

The Shakespeare Globe Trust is a registered charity No.266916. Shakespeare’s Globe receives no ongoing public subsidy

The World Shakespeare Festival is a celebration of Shakespeare as the world’s playwright, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, in an unprecedented collaboration with leading UK and international arts organisations, and with Globe to Globe, a major international programme produced by Shakespeare’s Globe.  It runs from 23 April to November 2012 and forms part of London 2012 Festival, which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, bringing leading artists from all over the world together in a UK-wide festival in the summer of 2012.  

The World Shakespeare Festival and Globe to Globe is funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor.

About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements.  Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, bringing leading artists from all over the world together from 21 June 2012 in this UK-wide festival – a chance for everyone to celebrate London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation. 

Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery DistributorBP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.

For more details visit 

This pack is available electronically on request and images can be downloaded from



Isango Ensemble presents 

Venus & Adonis

From Cape Town, South Africa

Performed in IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, SeSotho, Setswana, Afrikaans, South African English

Saturday 21 April 2.30pm & 7.30pm

Sunday 22 April 6.30pm

The unique and much-loved Isango Ensemble from Cape Town kick proceedings off with a carnival interpretation of this great narrative poem. Isango have already enchanted audiences in the West End with their reimagining of The MysteriesYiimimangaliso and The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo. They will bring the same modern African sensibility, brimming over with song and dance, to Shakespeare’s great story of seduction and loss of innocence.

Isango Ensemble is an internationally renowned South African theatre company that draws its artists from the townships around Cape Town. Its stage productions and films have played to sold out audiences across the world, and it has received numerous international awards. Isango’s productions re-imagine classics from the Western theatre canon, finding a new context for the stories within a South African or Township setting, thereby creating inventive work relevant to the heritage of the nation.

The Company’s structure embraces artists at all stages of their creative development, allowing senior artists to lead and contribute towards the growth of rising talents. We are committed to creating theatre that is accessible to all South Africans and to contributing to a more united South African nation.

Isango’s award winning film u-Carmen eKhayelitsha and our second film Son of Man were filmed on a location in Khayelitsha and propelled this historically disadvantaged township into the international spotlight.

According to 2001 census data, there were almost four million first language Sotho speakers recorded in South Africa — approximately eight per cent of the population. Sotho is also the main language spoken by the people of Lesotho, where, according to 1993 data, it was spoken by about 1,493,000 people, or 85% of the population.  Sotho is one of the eleven official languages of South Africa, and one of the two official languages of Lesotho.

Zulu is the language of the Zulu people with about 10 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa (24% of the population) as well as being understood by over 50% of the population (Ethnologue 2005). It became one of South Africa's eleven official languages in 1994.

Xhosa is one of the official languages of South Africa. Xhosa is spoken by approximately 7.9 million people, or about 18% of the South African population. Like most Bantu languages, Xhosa is a tonal language, that is, the same sequence of consonants and vowels can have different meanings when said with a rising or falling or high or low intonation. One of the most distinctive features of the language is the prominence of click consonants; the word "Xhosa" begins with a click.

Tswana or Setswana is a language spoken in Southern Africa by about 4.5 million people.   Tswana is an official language and lingua franca of Botswana spoken by almost 1.1 million of its inhabitants. However, the majority of Tswana speakers are found in South Africa where 3.4 million people speak the language.

Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa and Namibia. It is a daughter language of Dutch originating in its 17th century dialects collectively referred to as Cape Dutch.

The term South African English is applied to the first-language dialects of English spoken by South Africans.


Ngākau Toa presents

Troilus and Cressida

From Auckland, Aotearoa (New Zealand) 

Performed in Māori 

Monday 23rd April 7.30pm
Tuesday 24th April 7.30pm

Star of the film Whale Rider,Rawiri Paratene will play Pandarus in this unique Maori translation of Troilus and Cressida. 

Supported by a 14-strong ensemble cast of the best Māori actors, and featuring a haka (warrior dance) and waiata (song) created especially for the production by some of New Zealand’s leading choreographers and composers, this production marks Ngākau Toa’s debut performance in the UK. Shakespeare’s text will be performed in a sparkling new translation by Te Haumiata Mason.

Troilus and Cressida will tour in Aotearoa prior to its run at Shakespeare’s Globe; it will travel to the UK straight from the company’s home in Auckland, and will be a highlight of the 2012 International Arts Festival in the capital, Wellington.

The first Māori actor to perform in the summer season at Shakespeare’s Globe, as Friar Lawrence in the 2009 production of Romeo and Juliet, Rawiri Paratene will return to the theatre to take the part of Pandarus.  He will also co-produce.  Perhaps best known for his role as Koro (the Grandfather) in Whale Rider, Paratene has enjoyed a varied career as an actor, writer, director and producer in theatre, television, radio and film. 

Māori is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori and has the status of an official language in New Zealand.  Whilst only a minority of self-professed speakers use Māori as their main language in the home, Māori is still a community language in some predominantly-Māori settlements in the Northland, Urewera and East Cape areas. 

Urbanisation after the Second World War led to widespread language shift from Māori predominance (with Māori the primary language of the rural whānau) to English predominance (English serving as the primary language in the Pākehā cities). Therefore Māori-speakers almost always communicate bilingually, with New Zealand English as either their first or second language.

The percentage prevalence of the Māori language in the Māori diaspora is far lower than in New Zealand. Census data from Australia show it as the home language of 5,504 people in 2001, or 7.5% of the Māori community in Australia. This represents an increase of 32.5% since 1996.


Vakhtangov Theatre presents

Measure for Measure

From Moscow, Russia

Performed in Russian

Tuesday 24 April 2.30pm
Wednesday 25 April 7.30pm

The Vakhtangov Theatre, on the Arbat, is at the heart of Moscow both geographically and theatrically. From humble beginnings in 1913, this company, which began in basements and front rooms, grew to inhabit one of Moscow’s most beautiful theatres. Always following the twin influences of Meyerhold and Stanislavsky, of spectacle and psychological truth, it has created many of Russia’s most respected productions. This is their first visit to the UK.

Yevgeny Bagrationovich Vakhtangov was born to Armenian-Russian parents from Ossetia. He was educated at Moscow State University for a short time and then joined the Moscow Art Theatre in 1911. He rose through the ranks, so that by 1920 he was in charge of his own theatre studio. Four years after his death, the studio was named the Vakhtangov Theatre in his honour.

Vakhtangov was greatly influenced both by the theatrical experiments of Vsevolod Meyerhold and the more psychological techniques of his teacher, Konstantin Stanilavsky   His productions incorporated masks, music, dance, abstract costume, avant-garde sets as well as a detailed analysis of the texts of plays and the psychological motivations of its characters. His most notable production was Turandot by Carlo Gozzi, which has played at the Vakhtangov Theatre ever since 1922 (the year of his death). Another famous production directed by Vakhtangov in the same year was S. Ansky's The Dybbuk with the Habima theatre troupe, who feature alongside the Vakhtangov at Globe to Globe.

Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics of the USSR.

Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of three living members of the East Slavic languages. Written examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century onwards.

It is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. It is also the largest native language in Europe, with 160 million native speakers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Russian is the 8th most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers and the 4th by total number of speakers. The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

The 2001 UK Census recorded 15,160 Russian-born residents.Estimates published by the Office for National Statistics suggest that the resident Russian-born population of the UK was 32,000 in 2009. The supposed population surge led to jocular nicknames for London such as "Londongrad" and "Moscow-on-Thames".


Bitter Pill Productions presents 

The Merry Wives of Windsor

From Nairobi, Kenya 

Performed in Swahili 

Wednesday 25 April 2.30pm

Thursday 26 April 7.30pm

An exuberant, urban and African take on Shakespeare’s comedy of failed courtship, Bitter Pill bring their version of The Merry Wives of Windsor from Nairobi to London. Full of laughter and fun, this production, celebrating the wit and independence of rural African women, first played at the Harare International Festival of Arts in Zimbabwe, before travelling north to engage with the sun-soaked joys of the Swahili language.

Bitter Pill is an award-winning theatre company working across Europe and Africa. The company is interested in making work that opens a window to a wider world. Projects in 2011 range from this production in Swahili on tour in the UK, to a new play based on real Zimbabwean stories which is touring across sub-Saharan Africa (Harare, Joburg, Windhoek and Gaberone).

Artistic Director Sarah Norman was born in Zimbabwe, where she was a founding member of the country’s first multi-racial theatre company, which has toured widely internationally. In the UK she has assisted directors including Chris Luscombe, Lyndsey Posner, Ian Talbot and Edward Kemp. Her directing work includes Mamet’s Duck Variations, the UK premiere of Wole Soyinka’s King Baabu, Alvaro Menen Desleal’s Black Light, 13 Grape Street, The Interview andShaw’s O’Flaherty VC and The Geometry of Love.

Swahili or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Indian Ocean coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoros Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Mauritius, Oman, the Seychelles and Somalia. Although only five million people speak Swahili as their native language, the total number of speakers exceeds 100 million. It serves as a national, or official language, of four nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Within much of East Africa, it is often used as a lingua franca.

 There are approximately 120,000 Kenyans living in the United Kingdom. 


National Theatre of Greece presents

From Athens, Greece

Performed in Greek

Thursday 26 April 2.30pm
Friday 27 April 7.30pm

The National Theatre of Greece are no strangers to London: Dimitris Rondiris’ productions of Hamlet and Electra played at His Majesty’s Theatre in 1939, and the company featured in the World Theatre Seasons at the Aldwych Theatre in the 1960s. Like Pericles, they have finally returned – with twelve of Greece’s leading actors, to tell this story of wild wanderings around the Mediterranean basin, and their redemptive conclusion.

The National Theatre of Greece was founded in 1880 with a grant from King George I and Efstratios Rallis to give theatre a permanent home in Athens. The building itself was designed by Ernst Ziller, and it was completed in the late 1890s, and in 1900 Angelos Vlachos was appointed as the Director.

The theatre began to expand its operations and in 1901 a drama school opened. The same year, the theatre opened its doors to the public with a monologue from Dimitris Verardakis' play Maria Dozapatri and two Greek one-act comedies: Dimitris Koromilas' The Death of Pericles and Charalambos Anninos' Servant Required. Following the first performance the theatre began to expand in popularity among Greece's upper and upper middle classes, and staged more productions.

