Shakespeare's Globe Announces 2010 Season

Building on the success of its 2009 theatre season, which saw record attendance despite the economic downturn, Shakespeare's Globe announces plans for its 2010 theatre season, entitled ‘Kings and Rogues'. The season will open on Shakespeare's birthday - 23 April - and embrace some of the playwright's most regal rogues and some of his most roguish kings.

Making their premiere at the new Globe will be William Shakespeare's Henry VIII and Henry IV parts 1 and 2. The season launches with Macbeth, and includes a revival of the Globe's acclaimed 2008 production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Completing the 2010 programme is Anne Boleyn by Howard Brenton; Bedlam by Nell Leyshon; and two regional tours - a revival of the 2009 productions The Comedy of Errors and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

During the five and a half month theatre season in 2009, over 345,000 theatre-goers experienced a play at the Globe, averaging over 87% of full capacity attendance across the entire season. Over 40% took advantage of the £5 ‘groundling' tickets - a significant achievement for a company that still operates without public subsidy. The success of the 2009 Young Hearts season at Shakespeare's Globe affirms the trend for London theatres' recession-defying numbers.

Shakespeare's Globe is passionate in its pursuit and support of new writing, and 2010 continues to mix Shakespeare and contemporary playwrights, celebrating the possibilities of this unique auditorium. Award-winning playwright Howard Brenton makes a welcome return to the Globe with his new play Anne Boleyn, following his celebrated In Extremis here in 2006 and 2007. Anne Boleyn dramatises the life and legacy of Henry VIII's notorious second wife - exploring both her passion for the King and her love of the most dangerous ideas of her day. John Dove returns to the Globe to direct this production, following his 2005 main-stage production of The Winter's Tale and his touring version of the same play in 2008.

Bedlam by Nell Leyshon marks the Globe's - both past and new incarnations - first ever staging of a known female playwright. Her new play is a fictional portrayal of a London hospital for the insane, based on direct research from Bethlem Royal Hospital. Nell Leyshon won the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award for her play Comfort Me With Apples.

In 2009, both of the newly written plays - Helen by Euripides in a new version by Frank McGuinness and A New World by Trevor Griffiths - exceeded target, playing to a combined average of 70% of full capacity and indicating a growing audience for new writing at Shakespeare's Globe. Dominic Dromgoole was this year honoured for his encouragement of new writing at the Theatre Committee of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain.

In addition to its main-stage programme, Shakespeare's Globe will revive its 2009 touring productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Raz Shaw and The Comedy of Errors directed by Rebecca Gatward. Approximately 35,000 people, at over 30 beautiful venues across the UK and Europe attended a performance of the 2009 tour. In 2010, the tours will exchange venue circuits to reach new audiences and both will play two separate weeks at Shakespeare's Globe.

Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe commented: "Our building continues to embrace the most democratic audience in the world - all of us a rogue and a king in our own way - much like William Shakespeare. The 2010 theatre season offers a flavour of some of his wild, warm, violent and virtuous kings and rogues - plus new creations from two of our most rousing, contemporary playwrights. We are proud to continue our national and international touring, reaching out to new audiences for the Globe."

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