The Globe to stage 'Richard II' as its first televised production

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The Independent Culture

The first live television broadcast of a British theatre production is to take place at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on London's South Bank, with Mark Rylance starring in a performance of Richard II.

The historic broadcast is to feature interactive elements, with programme notes and details of the cast available on the screen. Cameras are to be placed among the audience in the Elizabethan-style theatre, which opened six years ago after being reconstructed in the image of the original playhouse, which was built in 1599.

The three-and-a-half hour broadcast will be presented by Andrew Marr and shown on the digital arts channel, BBC4.

During the interval, Marr will interview Zoë Wanamaker, whose father, Sam, devoted years to rebuilding the Globe. Viewers will also see the historian Michael Wood giving an historical context to the theatre and the play, as well as the actor Corin Redgrave talking about the famous performances of Richard II by his father, Sir Michael Redgrave.

The programme's producer, Alison Havel, said she was not concerned that the Globe had an open roof and that the audience and cast are exposed to the elements. "If it rains, it rains, and we carry on," she said. "And if we get aeroplanes or helicopters going overhead during the broadcast, then we will have to make a reference to it." Rylance has been consulted about having cameras at the performance on 7 September and is said to be "up for it".

Ms Havel said: "He agreed that the time had finally come to have cameras in there." During the production, viewers will be able to access notes on the play written by Matt Woolf, the theatre critic for Variety.

The BBC4 autumn schedule also includes a drama called Home, which is a challenging adaptation of J G Ballard's story, The Enormous Spacestarring Antony Sher, andThe Prince, The Showgirl and Me, a tale about Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe, based on the diaries of Colin Clark, the brother of Alan, the former Tory MP.