One of the most famous productions of the period was Aeschylus' Oresteia, staged in a prose translation by Yorgos Sotiriadis. The production sparked a long linguistic conflict, between the adherents of katharevousa and the modern Demotic Greek. Students from the University of Athens' School of Philosophy, incited by their classicist professor, Yorgos Mistriotis, marched down Agiou Konstantinou Street in an attempt to halt the performance. The episodes that followed, known as the Oresteiaka, resulted in one death and ten injuries on November 8, 1903.

Yannis Houvardas was appointed Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Greece in 2007. A graduate of RADA, he took an apprenticeship at the Wurtemburg State Theatre, and worked variously as an actor and director. He was the founding Artistic Director of Notos Theatre Company, a company dedicated to producing new work and pursuing international theatrical collaborations. He has worked at many national and state theatres in Greece and abroad, directing more than 80 plays by – among others –  Euripides, Sophocles, Herodas, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Tirso de Molina, Webster, Fernando de Rojas, Moliere, Racine, Kleist, Goethe, Lessing, Strindberg, Ibsen, Chekhov, Horvat, Wedekind, Brecht, Genet, Williams, Zola, Sternheim, Kawabata, Coward and Fosse. These productions were staged at theatres such as the National Theatre of Greece, the State Theatre of Northern Greece, the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Sweden, the National Theatre of Norway, the Norwegian Theatre of Oslo, the State Theatre of Trondheim (Norway), the Municipal Theatre of Stockholm, the State Theatre of Wiesbaden, the Lilla Teatern (Helsinki), and the Tribune Theatre (Stuttgart).

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. The Greek language holds an important place in the histories of Europe, the more loosely defined "Western" world, and Christianity; the canon of ancient Greek literature includes works of monumental importance and influence for the future Western canon, such as the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey. Greek was also the language in which many of the foundational texts of Western philosophy, such as the Platonic dialogues and the works of Aristotle, were composed; The New Testament of the Christian Bible was written in Koiné Greek and the liturgy continues to be celebrated in the language in various Christian denominations (particularly the Eastern Orthodox and the Greek Rite of the Catholic Church).

Greek was a widely spoken lingua franca in the Mediterranean world and beyond during Classical Antiquity, and would eventually become the official parlance of the Byzantine Empire. In its modern form, it is the official language of Greece and Cyprus and one of the 23 official languages of the European Union. The language is spoken by at least 13 million people today in Greece, Cyprus, and diaspora communities in numerous parts of the world.

In 2010, the UK Office for National Statistics estimated the Greek-born population of the UK to be roughly 30,000.

The Company Theatre presents

Twelfth Night

From Mumbai, India

Performed in Hindi

Friday 27 April 2.30pm
Saturday 28 April 7.30pm

Fresh from performing their radical Hamlet: The Clown Prince at the Hackney Empire, the Company Theatre return to London with a new interpretation of Twelfth Night for the Globe. Atul Kumar, their artistic director, is trained in the traditional Indian dance and martial art forms of Kathakali and Kalerippayattu, and is delighted to return to the UK with his vibrant version of this comic classic.  Following its run at the Globe, Twelfth Nightwill tour throughout India.

The Company Theatre, regulars at Mumbai’s prestigious receiving house the Prithvi, is eighteen years old. The group has won the respect and admiration of the artistic community in India as well as in other parts of the world. They have always encouraged inter-cultural exchanges and supported any initiative that explores new forms of artistic expression. Conscious of the need to be accessible to other cultures as well as gain access to them, the group has decided to direct its efforts towards an ambitious plan - that of founding "WORKSPACE"- an International Residency for Theatre Research and Performance. The Company Theatre is determined to put this Centre on the international map, thanks to the long years of association with artists’ organizations all over the world. Workspace will encourage artists to come together in residency to discover & help create a better understanding of the various trends, practices and implementation of performance.

With 25 years of experience in the theatre as an actor and director, Atul Kumar is Artistic Director of the Company Theatre. Atul has performed more than 50 plays in different languages and forms in India and abroad. Apart from a prolific theatrical career, Atul has worked with other media forms featuring in films, television series, music videos and commercials.

Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, is a standardised and sanskritised register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi (and the surrounding western Uttar Pradesh and southern Uttarakhand region). The primary official language of the Republic of India, it is one of the 22 official languages of India. The spoken Hindi dialects form an extensive dialect continuum of the Indic language family, bounded on the northwest and west by Punjabi, Sindhi, Gujarati and Marathi; on the southeast by Oriya; on the east by Maithili and Bengali; and on the north by Nepali.

National Theatre of China presents

Richard III

From Beijing, China

Performed in Mandarin

Saturday 28 April 2.30pm
Sunday 29 April 1.30pm & 6.30pm

This production will mark the National Theatre of China’s first visit to the UK. The company, which stages work in three different performance spaces in Beijing, works with the finest playwrights and directors in China. Their trailblazing productions show the new face of 21st-century Chinese theatre. . This production of Shakespeare’s horror-show of power and paranoia will be directed by the National’s Associate Director, Wang Xiaoying.

The National Theatre of China (NTC) is the largest state-level performing art organization of the People’s Republic of China. It was founded when the former China National Youth Theatre and China National Experimental Theatre were combined. Home to a wealth of talents across the performing arts, NTC offers a platform where tradition meets modernity and state-of-the-art performance is pursued to produce theatrical masterpieces. The company brings together talented artists from around China. Thanks to these artists’ contributions, the NTC has won numerous prizes for performance and will perform at the Melbourne Festival in October 2011.

Wang Xiaoying is the Vice President of National Theatre of China. After graduating in Directing Department of the Central Academy of Drama in 1984, Mr. Wang continued his studies and became the first person to receive a Doctorate of Directing in China under the guidance of Professor Xu Xiaozhong in 1995.

Wang Xiaoying has produced many acclaimed works in recent years, including The Salem Witch, Copenhagen, Jane Eyre, 1977, The Man in Wasteland, Xiang Yu, Blind City, Death and the Maiden, and Great Magic. Mr. Wang also has directed plays on Broadway, in Hong Kong, and Macao, such as The Unnamed Flue and The Garden Outside.

In Chinese linguistics, Mandarin refers to a group of related Chinese dialects spoken across most of northern and south western China. Because most Mandarin dialects are found in the north, the group is also referred to as the northern dialect(s). A north  eastern-dialect speaker and a south western-dialect speaker can hardly communicate except through the standard language, mainly because of the differences in tone. Nonetheless, the variation within Mandarin does not compare with the much greater variation found within several other varieties of Chinese, and this is thought to be due to a relatively recent spread of Mandarin across China, combined with a greater ease of travel and communication compared to the more mountainous south of China.

When the Mandarin group is taken as one language, as is often done in academic literature, it has more native speakers (nearly a billion) than does any other language. For most of Chinese history, the capital has been within the Mandarin area, making these dialects very influential. Mandarin dialects, particularly the Beijing dialect, form the basis of Standard Chinese, which is also known as "Mandarin".

In the 2001 Census, 247,403 people in the UK listed their ethnicity as Chinese, accounting for 0.4 percent of the total population. The Chinese community is the fastest growing ethnic group in the UK, with 9.9 percent annual growth between 2001 and 2007. More than 90 percent of this growth was contributed by net migration.  

Yohangza Theatre Company presents

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

From Seoul, South Korea

Performed in Korean

Monday 30 April 7.30pm
Tuesday 1 May 7.30pm

Yohangza means “voyager”, and this groundbreaking company has travelled all over the world since its inception in 1997.Their performance combines music, mime, song and dance to create an exhilarating adaptation of Shakespeare’s inventive and glittering comedy. Focusing on the story of the four mortal lovers and spirits of the east Asian forest, Shakespeare’s characters burst onto the stage with a fresh, eastern vibrancy.

Yohangza Theatre Company’s style is an exciting collision of the past and the present: a reworking of existing Korean styles and themes infused with contemporary elements and driven by a thirst for experimentation. The result is a compelling mix of energetic dance, voice and percussion interwoven with Korean folklore, mythology and history. The production is a sensory and aesthetic journey that draws the audience toward both past and future while staying strongly connected to Korea's identity and sprit.

Yohangza have been invited to various Shakespeare festivals and world art centres in Australia, Cuba, Germany, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei and the UK. Their performances have struck a chord with both Korean and international audiences, Recently Yang Jung-Ung won the South Korean Best Production of the Year Award 2009, South Korea's Best Young Playwright of the Year Award, and Yohangza was named Best Production at the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival, Poland, 2006, and at the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre in September, 2003. In 2006, the company was the first Korean group to perform at the Barbican in London.

 Artistic Director Jung-Ung Yang founded the Yohangza Theatre Company in 1997. He has been awarded numerous awards in his native Korea and is one of the most influential directors working in the country today.

 Korean is the official language of Korea, both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing system was commissioned by Sejong the Great, the system being currently called Hangul. Prior to the development of Hangul, Koreans had used Hanja and phonetic systems like Hyangchal, Gugyeol and Idu extensively for over a millennium.

I Termini Company presents

Julius Caesar

A Benvenuti / Lungta production in collaboration with Teatro di Roma

From Rome, Italy

Performed in Italian

Tuesday 1 May 2.30pm
Wednesday 2 May 7.30pm

In a sparse new translation by prizewinning playwright Vincenzo Manna, Andrea Barraco's Julius Caesar is set in a dreamlike yet contemporary Rome. The production opened in the ancient, haunting theatre in Gualtieri in the north of Italy, transferring in spring 2011 to the prestigious Teatro di Roma.

The company was born in 2002 out of the meeting between the director Andrea Baracco and the actor Giandomenico Cupaiuolo at the Accademia Nazionale di Arte Drammatica Silvio D'Amico (National Academy of Dramatic Arts Silvio D’Amico). Over the past nine years, the company has worked with actors, artists and authors from some of the most interesting groups of the new Italian theatrical scene. It is renowned for the way in which it combines the research of theatrical and new language without ignoring the great and essential work of the Italian masters.

The company has performed plays by Pirandello, Pinter, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Durrenmatt as well as other contemporary Italian and English language writers.

Artistic Director, Andrea Baracco studied literature and theatre history at La Sapienza University in Rome. He also took a diploma as theatre director at Accademia Nazionale di Arte Drammatica Silvio D’Amico.

He is currently professor in Direction at La Sapienza University in Rome. His work as a director has included: L’uomo, La Bestia e La Virtù by Luigi Pirandello; Tunnel from F.  by Dürrenmatt; Filottete by Sophocles; Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare and Elisa Cruz by Vincenzo Manna.

Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia.

According to the statistics of the European Union, Italian is spoken as a mother tongue by 65 million people in the EU (13% of the EU population), mainly in Italy, and as a second language by 14 million (3%). Including the Italian speakers in non-EU European countries (such as Switzerland and Albania) and on other continents, the total number of speakers is more than 85 million.

There are over 200,000 Italian speakers living in the UK. 


The South Sudan Theatre Company presents


From Juba, South Sudan

Performed in Juba Arabic

Wednesday 2 May 2.30pm
Thursday 3 May 7.30pm

The specially-formed South Sudan Theatre Company, from the world’s newest country, will perform a Shakespeare play for the first time ever in Juba Arabic.

“I used to lie in the bush under the stars reading Shakespeare’s plays, not thinking about the killing that would take place in the morning” - Presidential Advisor for Culture, Government of South Sudan.

In April 2011, after more than 50 years of violent struggle, the Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest country. In May 2012 that country will participate in its first major international cultural event. The performance will represent an historical moment in the fledgling history of the southern Sudanese nation.

Cymbeline offers a rich framework into which Sudanese culture and characterisation can be incorporated. In addition to questions of politics and the military, the play offers the opportunity to mix South Sudan’s strong tradition of magic, prophets and soothsayers, class and caste and even child abduction. Questions of sexual morality are at the top of the social agenda in South Sudan and will provide a rich ground for an innovative adaptation of the play. Ultimately Cymbeline’s story of hope and redemption provides a strong metaphor for South Sudan’s own story.

The South Sudan Theatre Company has been newly established to stage the production and key theatrical figures from Sudan have agreed to take part in the venture. The patron of the project will be Taban Lo Liyong, who is often described as one of Africa’s greatest poets. He has studied and worked around the world and is renowned not only as an important poet, critic, novelist and short story writer but also for his extravagant personality. The production will be directed by Joseph Abuk, an acclaimed director and theatrical activist born in South Sudan in 1947.

Shakespeare’s plays have served various functions in Africa, perhaps most importantly they have been megaphones for political aspirations and camouflage for political dissent. In addition to Western theatre practices, the South Sudan Theatre Company will draw on numerous, sometimes competing influences from across the region, not just Sudan.

Juba Arabic is widely spoken across South Sudan and in the diaspora. It developed in the 19th century as a pidgin spoken among Southern Sudanese forcibly conscripted into the Sudanese army and was recognised by some scholars as a distinct creole in the 1970s.

A 2006 estimate from the International Organisation for Migration suggests that between 10,000 and 25,000 Sudanese are living in London, and up to another 25,000 elsewhere in the UK.


Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio presents

Titus Andronicus

From Hong Kong

Performed in Cantonese

Thursday 3 May 2.30pm
Friday 4 May 7.30pm

The hybrid culture of Hong Kong informs this production of Shakespeare’s grizzliest play from the eminent Hong Kong director’s outstanding and groundbreaking troupe. Described as the ‘alchemist of minimalist theatre’, Tang Shu-wing works with simple staging, the voice and movement, to release the energies of classic texts. His ensemble have toured to Singapore and the US, and Globe to Globe is their first visit to the UK.

Considered the most harrowing and controversial of Shakespeare’s plays, Titus Andronicus is one of the all-time great revenge stories. This production had its world premiere in Cantonese in Hong Kong in early 2008, and was followed by a story-telling version, Titus Andronicus 2.0, in 2009. Both versions sought to explore extreme acting techniques in a minimalist setting under director, Tang Shu-wing. The text of the play is delivered through the voice, facial expression, movements, breathing, spatial displacement and immobility to create a singular aesthetic somewhere between Western realism and Asian stylisation.

Strongly physical and minimalist, the Globe version in 2012 will at the same time contain a unique display of the hybrid cultural peculiarity of Hong Kong.

The multi award-winning Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio, formerly known as No Man’s Land, was created in 1997.  No Man’s Land created about 20 works until it changed its name in 2009 to highlight the minimalist pursuit of its artistic director. Through research and development centered on the art of the actor, the vision of the Studio is to reinvestigate Hong Kong theatre in its unique cultural context and its identity in the world theatre. The works of No Man’s Land included The Life and Death Trilogy, Between Life and Death, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Millennium Autopsy, Deathtrap, Miss Margarida, Face, The Man, The Chair and The Turtle: A Meditation on Culture, Titus Andronicus. The works of Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio include Titus Andronicus and Next Generations.

Born in 1959, Tang Shu-wing has been described by Parole Magazine as “one of the most talented theatre directors of Hong Kong". Trained in acting at l'Ecole de la Belle de Mai and in theatre aesthetics at the Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris in the late 1980’s, Shu-wing began his theatre career as an assistant director and actor in Théâtre de la Main d'Or and other theatre, film and television production companies in Paris before returning to Hong Kong in 1992. He was co-artistic director of Theatre Resolu from 1993-96 and has been the artistic director of No Man's Land (renamed as Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio in 2009) since 1997. He joined the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2004 and served as the Dean of Drama for two years before he left the Academy in August 2011. He is renowned for his physical and minimalist style in the Hong Kong theatre scene due to his training in martial arts, Tai Chi and yoga.

Cantonese, or Standard Cantonese, is a language that originated in the vicinity of Canton in southern China, and is often regarded as the prestige dialect of Yue Chinese.

The majority of Cantonese speakers in the UK have origins from the former British colony of Hong Kong and speak the Canton/Hong Kong dialect, although many are in fact from Hakka-speaking families and are bilingual in Hakka. There are also Cantonese speakers from south east Asian countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, as well as from Guangdong in China itself. Today an estimated 300,000 British people have Cantonese as a mother tongue. This represents 0.5% of the total UK population and 1% of the total overseas Cantonese speakers.


Ashtar Theatre presents

Richard II

From Ramallah, Palestine   

Performed in Palestinian Arabic 

Friday 4 May 2.30pm

Saturday 5 May 7.30pm

Ashtar is a dynamic Palestinian theatre with a global perspective. It was founded in Jerusalem in 1991. In 2010 the group performed The Gaza Monologues, a series of stories told by the young people of Gaza – an unprecedented theatrical project involving thousands of people and 44 theatre groups from around the world. Now this vital theatre company brings its direct story-telling style to Shakespeare’s great masterpiece of dislocation. 

Ashtar aims at making theatre a fundamental need within Palestinian society through stimulating cultural awareness, awakening aesthetic perceptions and arousing artistic sensibilities. It also seeks to build and strengthen cultural bridges with the theatre world through creative works and ideas. 

In 2010, Ashtar produced The Gaza Monologues – an international campaign to bring the voices of Gaza’s children to the world, performed in Gaza, Ramallah, other cities in the West Bank, and more than 30 countries around the world. Previous productions also include the play 48 Minutes for Palestine, directed by Mojisola Adebayo, which opened in Ramallah in May 2010 then toured in Jenin, Hebron, Birzeit University and Bethlehem. Internationally, the play was performed in Spain in the Valencia Festival in May 2010 and in Brazil in the Belem Festival in July 2010.  

Palestinian Arabic is a Levantine Arabic dialect subgroup spoken by Palestinians, Arab citizens of Israel and the majority of Jordanians. Rural varieties of this dialect exhibit several distinctive features, which distinguish them from other Arabic varieties. Palestinian urban dialects more closely resemble northern Levantine Arabic dialects – that is, the spoken forms of Arabic of Syria and Lebanon. 

The Palestinian Arabic-speaking population of the United Kingdom is estimated to be several thousand. 


Q Brothers

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Richard Jordan Productions



From Chicago, USA

Performed in Hip Hop

Saturday 5 May 2.30pm
Sunday 6 May 1.30pm & 6.30pm

This production will be a fresh, urban take on Shakespeare's tragedy spun out, smashed up and lyrically rewritten over original beats. The Q Brothers are America's leading re-interpreters of Shakespeare through hip hop. They return to London following their award-winning international tours of Bombitty of Errors and Funk It Up About Nothin. The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre is dedicated to creating and producing classic productions that unlock Shakespeare's work for audiences from all walks of life.

The Q Brothers are GQ and JAQ. GQ co-created, co-directed and starred in the award-winning, internationally-acclaimed, Funk it Up About Nothin'--a musical, hip-hop "ad-RAP-tation" of Shakespeare's classic, Much Ado About Nothing. The Off Broadway smash hit The Bomb-itty of Errors, which GQ co-created and starred in, has since toured around the world. Along with his brother and the other Bomb-itty company members, G wrote and starred in a hip-hop/sketch comedy TV show, Scratch and Burn (MTV).

G's screen credits include DrumlineTaxiI Think I Love My Wife and Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn. He wrote, directed and starred in Just Another Story (Showtime), has had prominent roles in Boston Public (Fox), Numbers (CBS) and co-starred in the one-hour drama Johnny Zero (Fox). He recently guest starred in John Herzfeld's pilot, S.I.S (Sony). Together with his brother JQ, he recorded The Feel Good Album of the Year. Originally from Chicago, he received his BFA from the Experimental Theatre Wing of Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.

JAQ was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. JAQ is of mixed ethnic background having a Pakistani father and a European American mother of German and English descent. The DJ, MC, beatmaker, producer, beatboxer then moved to NYC where he learned how to make beats and carefully craft rhymes. He was also composer and co-star of MTV's Scratch and Burn, which he created with his brother GQ and two of the other bomb-itty company members, Dragon and Jordan. He scored New York indie film Just Another Story, which aired on Showtime. His brother GQ wrote, directed and starred in the movie, of which the Q Brothers were associate producers. J was the music video co-director and has a small cameo.

JAQ has produced the Smashing album for the Grommits, a rock/electro/hip-hop trio, and a solo hip hop album entitled Foul Mouth Poet. He toured the country extensively with The Grommits for much of 2004. He is now the lead singer of Them Vs. Them, a new rock band out of Chicago. The Q Brothers, formed by JAQ and GQ, released an album together entitled, The Feel Good Album Of The Year, a mix of jazz, heavy metal, R&B, and electronica.

Hip hop is a form of musical expression and artistic culture that originated in African-American and Latino communities during the 1970s in New York City, specifically the Bronx. DJ Afrika Bambaataa outlined the four pillars of hip hop culture: MCing, DJing, breaking and graffiti writing.

Since its emergence in the South Bronx, hip hop culture has spread around the world. Hip hop music first emerged with disc jockeys creating rhythmic beats by looping breaks (small portions of songs emphasizing a percussive pattern) on two turntables, more commonly referred to as sampling. This was later accompanied by "rap", a rhythmic style of chanting or poetry presented in 16 bar measures or time frames, and beatboxing, a vocal technique mainly used to imitate percussive elements of the music and various technical effects of hip hop DJs.

Dhaka Theatre presents

The Tempest

From Dhaka, Bangladesh

Performed in Bangla / Bengali

Monday 7 May 7.30pm

Tuesday 8 May 7.30pm

From a land constantly troubled by water, enter Shakespeare’s mariners, wet and speaking Bangla. Often called Bengali, Bangla is one of London’s most populous languages.

Dhaka Theatre was established in Dhaka in 1973, and is one of the pioneers of the new theatre movement in Bangladesh. Its members believe that theatre should depict the life of the people and therefore endeavour to find a theatrical expression which will truly depict the country and reflect this. To achieve this goal, the group emphasises the traditional performing art forms and mixes these with more modern ideas and technology. The group’s productions have received acclaim as much for their artistry as for their portrayal of Bangladeshi themes. The company performed many of the works of the great playwright Selim al-Din, while Nasiruddin Yousuff directs the productions. The company has staged over 26 plays, many of which have toured not only throughout Bangladesh but also internationally. The group has staged Bangla versions of Brecht’s Resistable Rise and Fall of Arturo Ui and The Merchant of Venice.

Dhaka Theatre has also initiated a programme of work known as Gram Theatre which stages plays enacted by villagers in found open spaces.

Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script. With nearly 300 million total speakers, Bengali is one of the most spoken languages (ranking sixth) in the world.

Bangladeshis form one of the UK's largest immigrant groups, and are also one of its youngest and fastest-growing communities. The population of Bangladeshis in Britain has grown steadily over the years. Estimates suggest there are currently about 500,000 Bangladeshis residing in the UK.

Teatr im. Kochanowskiego presents


From Opole, Poland

Performed in Polish

Tuesday 8 May 2.30pm
Wednesday 9 May 7.30pm
Thursday 10 May 2.30pm

Raves and binges lighten the nights in Maja Kleczewska’s Dunsinane, in this glitzy production of Macbeth which echoes the films of David Lynch and Pedro Almodovar. Transvestites, addicts and track-suited gangsters wander the corridors and teeter on the brink of sanity.

The Kochanowski Theatre is situated in Opole, once home of the great theatrical visionary Jerzy Grotowski. Following Biuro Podrozy and the Song of the Goat at the National Theatre and Barbican respectively, Kleczewska’s pop culture interpretation will continue a growing tradition of Polish Macbeths in London.

Named after the sixteenth-century Polish poet Jan Kochanowski, the theatre is the third largest in Poland (after Warsaw and Łodz). It is famous in Poland for hosting one of the country’s biggest theatre festivals – the annual Opole Theatre Prize.

Artistic Director Thomas Konin is a graduate of Warsaw’s National Theatre School. He is a prolific director of theatre and opera. He directed the Polish premiere of Rossini’s Journey to Reims, and he was awarded the Golden Mask of Łodz for his production of Adriana Lecouvreuer in 2004. He was previously Albert Vilar Fellow at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He directed Verdi’s opera Macbeth at the Grand Theatre, Łodz. He was appointed Artistic Director of the Kochanowski in 2007.

Polish is a Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages in Central Europe and the official language of Poland. Its written standard is the Polish alphabet which corresponds to the Latin alphabet with several additions. Polish speakers use the language in a uniform manner throughout most of Poland. Despite the pressure of non-Polish administrations in Poland, who have often attempted to suppress the Polish language, a rich literature has developed over the centuries, and the language is currently the largest in terms of speakers of the West Slavic group. It is also the second most widely spoken Slavic language, after Russian. There are roughly 15 to 20 million people of Polish ancestry living outside Poland, making the Polish diaspora one of the largest in the world.

In 2010, the UK Office for National Statistics estimated that there were more than half a million people of Polish origin living in Britain.

Two Gents Productions presents

Two Gentlemen of Verona

From Zimbabwe

Performed in Shona

Wednesday 9 May 2.30pm
Thursday 10 May 7.30pm

Vakomana Vaviri ve Zimbabwe, a stunning African version of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona, is a two-man Zimbabwean riot of love, friendship and betrayal. From Verona to Milan, via Harare and Bulawayo, two great friends, Valentine and Proteus, vie for the love of the same woman. When Valentine is banished, their friendship is threatened and only through disguise, deception and intrigue are they reconciled. In a broad, loud, triumphantly energetic 'township' style the two actors slip into all of the play's fifteen characters – from amorous suitors to sullen daughters, depressed servants and even a dog.

Using little to no props, a few items of clothing and a set that consists of no more than a trunk, the actors explore the text’s nuances from a distinctly Zimbabwean perspective, bringing Shakespeare’s verse to life in this new, specially commissioned Shona translation. With a watchful eye, great intuition and comic timing, the actors Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyevu draw the audience into the action and create a soulful and engaging theatrical experience not to be missed.

Two Gents Productions is a Zimbabwean theatre company based in London, and founded in February 2008.  It is composed of the actors Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyebvu, and the director Arne Pohlmeier. The company’s aim is to present Shakespeare in new and unfamiliar ways by fusing it with contemporary Zimbabwean performance modes of storytelling, improvisation, mime and dance.  The company’s fast paced, minimalist approach influenced by South African protest plays such as Woza Albert!, The Island and Sizwe Banzi is Dead, lends itself beautifully to the language of Shakespeare.

The company members’ individual cultural backgrounds, their experience of migration and audience-centred, physically engaging yet technically minimalist style infuse all Two Gents’ productions. To date the company has presented in London and the UK: Two Gentlemen of Verona, Kupenga Kwa Hamlet and Magetsi. Vakomana Vaviri ve Zimbabwe at Shakespeare’s Globe is the first full length Shona language production.

Shona  is a Bantu language, native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe and southern Zambia; the term is also used to identify peoples who speak one of the Shona language dialects: Zezuru, Karanga, Manyika, Ndau and Korekore. Shona is a principal language of Zimbabwe, along with Ndebele and and the official business language, English. Shona is spoken by a large percentage of the people in Zimbabwe. Other countries that host Shona language speakers are Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique.

Shona is the Bantu language most widely spoken as a native language. According to Ethnologue, Shona comprising the Karanga, Zezuru, and Korekore dialects, is spoken by about 10.8 million people. 

There are nearly 50,000 Zimbabweans living in the UK.

National Theatre Belgrade in Association with Laza Kostic Fund present

Henry VI: Part 1

From Belgrade, Serbia

Performed in Serbian

Friday 11 May 7.30pm
Sunday 13 May 12.30pm

Internationally acclaimed Serbian director Nikita Milivojevic makes his UK debut with the thrilling first part of a new Balkan trilogy, the first time the Henry VItrilogy has played at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Milivojevic’s Henry VI Part 1will ignite this trilogy, tackling machinations, mendacity and military heroics leading up to civil war. 

Established in 1861, The Serbian National Theatre began its life presenting opera and ballet, before incorporating drama into its repertoire from 1868.  Having performed a number of Shakespeare’s works at the company’s Belgrade home during its long history, the National Theatre’s production of Henry VI Part 1 will debut in the UK as part of the Globe to Globe Festival.  At its base in the Serbian capital, the National Theatre houses two venues for the performing arts.

The National Theatre presents this work in association with The Laza Kostic Fund, founded in 1991.  The Fund works to promote the works of Laza Kostic and music, art, literature, drama and cultural traditions of Serbia.   The genesis of this Fund marked the 150th Birthday of Dr Laza Kostic (1841-1910), a widely respected Serbian writer and academic.  A great admirer, critic and translator of Shakespeare, Kostic translated four tragedies into Serbian between 1859 and 1909, strictly translating the texts’ iambic pentameter line by line. His 1864 Ode to Shakespeare helped to whet the Serbian appetite for Shakespearean drama.   

Nikita Milivojevic has received numerous Serbian theatre awards for directing including the Politika award at the 31st Bitef for best directing; Critics Award from theatre journal Scena.  His productions of  Ivanov  and Crime and Punishment in  Amore Theatre in Greece were proclaimed the theatrical events of the year in Athens.  He previously held the position of Artistic Director of the celebrated BITEF festival – the most significant cultural forum in modern Serbia.

Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries.  Serbian is the only European language with active digraphia, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets.  There are 9 – 10 million Serbian speakers globally.

National Theatre of Albania presents

Henry VI: Part 2

From Tirana, Albania

Performed in Albanian

Saturday 12 May 2.30pm

Sunday 13 May 4.00pm

Shakespeare’s great meditation on riot and rebellion is brought to life by a company freed from a Communist dictatorship just over a decade ago. 

Since the early days of the new republic, the National Theatre of Albania has opened its repertoire to foreign plays, and experimented with forbidden writers, and now Adonis Filipi directs Henry VI Part 2 as part of a new Balkan trilogy.

In its 66 year history, the Albanian National Theatre has mounted around 360 productions.  With the fall of the dictatorship in 1990, the now internationally renowned, Tirana-based company has become a landmark cultural institution in Albania.  Some 34 actors make up the National Theatre's regular company.

Director Adonis Filipi has over 30 years experience in directing and managing theatres all around Europe, and has directed and coordinated 12 international theatre festivals globally.  This includes the well-known Skampa International Theatre Festival, with which he is still involved.  Filipi has directed 38 plays across Europe, including works by Sophocles, Euripides and Ionesco.

Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece.  Albanian is also spoken in centuries old Albanian colonies in southern Greece and in southern Italy and Sicily. 

National Theatre of Bitola presents

Henry VI: Part 3

From Bitola, Macedonia

Performed in Macedonian

Saturday 12 May 7.30pm
Sunday 13 May 7.30pm

The National Theatre of Bitola completes the Balkan trilogy, and performs for the first time in the UK. 

The third part of the trilogy is infused with live music, as traditional Macedonian songs punctuate the bloody action.  This grand drama of civil war is given new life for the Globe by the Bitola National Theatre, which staged the first play in the Macedonian language following the liberation of the country from the Axis Powers in 1944.

Founded in 1945, the National Theatre of Bitola is the oldest and largest professional theatre in Macedonia.  Since its founding, the theatre has produced 508 Macedonian premieres and has welcomed nearly four million audience members. 

The theatre is bursting with ambition:  it aims to nurture the co-existence of theatrical traditions and exploration into the latest theatrical trends; to cater to the tastes of audiences from all social backgrounds and those of different ages and tastes and to experiment with a range of genres.  Its recent successes demonstrate the company’s success in meeting these aims on home ground, and this production of Henry VI Part 3will further its work to establish an international reputation. 

The Artistic Director of the company and director of this production, Dejan Lilic, is dedicated to raising its profile internationally.  When Lilic took on his role at the company, it was in debt and had no clear repertory programme.  He aims to add to the institution’s focus and direction and to work collaboratively with actors and other creatives.  

Lilic says of his plans for the National Theatre of Bitola in the coming years:  “It will become a serious national theatre company, which will incorporate into its repertoire classics from Macedonia and abroad - all, of course, translated into modern theatrical language.  It will pay special attention to modern Macedonian drama as a pillar of the National Theatre. All this means that the National Theatre in the next few years will explore contemporary European theatre in its work, whilst at the same time selectively building its own theatrical identity.”

Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in countries such as Australia, Canada, Croatia, Italy, Russia, Serbia, the United States.  It is the official language of the Republic of Macedonia and holds the status of official minority language in parts of Albania, Romania and Serbia.  There are approximately 1,285 Macedonian-born residents of the UK. 


Compañia Nacional de Teatro presents

Henry IV Part 1

From Mexico City, Mexico

Performed in Mexican Spanish

Monday 14 May 7.30pm

Tuesday 15 May 2.30pm

Created in 1977, the Compañia Nacional de Teatro is one of Mexico’s leading cultural institutions. Under Artistic Director Luis de Tavira, the company stages classics, new Mexican plays and contemporary drama from around the world.  This new production, of Shakespeare’s great presentation of madness in the land and mayhem in the pub, is directed by the electrifying young director Hugo Arrevillaga.

The company is an association of artists, workers, promoters and fans of the performing arts that aims at the creation and dissemination of a balanced, dynamic and diverse theatrical repertoire.

Recent productions include Pascua (2009), Ni el sol ni la muerte pueden mirarse de frente (2009),  Edip en Colofón (2009), Ser es  ser  visto (2009), Egmont (2009),Horas de gracia (2010),Zoot Suit (2010), El Malentendido (2010), Natán el sabio (2010) and Endgame (2010).

Mexican Spanish is a version of the Spanish language, spoken in Mexico and in various regions of Canada and the United States of America, where there are communities of Mexican origin.

Spanish was brought to Mexico beginning in the 16th century CE. As a result of Mexico City's central role in the colonial administration of New Spain, the population of the city included relatively large numbers of speakers from Spain. Mexico City (Tenochtitlán) had also been the capital of the Aztec Empire, and many speakers of the Aztec language Nahuatl continued to live there and in the surrounding region, outnumbering the Spanish-speakers for several generations. Consequently, Mexico City tended historically to exercise a standardizing effect over the entire country, evolving into a distinctive dialect of Spanish which incorporated a significant number of hispanicized Nahuatl words.

The government of Mexico recognizes 68 distinct indigenous Amerindian languages as national languages in addition to Mexican Spanish.

According to the 2001 UK Census, 5,049 Mexican-born people were living in the UK.

Elkafka Espacio Teatral present

Henry IV Part 2

From Buenos Aires, Argentina

Performed in Argentinean Spanish

Tuesday 15 May 7.30pm

Wednesday 16 May 7.30pm

Rubén Szuchmacher, one of Argentina’s most influential and controversial theatre-makers, directs a new production of this elegiac and funny masterpiece.  A celebrated defender of the theatre’s freedom from the state, Szuchmacher’s work combines the richness of Shakespeare’s texts with a simple theatrical aesthetic. His approach has won him great acclaim as one of the most admired Shakespearean artists in South America.

Elkafka Espacio Teatral is an independent theatre company from Buenos Aires. Rubén Szuchmacher, its director, has directed many theatre pieces in the official and commercial arena, but it is with this group that he has produced some of his most experimental and best-known theatre. His most acclaimed work includes: Mi querida (My Dear), by Griselda Gambaro; El siglo de oro del peronismo (The Golden Age of Peronism), based on texts by Calderón de la Barca, Marcelo Bertuccio and the director himself; Quartett, by Heiner Müller; Las reglas de la urbanidad en la sociedad moderna (Urbanity rules in modern society), by Jean-Luc Lagarce; Hijos del Sol (Sons of the sun), by Maxim Gorky; Escandinavia, by Lautaro Vilo. He has received a host of awards, including the “ACE” award, granted by Argentina’s leading theatre critics, and the “Trinidad Guevara”, the most prestigious award in Argentinean theatre granted in Argentina, for his production of King Lear.

Szuchmacher, was born in Buenos Aires in 1951 and studied music, performance and scenic direction at the Colon Theatre of Buenos Aires. He has directed the FIBA (Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires) and created the Festival del Rojas, for new artists. He has worked as a theatre instructor in Argentina, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay.

Argentinean Spanish (or Rioplatense Spanish) is a dialectal variant of the Spanish language spoken mainly in the areas in and around the River Plate region of Argentina and Uruguay. Rioplatense is mainly based in the cities of Buenos Aires, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Santa Fe and Rosario in Argentina, Montevideo in Uruguay, and the south of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. This regional form of Spanish is also found in other areas, not geographically close to but culturally influenced by those population centres (e.g., in parts of Paraguay and in all of Patagonia). Rioplatense is the standard in audiovisual media in Argentina and Uruguay.

In 2001, it was estimated that there were approximately seven thousand Argentinean nationals resident in the UK.

Gabriel Sundukyan National Academic Theatre presents

King John

From Yerevan, Armenia

Performed in Armenian

Wednesday 16 May 2.30pm
Thursday 17 May 7.30pm

Shakespeare has always had a strong influence in the Caucasus, and nowhere more powerfully than in Armenia.  Poets, playwrights, actors and audiences have all lived and worked on Shakespearean projects, and he has proven an enduring symbol of freedom in times of oppression. Many great actors and directors have emerged from Armenia to go on to great international success, and this is the first visit to the UK of their National Theatre.

The Gabriel Sundukyan National Academic Theatre of Yerevan was founded in 1922 and is named after the founder of the Armenian school of realistic drama. This eminent theatre company has always engaged enthusiastically with the plays of Shakespeare, and produced a version of Othello as early as 1926.

Well-known actors and directors such as Vahram Papazian and Hrachia Ghaplanyan were the stars of the theatre's company. They performed both national and foreign plays, such as Sundukyan's The Testament, Muratsan's Rouzan, Shant's Ancient Gods, Camus's Caligula and Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard.

The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora. It has its own script, the Armenian alphabet, and is of interest to linguists for its distinctive phonological developments within Indo-European.

There has been sporadic emigration from Armenia to the UK since the 18th century, with the biggest influx coming after the Second World War. The majority are based in the major cities of London and Manchester. The 2001 UK Census recorded 589 Armenian-born people living in the UK, although there are up to 18,000 ethnic Armenians including those who are British-born, and of part Armenian descent, living in the UK.


Belarus Free Theatre presents

King Lear

From Minsk, Belarus

Performed in Belarusian

Thursday 17 May 2.30pm

Friday 18 May 7.30pm

One of the world’s bravest ensembles, Belarus Free Theatre was established in 2005 by Nikolai Khalezin and Natalia Kaliada. The group has no official premises, nor any other facilities. Their performances in Belarus are held secretly, in small private apartments, the location of which, due to the risk of persecution, must constantly be changed. In their work, they demonstrate a spiritual resilience and an irreverent humour in the face of their own dilemma. Despite suffering every form of intimidation and harassment, BFT continue to produce great theatre that is recognised internationally.

Belarus Free Theatre’s performances in the UK have been almost universally acclaimed. Supporters include Tom Stoppard, Arthur Kopit, Mick Jagger and the late Harold Pinter. They have also performed internationally, in Paris, New York, Stockholm, Moscow, Rotterdam and Hong Kong. In 2011 they were nominated for the Theatrical Experience Drama Desk Award for Being Harold Pinter and were awarded the prestigious off-Broadway OBIE award.

The BFT have performed in street cafes, in the countryside and in the woods. Their main aim is to break stereotypes of the Belarusian population. Members of the Belarus Free Theatre cite Václav Havel and the 1989 Velvet Revolution in the former Czechoslovakia, Polish theatre, and other Eastern European protest movements of the 1960s and '70s as inspirations and models for their artistic resistance.

Belarusian is an official language of Belarus, along with Russian. Prior to Belarus gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1992, the language was known in English as Byelorussian or Belorussian, or alternatively as White Russian or White Ruthenian. The 1999 Belarus Census declared the Belarusian language as a "language spoken at home" by about 3,686,000 Belarusian citizens (36.7% of the population). About 6,984,000 (85.6%) of Belarusians declared it their "mother tongue". Other sources put the "population of the language" as 6,715,000 in Belarus and 9,081,102 in all countries. According to a study done by the Belarusian government in 2009, 72% of Belarusians speak Russian at home, while Belarusian is used by only 11.9% of Belarusians. 29.4% of Belarusians can write, speak and read Belarusian, while only 52.5% can read and speak it. According to the research, one out of ten Belarusians does not understand Belarusian.

The 2001 UK Census recorded 1,154 Belarusian-born people living in the UK, although recent estimates have placed the figure closer to 5,000.

Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre presents

As You Like It

From Tbilisi, Georgia

Performed in Georgian

Friday 18 May 2.30pm
Saturday 19 May 7.30pm

One of the most revered theatres in Georgia, itself one of the world’s great theatre cultures, the Marjanishvili, founded in 1928, appears regularly at theatre festivals all over the world. This new production of As You Like It is directed by the company’s Artistic Director Levan Tsuladze known for his energetic, high-tempo and wildly imaginative productions of European classics.

The Majanishvili State Drama Theatre was founded in 1928 by the renowned director Kote Marjanishvili. By combining the rich tradition of Georgian Theatre with the best examples of European drama, he created a powerful new aesthetic which has remained at the centre of Georgian theatrical life.

The company has been acclaimed around the world touring its productions to Japan, Russia, the UK, the Czech Republic and Poland. Since 2006 it has been under the leadership of Levan Tsuladze. He is a leading figure in a new generation of theatre makers in Georgia and the founder of the Basement Theatre company, Georgia’s first independent theatre group, formed in 1997.

The Marjanishvili’s own theatre in Tblisi recently underwent extensive renovations, reopening in 2006 under Tsuladze’s directorship and has rapidly re-established itself at the centre of cultural Georgian life.

Georgian theatre has a long history; its oldest national form was the "Sakhioba"  which began in the 3rd century BC and was in practice until the 17th century AD. The Georgian National Theatre was founded in 1791 in Tbilisi, by the writer, dramatist and diplomat Giorgi Avalishvili (1769-1850).

Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia.

Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad. It is the literary language for all regional subgroups of the Georgian ethnos, including those who speak other Kartvelian (South Caucasian) languages: Svans, Mingrelians, and the Laz. Judaeo-Georgian, sometimes considered a separate Jewish language, though some just consider it Georgian, is spoken by an additional 20,000 in Georgia and 65,000 elsewhere (primarily 60,000 in Israel).

Grupo Galpão presents

Romeo and Juliet

From Belo Horizonte

Performed in Brazilian Portuguese

Saturday 19 May 2.30pm
Sunday 20 May 1.30pm
Sunday 20 May 6.30pm

Perhaps the Americas’ most famous production of the most famous play ever, Grupo Galpão’s carnivalesque Romeo and Julietreturns to Shakespeare’s Globe with its thrilling mix of circus, music, dance and Brazilian folk culture. 

Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy of love, freedom and death, driven at the speed of the couple’s youth. Galpão’s famed circus skills are blended with the folk performance techniques of director, Gabriel Villela. The angst and pleasure, the driving force of love, the violence and passion concentrated in Shakespeare’s text are conveyed on stage in conjunction with the breakneck speed of the story.

Grupo Galpão was founded by a small group of novice actors in 1982. They took over the streets of “Minas” taking on modern urban chaos on their own terms in order to find an identity of their own. Galpão’s performance style has been developed through consistent research, touring, participation in festivals, courses, workshops and the incorporation of dance, juggling and mask techniques.

The staging of Romeo and Juliet was a landmark in the company’s career. The collaboration with Gabriel Villela enabled them to perform a classic in the streets. Since it was premièred in the streets in 1992, Galpão’s poignant rendition of Romeo and Juliet has been a huge success, both at the box office and with the critics, in Brazil and abroad. 

Brazilian Portuguese is a group of Portuguese dialects written and spoken by most of the 190 million inhabitants of Brazil and by a few million Brazilian emigrants, mainly in the United States, Portugal, Canada, Japan, Paraguay and the United Kingdom.  

Chiten presents


From Kyoto, Japan

Performed in Japanese

Monday 21 May 7.30pm

Tuesday 22 May 7.30pm

This renowned company from Kyoto works under the direction of one of Japan’s most imaginative artists, Motoi Miura. Known for its minimalist and avant-garde vision, this company produces an expressive theatre rooted in the exploration of words, sound and the human body.  

Originally formed in Tokyo, Chiten moved to Kyoto in 2005. Under the directorship of Motoi Miura, the company is particularly celebrated for its highly contemporary stagings of the works of Chekhov. In 2005 their production of The Seagull won the Toga Directors’ Competition, followed in 2007 by an ambitious project to stage production of all four of Chekhov’s great masterpieces. The third production of this series, The Cherry Orchard, saw Miura win the Agency for Cultural Affairs New Director Award. In most Japanese theatre companies the roles of Artistic Director and Playwright are combined, Chiten is unusual in that the Artistic Director’s role is devoted only to directing.

Born in 1973, Motoi Miura graduated from Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music where he studied under Kouichi Kimura, Yukio Ninagawa and Mitsumasa Shinozaki. In 1996 he joined Seinendan Theatre Company where he became the assistant director to Oriza Hirata. From 1999 he studied and worked in Paris for two years, and on his return to Japan in 2001 he became the Artistic Director of Chiten. He worked with radical plays from around the world and became something of a pioneer in Japan for his promotion of new international writers. Following the company’s move to Kyoto in 2005, alongside its work on Chekhov’s plays, Miura directed productions of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, which won the Best Scenography award at the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre, and the Philip Glass opera based on Kafka’s In the Penal Colony.

Japanese is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities.

According to the 2001 UK Census, 37,535 Japanese born people were residing in the UK, whilst the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates that 50,864 Japanese nationals were calling the UK home in 2002. The Office for National Statistics estimates that, in 2009, 34,000 people born in Japan were resident in the UK.

Deafinitely Theatre presents

Love’s Labours Lost

From London

Performed in British Sign Language (BSL)

Tuesday 22 May 2.30pm

Wednesday 23 May 7.30pm

By translating the rich, pun-riddled text of Love’s Labour’s Lost into the physical language of BSL, Deafinitely Theatre create a new interpretation of Shakespeare’s comedy, accessible to theatregoers of all backgrounds.

Deafinitely, which has worked at the Soho Theatre, and the Tricycle, aims 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.

Established in 2002, Deafinitely Theatre is an independent, professional company led by Deaf people.  Funded by Arts Council England, they create productions in British Sign Language (BSL) and English, which can be understood by everyone, and yet retain BSL as the leading language.  As well as presenting work by canonical writers, Deafinity aims for untold stories from the Deaf community to be performed on the stage and encourages deaf people to create their own plays through an annual playwriting competition. 

An actor, director, workshop leader and organiser, Paula Garfield will direct this production of Love’s Labours Lost.  Garfieldhas worked on a variety of television, film and theatre projects over the past fifteen years.  She set up Deafinitely Theatre with Steven Webb and Kate Furby after becoming frustrated at the blocks that Deaf actors and directors face in mainstream media.  She has produced and directed a number of works in the theatre including Two Chairs, Motherland, and Children of a Greater God.  She has directed all but one of Definitely Theatre's shows. She has also worked extensively for TV, including Channel Four’s Learn Sign Language, Four Fingers and a Thumb, and has appeared in every series of the BBC's Deaf drama, Switch.

It is not known exactly how many people use BSL, but estimates of the number of Deaf signers who use it as their first language range from 30,000 to 70,000. Many hearing people also know some BSL because they might have family members, friends or colleagues who are deaf, and recent figures from the British Deaf Association suggest that on any day up to 250,000 people use some BSL.

Arpana presents

All’s Well That Ends Well

From Mumbai, India

Performed in Gujarati

Wednesday 23 May 2.30pm

Thursday 24 May 7.30pm

Arpana will present a new Gujarati adaptation of All’s Well That Ends Well. The production will be designed in the style of the “Bhangwadi” theatre that catered initially to an audience of daily wage labourers in the late nineteenth century, but over time became very popular with a wide range of audiences.  This style is a celebratory mix of live music, dance, and theatrical acting.  The production will feature some of Mumbai’s most talented singer-actors.

Arpana (Offering) was founded in 1985 by theatre professionals committed to presenting a theatre which engages with contemporary reality.  Over the last 25 years Arpana has staged 22 productions, which have been performed in Mumbai, and other parts of the country. Arpana has been a regular participant at national and international theatre festivals in India.

Arpana is renowned for its original scripts by Indian playwrights, superlative performances, innovative staging techniques, and has a wide experience of performing in regular theatres and informal performance spaces.

For the past few years Arpana has located and developed alternative performance spaces along with other like-minded theatre groups. These spaces range from people's private residences, public gardens, open-air amphitheatres, school yards, clubs, and restaurants.

Recent productions from Arpana that have won acclaim include the classic re-telling of the history of Mumbai textile mill district Cotton 56, Polyester 84, a new adaptation of The Three Penny Opera, Mastana Rampuri Urf Chappan Chhuri, an exploration of censorship in contemporary theatre history, S*x, M*rality & Cens*rship, and Dreams of Taleem, a poignant play about being different. The company’s latest production, Stories in a Song, is the outcome of a creative collaboration with Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan, leading classical musicians, and tells stories of music and music making in India.

Sunil Shanbag is one of India’s most respected theatre-makers. He began his career in 1974 as an actor and assistant director with the legendary director Satyadev Dubey in Mumbai. In 1985 he was one of the founder members of Arpana, and in 1988 he became the artistic director of the company. His theatre is known for its strong social roots, and powerful original texts, many created in collaboration with writers over months of development. Sunil has been actively involved in theatre in education projects, and has run programmes in schools using theatre-training techniques to teach language, and life skills to young students. He has a deep interest in contemporary theatre history and has presented papers at various seminars and contributed articles to theatre journals. Sunil is also a documentary film maker with several independent films to his credit.

Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is derived from a language called Old Gujarati (1100 - 1500 AD) which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages. It is native to the Indian state of Gujarat, and is its chief language, as well as of the adjacent union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

There are about 46.1 million speakers of Gujarati worldwide, making it the 26th most spoken native language in the world.

Due to the large Gujarati diaspora in the UK, Gujarati is offered as a GCSE subject for students in the United Kingdom.

Renegade Theatre presents

The Winter’s Tale

From Lagos, Nigeria

Performed in Yoruba

Thursday 24 May 2.30pm
Friday 25 May 7.30pm

Yoruba folk tales inform this magical new production of Shakespeare’s late masterpiece.

The Renegade Theatre initiated the Theatre@Terra project in 2007, where plays were produced twice every Sunday in Lagos without interruption for three-and-a-half years – a feat unparalleled in modern Nigeria.  The company’s patron is the Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. 

Renegade Theatre has been one of Nigeria’s most consistent theatre establishments for more than a decade.  It has presented more than 400 major productions in some of the major venues around the country.

The company produced the debut edition of the V Monologues -The Nigerian Story, loosely based on The Vagina Monologues and created the annual Season of Wole Soyinka Plays, which is now in its fifth year.  It has presented plays in the last two Lagos State Government/UNESCO-sponsored Black Heritage Festivals - Aimé Cesaire’s A Season in the Congo in (2010) and Wole Oguntokun’s The Waiting Room in (2011).

Director Wole Oguntokun returns to the UK having previously been a consultant to the British Council and the National Theatre, London, in the latter’s production of Wole Soyinka’s Death and The King’s Horsemen (2009).  He was selected by the British Council to be part of a Theatre Director's Residency/Workshop in the United Kingdom in May 2011. He is a protégé of the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka and is widely celebrated in the Nigerian theatre scene.

Yorùbá is a Niger–Congo language spoken in West Africa by approximately 20 million speakers.

Yoruba is the first language of an estimated 20 million people worldwide; a further 2 million people speak it as a second language. It is one of the six official languages of Nigeria. The native tongue of the Yoruba people, it is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and in communities in other parts of Africa, Europe and the Americas.   The Yoruba population in the UK consists of a high proportion of students and professionals who left West Africa for political and economic reasons.  The largest concentrations of Yoruba speakers in London were found (according to a survey in 2009) to be in Greenwich, Hackney, Lambeth and Southwark.

Theatre Wallay presents

The Taming Of The Shrew

From Pakistan

Performed in Urdu

Friday 25 May 2.30pm
Saturday 26 May 7.30pm

Theatre Wallay presents a new production of The Taming of the Shrew, starring the Lahore screen and stage star Nadia Jamil as Katherine. Navid Shahzad’s production, rich in colour and energy, explores the difficulties encountered by modern Pakistani women. With live singers and musicians, a thrilling bhangra jig rounds off this uplifting version of the first romcom.

