Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: April 2020



To mark the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016, the summer season at Shakespeare’s Globe was billed as the ‘Wonder Season’. Emma Rice, the theatre’s first female artistic director, promised to kick-start a ‘new era’ of gender parity and performer and audience diversity – and of artificial lighting, amplified sound and livestreaming of productions that would reach new audiences free of charge. By the autumn, however, Lyn Gardner’s hopeful prediction of ‘the start of a great love affair’ under Rice’s leadership was headed towards a bitter divorce. At stake was what Kevin Quarmby describes as the ‘insidious political fundamentalism that infects Shakespeare theater productions worldwide’, which decried how ‘Rice’s installation of heavy duty sound and lighting ha[d] destroyed the shared space previously enjoyed by actors and audiences and the unique complicity between the groundlings and great actors’.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO