To Be: Hamlet Goes Global with Kickstarter in Celebration of Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday

Globe to Globe Hamlet Actors

Today, on 23 April 2014, in celebration of the world-renowned bard William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, the Globe Theatre opens its most ambitious tour yet: a two-year world tour of Hamlet that will visit “every single country on earth.” With 20 days remaining on the Shakespeare’s Globe Kickstarter campaign, 610 backers have already pledged over £41,000 of the £200,000 goal. The tour will end on 23 April 2016, 400 years after Shakespeare’s death, after the extraordinary text is presented to a extraordinary number of people.

Backing this project will enable the famous Globe troupe to access global audiences. While many theaters will pay for performances, many tour fees remain to cover resource and travel expenses, including gratis or price reduced tickets: “It is [the Globe’s] belief that no matter what your financial circumstances, art should be accessible.”

According to Shakespeare’s Globe campaign,

“Sixteen men and women will travel by boat, train, 4X4, tall ship, bus and aeroplane across the seven continents, performing in a huge range of unique and atmospheric venues – from village squares to national theatres, from palaces to beaches. The production is a fresh, pared-down version of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of deferred revenge. The company of twelve actors and four stage managers will use a completely portable set to stage a Hamlet that celebrates all the exuberance and invention of Shakespeare’s language in a brisk two hours and forty minutes.”

Globe to Globe Hamlet on Kickstarter

The Globe to Globe Hamlet production will be directed by Dominic Dromgoole and Bill Buckhurst, designed by Jonathan Fensom and composed by Bill Barclay. Additional original music by Laura Forrest-Hay. The role of Hamlet will be shared by Ladi Emeruwa and Naeem Hayat. All other male and female parts will be played in rotation by Keith Bartlett, John Dougall, Miranda Foster, Phoebe Fildes, Beruce Khan, Tom Lawrence, Jennifer Leong, Rawiri Paratene, Matthew Romain and Amanda Wilkin.

When asked, “Why the world tour?” Dromgoole, the Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, responds, “In 1608, only five years after it was written, Hamlet was performed on a boat – the Red Dragon – off the coast of Yemen. Just ten years later it was being toured extensively all over Northern Europe. 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. By train, coach, plane and boat we aim to take this wonderful, iconic, multifarious play to as many fresh ears as we possibly can.”

When asked what he thought about the world tour, Globe Director Peter Brook answered: “The six simplest words in the English language are to be or not to be. There is hardly a corner of the planet where these words have not been translated. Even in English, those who can’t speak the language will at once recognise the sound and exclaim ‘Shakespeare!’ Hamlet is the most all encompassing of Shakespeare’s plays. Everyone, young or old can today find an immediate identification with its characters, their pains and their interrogations. To take Hamlet in its original language around the world is a bold and dynamic project. It can bring a rich journey of discovery to new audiences everywhere.”

Featured swag includes a signed tour poster for £250 pledges, an exclusive opportunity to meet the Hamlet cast at the tour’s end and name recognition in the tour’s programmes for £1000 pledges, an invitation to a private screening of “A Summer Hamlet” for £2500 pledges and, lastly, an authentic framed piece of the stage curtain (the Arras) for pledges of £5000 or more.

Kickstarter backers will determine if the Globe to Globe Hamlet campaign project is to be, by raising at least £200,000 by 14 May 2014.

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