The music, colours and speech of Lahore – one of the great bustling metropolises of south Asia – will infuse this production of Shakespeare’s comedy. Led by some of Pakistan’s most respected creative minds, it promises to be an uproar of passion, fury and love, performed in one of the UK’s most prevalent languages.

Urdu is a Central Indo-Aryan language and a register of the Hindustani language that is linguistically identified with Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. It belongs to the Indo-European family. It is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also largely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an official language of five states. Standard Urdu is mutually intelligible with Standard Hindi. Both languages share the same Indic base and are similar enough in phonology and grammar that they can appear to be one language. 

The combined UK population of Hindi and Urdu speakers is the fourth largest in the world. According to the BBC, the Urdu-speaking community in the UK numbers about one million speakers.

Oyun Atölyesi presents

Antony and Cleopatra

From Istanbul, Turkey

Performed in Turkish

Saturday 26 May 2.30pm
Sunday 27 May 1.30pm & 6.30pm

Oyun Atölyesi was founded in 1999. Its first show, a production of Steven Berkoff’s Kvetch, was performed in the same year. Since then, the company has produced at least one show each year, and since 2002 each production has received its premiere in the company’s own theatre in Kadiköy, on the Asian side of Istanbul.

This new production of Antony and Cleopatra will be directed by Kemal Aydogan and the lead roles will be played by Haluk Bilginer and Zerrin Tekindor. The role of Enobarbus will be played by Kevork Malikyan who is currently appearing as the Ambassador in Yes, Prime Minister in the West End.

Haluk Bilginer is one of Turkey’s most prestigious actors, he is well known to UK audiences having spent two years playing Mehmet in Eastenders. As founder and Artistic Director of Oyun Atölyesi he has played the lead roles in Anthony Horovitz’s Mind Games, Moliere’s The Miser and Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens.

Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania and other parts of Eastern Europe. Turkish is also spoken by several million people of immigrant origin in Western Europe, particularly in Germany.

Turkish is natively spoken by the Turkish people in Turkey and by the Turkish diaspora in some 30 other countries. In particular, Turkish-speaking minorities exist in countries that formerly (in whole or part) belonged to the Ottoman Empire, such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece (primarily in Western Thrace), the Republic of Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia. More than two million Turkish speakers live in Germany; and there are significant Turkish-speaking communities in the United States, France, The Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom where there are about  ½ million Turks. 

Habima National Theatre presents

The Merchant of Venice

From Tel Aviv, Israel

Performed in Hebrew

Monday 28 May 7.30pm
Tuesday 29 May 7.30pm

The Habima is the centre of Hebrew-language theatre worldwide. Founded in Moscow after in 1913, the company toured the world before eventually settling in Tel Aviv in the late 1920s. Since 1958, they have been recognised as the National Theatre of Israel. This production, of one of Shakespeare’s most controversial and most human plays, is their first visit to the United Kingdom.

The initial mission of its founders was to establish a Hebrew-speaking theatre which, one day, would perform in Israel, in Hebrew.  In 1922 Habima opened its legendary production of The Dybbuk by S. Ansky, directed by Y. Vakhtangov.  This production toured Europe, including a visit to London, and the USA.

In 1928, Habima arrived in Jaffa, Israel and in 1935 the first cornerstone was laid for its permanent home, inaugurated in 1946.  In 1938 it opened its young actors studio, which was one of the first drama schools in the country.  In 1958 Habima won the country's most coveted award,' The Israel Prize' .

Habima continues to be committed to extraordinary theatre-making and to nurturing a new generation of excellent actors and other theatre professionals. The company produces 10 new plays a year and stages 1300 performances.

Habima’s plays deal with questions regarding war and peace, Arab-Israeli relations, tensions between both religious and secular Jews, tensions between OlimHadashim (immigrants) and Zabarim (native-Israelis), the status of women, the dynamics in relations between the generations, bureaucratic corruption, Jewish themes and history, life in the shadow of the Holocaust, the lives of foreign workers in Israel, and Israeli society generally.

The aspirations and problems that epitomize Israel are also evident in the company’s productions of classical plays, from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to Gogol’s Revizor and Antigone by Sophocles.

Modern Hebrew is spoken by most of the seven million people in Israel while Classical Hebrew has been used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world. The language is attested from the 10th century BCE to the late Second Temple period, after which the language developed into Mishnaic Hebrew. Modern Hebrew is one of the official languages of Israel, along with Arabic.

Rakatá presents

Henry VIII

From Madrid, Spain

Performed in Spanish

Tuesday 29 May 2.30pm
Wednesday 30 May 7.30pm

In 1533, the Spanish were enraged by Catherine of Aragon’s divorce from Henry VIII. Eighty years later, Shakespeare engaged with the subject in his last play. Now four hundred years later, Rakatá, Madrid’s premier young classical company, re-imagine this play from a Spanish perspective, with the thrilling clarity they bring to their productions of Spanish Golden Age work.

Taking the Anglo-Hispanic subject of the text as cultural inspiration, Rakatá will develop the project with a group of internationally trained performers who have worked with the company over the past six years.

Rakatá has been dedicated for more than eight years to the investigation, publication and performance of Golden Age theatre in Spain. During this time the company has produced four shows, on which Rakatá has had the opportunity to work with international theatre professionals including Laurence Boswell, John Wright, Will Keen, Dick Bird, Chahine Yavroyan and Jeremy Herbert. The company’s productions have toured throughout Spain and also internationally – to London, Argentina, Venezuela and Panama. At the head of the project is Rodrigo Arribas, who spent five years with the Compañia Nacional de Teatro Clásico before founding Rakatá.

Spanish (sometimes called Castilian) (español or castellano in Spanish) is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia during the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile (present northern Spain) into central and southern Iberia during the later Medieval period.

In 1999, there were according to Ethnologue 358 million people speaking Spanish as a native language and a total of 417 million speakers worldwide. Currently these figures are up to 400 and 500 million people respectively. Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese. Mexico contains the largest population of Spanish speakers. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and used as an official language of the European Union, and Mercosur. By 2050, it is likely that 10 percent of the world population will be speaking Spanish, and will be the most widely spoken language in the Western Hemisphere by a considerable degree, including both first and second language speakers.

The United Kingdom is home to nearly 185,000 Spanish as a first language speakers and over 3 million bi-lingual Spanish speakers.

Roy-e-Sabs presents

The Comedy of Errors

From Kabul, Afghanistan

Performed in Dari Persian

Wednesday 30 May 2.30pm
Thursday 31 May 7.30pm

Roy-e-Sabs is a theatrical miracle. In 2005, the group performed Love’s Labour’s Lost in an ancient garden in war-ravaged Kabul, close to where the founder of the Mughal Empire lies buried. The controversial production saw men and women acting together, the women occasionally not wearing headscarves, and lovers holding hands – truly audacious things to rehearse and perform in modern Afghanistan. For the first time, the group is leaving Kabul to perform at the Globe with a new production of The Comedy of Errors.

Until it was attacked recently, Roy-e-Sabs were rehearsing the production in the British Council compound in Kabul. Their performance promises to be a great moment of celebration, created under conditions that most European theatre makers can barely imagine. They are planning to open the production in spring 2012 in India before travelling to London.

From an article in The Daily Telegraph after the opening of Love’s Labour’s Lost:

“Shakespeare has been performed in Afghanistan for the first time since the Soviet invasion of 1978, which instigated more than two decades of turmoil almost devoid of cultural activity. A professional Afghan cast performed a Dari language version of Love's Labour's Lost at sunset on Monday in the bomb-scarred remains of Kabul's 16th century Babur Gardens.”

Dari or Fārsī-ye Darī in historical terms refers to the Persian court language of the Sassanids. In contemporary usage, the term refers to the dialects of modern Persian language spoken in Afghanistan, and hence known as Afghan Persian in some Western sources.

There are approximately 15,000 Afghans living in the UK.

Bremer Shakespeare Company presents

Timon of Athens

From Bremer, Germany

Performed in German

Thursday 31 May 2.30pm

Friday 1 June 7.30pm

In 1993 Bremer Shakespeare Company performed The Merry Wives of Windsor on the building site of the Globe Theatre. They have staged over 40 Shakespeare productions in their home on the western bank of the Weser in Bremen, and have toured throughout Europe and Asia. Nineteen years after The Merry Wives, they return with a bold, wild and bouncy production of Timon of Athens, the perfect play for our times.  

The Bremer Shakespeare Company (BSC) was established in 1984 by seven actors who decided to dedicate their professional enthusiasm to Shakespeare in their own theatre. Inspired by the power of Shakespeare’s imagination, the company’s aim is to provide the audience with the joy of thinking, crying, laughing, judging and contradicting.


In addition to their Shakespearean productions, the BSC has premiered many new plays. The company has toured nationwide and internationally, e.g. to Finland, Poland, Austria, Estonia, Italy, England, Israel, Liechtenstein and India.

The BSC has received several distinguished awards, among them one for developing the performing arts (Förderpreis Darstellende Kunst) from the Academy of Arts in Berlin. Since 1993, international cooperations have become an ever more important part of the company’s work; international Shakespeare festivals were organised by the BSC and international co-productions became part of the company‘s programme.

A courageous choice of a piece, a courageous performance, a dynamic evening. Out of this Timon speaks an almost tangible, unexpected fury.“  Die Tageszeitung

German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union. German is primarily spoken in Germany (where it is the first language for more than 95% of the population), Austria (89%), Switzerland (65%), the majority of Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein - the latter princedom being the only state with German as only official and spoken language.

The German-born population of the UK is the fourth largest foreign-born population, with an estimated 296,000 residents.

Compagnie Hypermobile  presents

Much Ado About Nothing

From Paris, France

Performed in French

Friday 1 June 2.30pm

Saturday 2 June 7.30pm

In the Cartoucherie de Vincennes, on the outskirts of Paris, sits a bold and enterprising venue, the Theatre de la Tempête. Clement Poirée’s company Hypermobile are one of the principle groups behind this theatre’s already impressive reputation. Poirée’s new production, running at La Tempête in winter 2011, is a bittersweet take on Much Ado About Nothing, set amid the chaos of an Italian restaurant.

Clement Poirée’s previous directorial credits for Hypermobile include Bertholt Brecht’s Dans la jungle des villes (Théâtre de la Tempête, 2009), Meurtre (Théâtre de la Tempête, 2005) and Kroum l’Ectoplasme (Théâtre de la Tempête, 2004). He also directed Jardin Enchanté des Drôles de Petites Bêtes, a show for children, at the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, in 2004. 

