Joan of Arc to be portrayed as non-binary in new Globe Theatre production, I, Joan

Production will ‘question the gender binary’

Isobel Lewis
Friday 12 August 2022 10:50 BST
Patrick Stewart reads Shakespeare's Sonnet 1

Joan of Arc will be portrayed as a non-binary character in a new production at Shakespeare’s Globe.

The French heroine, known for fearlessly leading the French in battles against English soldiers in the Hundred Years War, will be played by non-binary actor Isobel Thom in I, Joan.

The script for the play, which opens at the historic theatre this month, has been altered to change the pronouns of the French patron saint.

The production has been described as “powerful and joyous”, with artistic director Michelle Terry saying it will “question the gender binary” and “offer the possibility of another point of view”.

“For centuries, Joan has been a cultural icon portrayed in countless plays, books, films, etc,” she said.

“History has provided countless and wonderful examples of Joan portrayed as a woman. This production is simply offering the possibility of another point of view. That is the role of theatre: to simply ask the question, ‘Imagine if?’”

A painting of French patron saint Joan of Arc

Terry continued: “Theatres produce plays, and in plays, anything can be possible. Shakespeare did not write historically accurate plays. He took figures of the past to ask questions about the world around him.

“Shakespeare was not afraid of discomfort, and neither is the Globe.”

A statement on The Globe’s website affirmed that it was “committed to becoming an inclusive and diverse organisation” willing to make “necessary change”.

“We aim to create a culture and environment in which everyone’s experience at Shakespeare’s Globe is equal, inclusive, and equitable,” it read.

I, Joan will run at the Globe from 25 August to 22 October.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in