Shakespeare’s Globe is set to embark on a “completely unprecedented theatrical adventure” as it seeks to mark the 450th anniversary of the Bard’s birth by taking Hamlet to every country in the world.
The Globe’s artistic director Dominic Dromgoole is to direct the tragedy which is set to go on a two-year global tour in venues from village squares and beaches to national theatres and palaces.
Mr Dromgoole said: “The spirit of touring, and of communicating stories to fresh ears, was always central to Shakespeare’s work. We couldn’t be happier to be extending that mission even further.”
The production will use a cast of just eight actors who will perform over 24 parts on a booth stage, with the play cut down to two hours and 40 minutes.
It has toured the UK, Europe and the US, and will set off round the world next April. It will finish two years later on the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. That date, 23 April 2016, will also mark the departure of Mr Dromgoole after a decade as artistic director.
In 1608, just five years after Hamlet was written, it was performed on a boat called the Red Dragon off the coast of Yemen. A decade later it toured Northern Europe.
Theatre director Peter Brook said there was “hardly a corner of the planet” where the start of one of Hamlet’s most famous soliloquys “To be or not to be” has not been translated.
He continued: “To take Hamlet in its original language around the world is a bold and dynamic project.”
The Globe has sought to expand Shakespeare’s reach and last year staged the Globe to Globe season as part of the Cultural Olympiad.
The programme saw 37 different companies perform each of Shakespeare’s plays in a different language over six weeks. The Globe said it attracted 110,000 people, 80 per cent of whom were first time visitors to the theatre.