“Much Ado About Nothing is a deeply subversive work. Rarely has a title so well matched the subject matter of a play, and communicated so many of its facets. In this comedy, people worry, they laugh, they fight, they sing – the action is fraught with death, betrayal and duels – but in the end, nothing happens. An engaged couple gets married, and a plot is foiled almost before it’s begun. It’s a tightrope, as light and graceful as an acrobat on the wire....”

- Clement Poirée, director

French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts of the world, the largest numbers of which reside in Francophone Africa. In Africa, French is most commonly spoken in GabonMauritius, Algeria and Côte d'Ivoire. French is estimated as having between 70 million and 110 million native speakers and 190 million second language speakers. It is the second-most studied foreign language in the world, after English.

In 2010, the UK Office for National Statistics estimated the French-born population of Great Britain to be 111,000.

Meno Fortas Presents


From Vilnius, Lithuania

Performed in Lithuanian

Saturday 2 June 2.30pm
Sunday 3 June 12.00pm & 6.30pm

Legendary Lithuanian director Eimuntas Nekrošius’ Hamlet is one of the most celebrated Shakespearean productions of our age. It has toured the world and is now coming to London for the first time. Nekrošius’ work, universally regarded as a new chapter in theatre history, engages with the sheer diversity of human nature, at once funny and violent, visceral and light-hearted, and always deeply compelling.

First performed in May 1997 and many years in the making, this production of Hamlet, which stars Lithuania’s number one rock star Andrius Mamontovas as the prince in his first acting role, has received worldwide acclaim. It has toured extensively around the world and has become one of the most successful and important productions of a Shakespeare play not just in Lithuania, or Europe, but throughout the world.

Meno Fortas was established on January 28, 1998, on the initiative of theatre director Eimuntas Nekrošius, Nadežda Gultiajeva and The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. Alongside productions by the company’s Artistic Director Eimuntas Nekrošius, Meno Fortas also plays host to a constant stream of international and Lithuanian artists, who rehearse and make work in the theatre. The theatre has been the base for all of Nekrošius’ productions since 1998, which have included Hamlet (1997 – 1998), Macbeth (1999), Othello (2001), The Seasons by Donelaitis (2003), The Song of Songs (2004), Faust by Goethe (2006) and The Idiot by Dostoevsky (2009).

Eimuntas Nekrošius (born on November 21, 1952 in Pažobris village, Raseiniai district municipality) is one of the most renowned theatre directors in Lithuania.

In 1978 he graduated from Lunacharsky Institute of Theatre Arts in Moscow. After returning to Lithuania he worked in the Vilnius State Youth Theatre from 1978 until 1979. In 1979 he moved to the Kaunas State Drama Theatre, where he stayed for a year until 1980. In 1980 he returned to Vilnius State Youth Theatre, where he staged series of productions.

Productions by Nekrošius have been awarded diplomas from various theatre festivals in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia and other countries. Nekrošius is a laureate of numerous state awards. He received the special prize from the Lithuanian Theatre Union as the Best Director of the Year, and an award from the Baltic Assembly for Aleksandr Pushkin's Little Tragedies (Mozart and Salieri.Don Juan. Plague) as the best theatre performance in the Baltic States in 1997. Nekrošius has also won the most prestigious theatre awards in Poland, Moscow, Italy and Turkey.

Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they are not mutually intelligible. It is written in an adapted version of the Roman script. The Lithuanian language is believed to be the most conservative living Indo-European language, retaining many features of Proto Indo-European now lost in other Indo-European languages.



21 - 22 APRIL


IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, SeSotho, Setswana,

Afrikaans, South African English / Isango Ensemble

Saturday 21 April 2.30pm & 7.30pm

Sunday 22 April 6.30pm

WEEK ONE:  23 - 29 APRIL


Maori / Ngakau Toa

Monday 23 April 7.30pm

Tuesday 24 April 7.30pm


Russian / Vakhtangov Theatre

Tuesday 24 April 2.30pm

Wednesday 25 April 7.30pm


Swahili / Bitter Pill

Wednesday 25 April 2.30pm

Thursday 26 April 7.30pm


Greek / National Theatre of Greece

Thursday 26 April 2.30pm

Friday 27 April 7.30pm


Hindi / Company Theatre

Friday 27 April 2.30pm

Saturday 28 April 7.30pm


Mandarin / National Theatre of China

Saturday 28 April 2.30pm

Sunday 29 April 1.30 & 6.30pm



Korean / Yohangza Theatre Company

Monday 30 April 7.30pm

Tuesday 1 May 7.30pm


Italian / I Termini Company

Tuesday 1 May 2.30pm

Wednesday 2 May 7.30pm


Juba Arabic

The South Sudan Theatre Company

Wednesday 2 May 2.30pm

Thursday 3 May 7.30pm


Cantonese / Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio

Thursday 3 May 2.30pm

Friday 4 May 7.30pm


Palestinian Arabic / Ashtar Theatre

Friday 4 May 2.30pm

Saturday 5 May 7.30pm


Hip Hop / Q Brothers / CST / RJP

Saturday 5 May 2.30pm

Sunday 6 May 1.30pm & 6.30pm

Week 1: APRIL Mon



Bangla / Dhaka Theatre

Monday 7 May 7.30pm

Tuesday 8 May 7.30pm


Polish / Teatr im. Kochanowskiego

Tuesday 8 May 2.30pm

Wednesday 9 May 7.30pm

Thursday 10 May 2.30pm



Shona / Two Gents Productions

Wednesday 9 May 2.30pm

Thursday 10 May 7.30pm


Serbian / National Theatre (Belgrade) in

Association with Laza Kostic Fund

Friday 11 May 7.30pm

Sunday 13 May 12.30pm


Albanian / National Theatre of Albania

Saturday 12 May 2.30pm

Sunday 13 May 4.00pm



National Theatre of Bitola

Saturday 12 May 7.30pm

Sunday 13 May 7.30pm

WEEK FOUR: 14 - 20 MAY


Mexican Spanish

Compañía Nacional de Teatro

Monday 14 May 7.30pm

Tuesday 15 May 2.30pm


Argentine Spanish

Elkafka Espacio Teatral

Tuesday 15 May 7.30pm

Wednesday 16 May 7.30pm


Armenian / Gabriel Sundukyan National

Academic Theatre

Wednesday 16 May 2.30pm

Thursday 17 May 7.30pm


Belarusian / Belarus Free Theatre

Thursday 17 May 2.30pm

Friday 18 May 7.30pm


Georgian / Marjanishvili Theatre

Friday 18 May 2.30pm

Saturday 19 May 7.30pm


Brazilian Portuguese / Grupo Galpão

Saturday 19 May 2.30pm

Sunday 20 May 1.30pm & 6.30pm

WEEK FIVE: 21 - 27 MAY


Japanese / Chiten

Monday 21 May 7.30pm

Tuesday 22 May 7.30pm


British Sign Language/ Deafinitely Theatre

Tuesday 22 May 2.30pm

Wednesday 23 May 7.30pm


Gujarati / Arpana

Wednesday 23 May 2.30pm

Thursday 24 May 7.30pm


Yoruba / Renegade Theatre

Thursday 24 May 2.30pm

Friday 25 May 7.30pm


Urdu / Theatre Wallay

Friday 25 May 2.30pm

Saturday 26 May 7.30pm


Turkish / Oyun Atölyesi

Saturday 26 May 2.30pm

Sunday 27 May 1.30pm & 6.30pm



Hebrew / Habima National Theatre

Monday 28 May 7.30pm

Tuesday 29 May 7.30pm

Henry VIII

Castilian Spanish / Rakatá

Tuesday 29 May 2.30pm

Wednesday 30 May 7.30pm


Dari Persian / Roy-e-Sabs

Wednesday 30 May 2.30pm

Thursday 31 May 7.30pm



Bremer Shakespeare Company

Thursday 31 May 2.30pm

Friday 1 June 7.30pm


French / Compagnie Hypermobile

Friday 1 June 2.30pm

Saturday 2 June 7.30pm


Lithuanian / Meno Fortas

Saturday 2 June 2.30pm

Sunday 3 June 12.00pm & 6.30pm



English / Shakespeare’s Globe

Friday 8 June 7.30pm

Saturday 9 June 7.30pm

Sunday 10 June tba*

* Henry V will continue throughout the Globe Theatre 2012 Season. Further dates

and information for performances after 9 June will be announced in January 2012.


BY PHONE:  020 7401 9919

ONLINE (transaction fee applies):


Yard (standing) £5

Lower/Middle/Upper Galleries (seated) £10, £15, £25, £35

Seating plans vary for each performance; for details please ask Box Office staff or consult online seating plans at the time of booking.

Please note that there is no seat in the theatre from which the view is not obscured at some point.



See all 38 productions, with the best view in the house, for just £100 (saving up to £90).

This special ticket gives you access to all matinees during the festival, plus one evening performance of Troilus & Cressida, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Henry IV Part 2, Coriolanus and The Merchant of Venice.


Book for more than one show at the same time to qualify for a multibuy discount. With a Rewards Passport you can also collect stamps to claim further bonuses. For more information please ask at Box Office or see the website.
















Free drink




Backstage tour




DVD of Globe Theatre production




Drinks reception




Signed copy by all festival participants of complete works in English.


Under 18s £3 off all seats.

Disabled patrons Half-price seats for disabled patrons plus one companion if required.

Under 3s free



Top-price tickets £120

Family – two adults, two under 18s or one adult, three under 18s.


Book ten seated tickets and get one additional ticket free.

Tickets must be for the same performance. Please note there is limited availability for groups in all areas of the theatre. For groups including students aged under 18 a ratio of one adult per ten students is required. Adults must remain with their group throughout the performance.


All mailed tickets are subject to a postal charge of £1.50 (UK) or £2.50 (groups and overseas)


Shakespeare’s Globe cannot give refunds on any ticket sold.


Shakespeare’s Globe can exchange tickets for another production during Globe to Globe on condition that we receive the tickets at least 28 days before the performance. There is an administration fee of £2 per ticket, free for Friends of Shakespeare’s Globe.


All offers and discounts are subject to availability and cannot be claimed retrospectively or be used in conjunction with any other offer. Multibuy discounts and the Rewards Passport are applicable to seated tickets only. Discounts can only be claimed for performances of Henry V on 8 and 9 June. No refunds or exchanges will be due on previous transactions.


Tel: 020 7902 1409 Fax: 020 7902 1401

10am – 5pm Monday – Friday

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

An access guide is available in large print.

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 08:00