Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

"All The World's A Stage": The Globe to Globe Shakespeare Festival

South Sudan – CYMBELINE (photo: Steve Rowland)

Steve Rowland who, with Robert Miller, is working a documentary project called ShakespeareIS, just returned from a seven-week trip to England where he took in all that the Globe to Globe  Shakespeare Festival had to offer.  Thirty-six plays, along with Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis were presented in thirty-five languages, “plus one play in ‘American Hip Hop’ — the re-telling of Othello by four rappers, sometimes in drag  …  Love’s Labours Lost was told entirely in British Sign Language … .”  Steve writes that “thirty-four countries, two performances from China — one in Mandarin (Hong Kong) and one in Cantonese (Beijing); two from India — All’s Well That Ends Well in Gujarati and Twelfth Night in Hindi,” and an additional one from England —  Dominic Dromgoole’s Henry V. Steve conducted over 60 interviews in HD video which he expects will serve as a broad international perspective on what Shakespeare means, “from an incredible variety of sources — from the sunny and optimistic, folk cultured-based visions of South Africa, from Mumbai, from South Korea and Mexico — to the darker angst-filled post modern visions from Italy, Poland, Germany and Russia.”


South Korea, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Photo: Steve Rowland)

According to Rowland, “What the festival did was bring the world together, day after day, on the South Bank of the Thames, only a few hundred yards away from the original Globe — in a part of town that was once lawless and the haven of a vibrant but seedy underworld — where the brilliance of Shakespeare’s words hit the ears and minds of people in lower, middle and upper classes simultaneously, delighting them with stories, provocative ideas and unforgettable characters.”

If you’re interested in viewing some performances from the festival, check out Mike LoMonico’s Making a Scene blog entry.