Wonder Season to mark Shakespeare's 400th anniversary

Acclaimed actor Jonathan Pryce will reprise his role as Shylock in The Merchant Of Venice in October.
Acclaimed actor Jonathan Pryce will reprise his role as Shylock in The Merchant Of Venice in October.PHOTO: ROYAL NATIONAL THEATRE

LONDON • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London is marking the 400th anniversary of the bard's death with a Wonder Season of some of his most famous plays.

Emma Rice, the theatre's new artistic director and the first woman to hold the post, told reporters: "I'm really seeing the 400th anniversary and the whole season, being a celebration of wonder and reminding us how brilliant Shakespeare was."

The English language's foremost playwright died on April 23, 1616, at the age 52 and the anniversary is being marked with a host of events in Britain.

The Globe season will open on April 30 with A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Rice.

She said: "The season brings great joy and great acceptance and it is about everything I care about - magic, identity and love."

Opened in 1997, the Globe is the recreation of Shakespeare's circular, wooden theatre on the banks of the River Thames.

Theatregoers can stand in the open air to watch the plays.

From Sept 17, associate director Matthew Dunster will be staging Imogen, a "reclaimed and renamed" version of Cymbeline telling the story from the point of view of the eponymous king's daughter.

Acclaimed actor Jonathan Pryce will reprise his role as Shylock in The Merchant Of Venice in October.

The season also features The Taming Of The Shrew, Macbeth and The Two Gentlemen Of Verona.

The celebrations include The Complete Walk on April 23 and 24, featuring 37 screens along a 4km stretch of the Thames riverbank in London.

Each of the 37 separate short films on show will feature some of the world's top actors performing scenes from Shakespeare plays, shot in the place they were set in.

The Globe said: "Imagine Cleopatra in front of the Pyramids, Shylock in Venice's Jewish ghetto, Hamlet on the rocks of Elsinore. The Complete Walk will be an interactive journey through Shake- speare's life and work."

A two-year world tour of Hamlet will be performed at the Globe on the anniversary weekend, after a final run of shows in Teheran, Lahore, San Marino and the Vatican City.

Meanwhile, The Royal Mint will issue three different £2 (S$4.20) coins to mark 400 years of Shakespeare's literary legacy since his death.

The coins celebrate his tragedies, comedies and histories, and the designs feature a skull, a jester's hat and a crown and dagger.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2016, with the headline 'Wonder Season to mark Shakespeare's 400th anniversary'. Print Edition | Subscribe