Why, this it is when men are ruled by women…’
– Richard III, Act I, scene 1
This year’s Sam Wanamaker Playhouse season revolves and evolves around She Wolves and Shrews, and through the prism of the work, they will interrogate and celebrate the perception of women, the power of the feminine, and how it affects the personal and political course of our past, present and future.
Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood,
I would remove these tedious stumbling blocks
And smooth my way upon their headless necks.
— Henry VI Part 2, Act I, scene 2
An England divided under a weak leader spirals from political unrest to all-out civil war. Allegiances are sworn and murderous factions fight for power, but with only one crown for the taking, who will be left standing to lead the country?
Experience the Wars of the Roses like never before in this dynamic production which sees all three parts of Shakespeare’s trilogy ‘Henry VI’ condensed into one epic event.
Henry VI will run at the Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Theatre from 5th November 2019 to 26th January 2020.
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures
of these days.
— Richard III, Act I, scene 1
The battle scars from the Wars of the Roses are yet to heal but that’s not going to deter power-hungry Richard. The crown should be his and no one is going to stop him from getting it: not the King, his own wife, or the Princes in the Tower.
Richard’s reign of terror is about to begin and Shakespeare’s monstrously charismatic villain wants you there for the ride with Richard III.
Richard III will run at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre from 13th November to 26th January.
Thy husband is thy lord,
thy life, thy keeper
— The Taming of the Shrew, Act V, scene 2
Katharina and Bianca, the daughters of a rich man of Padua, are ready to marry. The game is simple: the youngest can be won only if the eldest finds her equal. But Katharina is strong-willed and not afraid to challenge the rules. Who will be able to rival her? The hunt is on.
Accompanied by live music and song in the unique and intimate setting of the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, The Taming of the Shrew questions the essence of Man and Woman, the feminine and the masculine, and searches for answers in the realm of the wondrous.
The Taming of the Shrew will run at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre from 1st February to 18th April.
‘My mother made a man so lusty that he altered the constitutional history of a country.’
Sex is power in the reign of Elizabeth I.
Elizabeth was a political mastermind and monarchic force who reigned supreme for 45 years, and yet she still felt that her power ultimately resided in her beauty.
Swive, a new play by award-winning writer Ella Hickson (The Writer, Almeida; ANNA, National Theatre) and directed by Natalie Abrahami (ANNA, National Theatre; Machinal, Almeida), interrogates the power of aesthetics in gaining and maintaining control in a patriarchy.
The power of kings is never predicated on their appearance. In Swive, Hickson shines candlelight on the savage pressure that women are under to sell themselves on their least interesting quality. If beauty is the key to survival, how do you hold on to what time will take away?
Swive will run at the Sam Wanamaker from 6th December to 15th February.
Deep night, dark night, the silent of the night,
The time of night when Troy was set on fire;
The time when screech-owls cry and ban-dogs howl,
And spirits walk and ghosts break up their graves,
That time best fits the work we have in hand.
— Henry VI Part 2, Act I, scene 4
Tales from Beyond the Grave
Two sets of eerie evenings will combine the greatest ghost stories from the past, chilling tales from the present (including a new story by Jeanette Winterson), and unnerving real-life accounts of our haunted London.
Amid political and personal chaos, when all seems upsidedown, horror and terror have always inspired writers to look into the darkness and disturbance of a parallel world to help make sense of our own. And no writer more so than Shakespeare. So as Halloween descends and with him as our guide, we yet again turn to our storytellers to help us make sense of it all.
On ’Deep Nights’ we will be performing the first set of tales, and on ‘Dark Nights’ we stage the second set, so make sure you join us for both. Jeanette Winterson’s new story will be performed on Deep Nights (30 October – 2 November).
Deep Night Dark Night will run at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre from 30th October to 5th December.
This autumn, we mark the centenary of two political milestones in the fight for gender equality with readings of two of Virginia Woolf’s seminal works: A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas.
Both texts movingly and powerfully articulate Woman’s right to intellectual freedom and financial independence. They argue for the urgent need to remove ingrained constraints on female creativity, as imagined through the plight of Shakespeare’s sister: a woman ‘as adventurous, as imaginative, as agog to see the world as he was. But she was not sent to school’.
100 years on from both the election of Nancy Astor, the first female Member of Parliament, and the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which outlawed discrimination on the grounds of gender or marriage in appointments to public functions, we will reflect, with these texts, on how far we have come, while also acknowledging the importance of pushing the conversation ever forward.
‘As a woman, I have no country.
As a woman I want no country.
As a woman, my country is the
— Three Guineas
This will run at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre on 28th November.
Celebrate magic, nature and the joy of storytelling at our half term events for families. From visiting authors to Shakespearean storytelling sessions and workshops, there’s something for all the family to enjoy in the half terms at Shakespeare’s Globe.
Oh, the deadly snares
That women set for women,
Either to soul or honour!— Women Beware Women, Act V, scene 2
A Woman. A Wife: Married in secret and locked away from other eyes by her new husband.Another Woman. Another Wife. A Daughter: Pressed into marriage and duped
into her uncle’s bed.A third Woman. A Widow. An Aunt. A Sister: Knows how to operate in
a man’s world.How do you navigate a society in which women are consciously and
unconsciously commodified, coerced and controlled?Thomas Middleton is often thought to
have collaborated with Shakespeare on some of his later works, but as a prolific playwright
in his own right, he was no stranger to writing bespoke plays for the private indoor
theatres. Women Beware Women is his enduringly relevant exploration of gender power
dynamics that uncovers the savage underbelly of desire, lust and ambition through the
prism of the flamboyant Florentine court.
Women Beware Women will run at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre from 21st February to
As we continue to interrogate Shakespeare’s transformative impact on the world, in a season inspired by his very own She Wolf, Queen Margaret of Anjou, the Shakespeares of today will pen letters to the forgotten women of the past.There can be no denying that history has been dominated by stories about men and by men. Wikipedia, the online go-to for instant information, has acknowledged its own gender bias, with biographies about women numbering only 17% of all biographies on the site.Notes to the Forgotten She Wolves will give candlelight to those women who have shaped our history, even though their stories have remained in the dark.Voices In The Dark will run at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre from 29th January to 20th February.