Fans of the world’s best-loved playwright have a lot to get excited about this month, with a number of fantastic events taking place at the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre that look set to offer a distinctly Renaissance flavour to theatre breaks this spring.
If you haven’t been to Shakespeare’s Globe before, you’re in for a real treat when stepping inside the lovingly recreated building, which is painstakingly based on the original theatre in London’s Southwark area that debuted Shakespeare’s finest plays 400 years ago.
Today, the theatre houses performances throughout the summer months – the open-air environment not being particularly well suited to winter performances! – and this year’s season kicks off on the special date of Friday 23 April, celebrated by literature lovers the world over as William Shakespeare’s birthday.
With its distinctive white oak panels and thatched roof, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped back in time when you head inside the iconic theatre – at least, until you see recognisable faces from the worlds of TV and film treading the boards to give their unique modern take on Shakespeare’s iconic characters.
Among other stars, the 2010 season features Miranda Raison of Spooks fame playing Henry VIII’s unfortunate wife Anne Boleyn in two different productions – first in Shakespeare’s own play about the notorious king, from 15 May to 21 August, and also in the title role of Howard Brenton’s new play ‘Anne Boleyn’ that gets its open air debut at the Globe on 24 July.
But before the summer season even starts, the Globe will be opening its wooden doors over the weekend of 17 and 18 April to host special events as part of the national St George’s Day celebrations.
First off, Saturday 17 April sees the return of the popular Sonnet Walks event, which allows fans of the bard to take their experience beyond the Globe and discover sights in other areas of the city, such as Westminster. Better still, entry will be free on Sunday 18 April from midday until 5pm, with this year’s events exploring the music and sounds of Shakespeare’s time, from the origins of popular songs like ‘Oranges and Lemons’ to giving people the chance to make their own soundtracks to famous scenes, like the frightening appearance of the Witches in Macbeth.
So whether you’re keen to take a trip into the past or just want to join fellow theatre lovers in celebrating the 446th birthday of England’s most famous writer, you’ll find plenty of opportunities waiting for you when making the trip to London this April!