Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare’s Globe’


British Sign Language at Shakespeare’s Globe

June 5, 2018
Photo Tristram Kenton .png
Nadia Nadarajah as Celia and Jack Laskey as Rosalind in As You Like It at Shakespeare’s Globe. Image credit: Tristram Kenton

Having recently watched A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed in German by the Deutsches Nationaltheater, and Pericles staged in French by Cheek by Jowl, it was something of a novelty to see As You Like It performed in English at Shakespeare’s Globe last month. I was there with a group of English Literature undergraduates from Cardiff University, which felt nicely appropriate given that the play is one of the Globe’s opening productions under the new artistic directorship of Michelle Terry, herself an English Literature alumna from Cardiff University. I say this was an English language performance of As You Like It, but it would perhaps be more accurate to call it a bilingual production, on account of the inspired casting of the wonderful Deaf actor Nadia Nadarajah and the interweaving of British Sign Language with Shakespeare’s text. Michelle Terry has said that diversity is an important part of her artistic vision for the Globe, and she has shown her commitment to gender blind, race blind and disability blind casting. And yet, the integration of British Sign Language into the Globe’s As You Like It was so effective that it went beyond questions of access and inclusivity, instead becoming an integral part of the performance.

Written and first performed around the year 1599, Shakespeare’s As You Like It features Rosalind, daughter of the exiled Duke, who falls in love with Orlando. Banished from her usurping uncle’s court, she disguises herself as a boy and escapes into the pastoral Forest of Arden with her cousin, Celia, and Touchstone, the clown. In the Globe production, Nadia Nadarajah takes the role of Celia, and Rosalind is played brilliantly by Jack Laskey. In Shakespeare’s play, the loving rapport between the two female cousins who have grown up together since childhood is established from the very beginning, and is integral to the plot. In the Globe production, this sisterly relationship has new life breathed into it through the wordless intimacy of British Sign Language. It is not the first time that the Globe has translated Shakespeare into British Sign Language. In 2012, Love’s Labour’s Lost was performed by Deafinitely Theatre, the UK’s leading Deaf theatre company, as part of a festival designed to celebrate Shakespeare across linguistic borders. The Artistic Director and co-founder of Deafinitely Theatre, Paula Garfield, has written eloquently about the challenges of translating Shakespeare into British Sign Language.

In the 2012 production, Nadia Nadarajah played the Princess of France, and she is equally mesmerising in As You Like It as Rosalind’s companion, Celia. Both her facial expressions and body language are immensely expressive, and there was plenty of laughter from the audience at the physical comedy of translating Shakespeare into visual metaphors. But it is the relationship between Nadarajah’s Celia and Laskey’s Rosalind that is at the emotional heart of this production. Their rapid exchanges in British Sign Language are incredibly moving and speak volumes as to the intuitive closeness of their rapport. By incorporating British Sign Language into the performance, Shakespeare’s Globe’s As You Like It also enriches many of the play’s other themes. This is after all a play which explores the means and limitations of social communication. Indeed, from Orlando’s shy inability to speak to Rosalind after the wrestling tournament, to the ridiculous love poetry he later hangs on the trees in the Forest of Arden, the figures on stage are often to be found grappling with the difficulties of meaningful interaction. Yet, in spite of the many complications, As You Like It also presents us with striking examples of identification and sympathy across boundaries. In the forest, for instance, the melancholy Jacques weeps with pity over the hunted deer, while the exiled Duke offers Adam and Orlando the unquestioning hospitality that they have been denied at court. More than other productions of the play that I have seen, the Globe’s As You Like It encourages its audience members to reflect critically on speech and silence, and how we express ourselves in different ways, and surely this can only be a good thing.

Dr Sophie Emma Battell teaches English Literature at Cardiff University. She is currently working on a monograph on hospitality in Shakespeare’s theatre.



Job Vacancy: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Shakespeare’s Globe

September 16, 2013

Globe Education is seeking a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow to investigate performance practice in the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and to provide teaching support for its Higher Education programme.

Full Time / Fixed Term – 24 Months

To apply, please send a covering letter and your Curriculum Vitae explaining your suitability for the post and the names of two referees to Rob Norman, Human Resources Manager at

Application Deadline: 5pm on Friday, 27th September 2013

Job Description

Visit the website here.



September 19, 2011

From Shakespeare’s Globe:

“In 1603 moralist, Henry Crosse, described what happens to spectators while attending   a play: ‘for at a Play the whole faculty of the mind is altogether bent on delight; the eye earnestly fixed upon the object, every sense busied for the time, the ear narrowly waiteth to catch that [w]hat is uttered, sending it to wit’.

For Renaissance writers and thinkers, the senses were ordered in a hierarchy with the ‘princely’ senses of sight and hearing at the top, smell in the middle and the ‘sinful’ senses of taste and touch at the bottom. But despite this popular ordering of the senses, many playwrights and artists privileged the senses of taste and touch over the others.

This season, Globe Education will celebrate the senses by exploring how in Shakespeare’s time, they were imagined to be crucial gateways to the external world.”

Professor Richard Wilson from Cardiff University will be speaking at the Globe conference below:


Friday 4 – Sunday 6 November

Globe Education has gathered together a range of distinguished scholars and theatre practitioners to investigate the early modern culture of the senses as it pertains to the worlds of medicine, epistemology, music, performance, science, clothing and art. In addition to plenary lectures there will be panels and practical sessions on hearing, sight, smell, touch, taste and proprioception (the sixth sense). Speakers include: Dr Margaret Healy (Sussex), Professor Katherine Duncan-Jones (Oxford) Professor David Lindley (Leeds), Professor Ayana Thompson (ASU), Professor William West (Northwestern), Dr P.A. Skantze (Roehampton), Professor Richard Wilson (Cardiff), Dr Lucy Munro (Keele), Dr Eric Langley (Royal Holloway), Tom Cornford (Director), Professor Jonathan Hope (Strathclyde), Professor Patricia Cahill (Emory), Professor Lara Farina (West Virginia), Dr Katharine Craik (Oxford Brookes), Professor Benedict S. Robinson (Stonybrook), Professor Hristomir Stanev (Louisville).

The conference at the Globe will address three issues: first, the Renaissance theory of the senses and how its discourses impacted upon the imagination of the early modern playwright; second, the relationship between the senses and medicine in relationship to humoural psychology and the actor’s body; third, the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatres (outdoor and indoor) as multi-sensory producing spaces and the effects of performance upon the senses. In addition, this conference will address ways in which the senses can be integrated pedagogically into the university classroom in English and Theatre studies programmes. Scholars from a variety of disciplines (history, psychology, theatre, and English) will address these questions through scholarly papers and workshops (pedagogical and theatrical).  Finally, this conference hopes to revise the view that early modern theatre was either a place for ‘seeing’ or ‘hearing’; rather, play-going in this period was a multi-sensory experience involving a complex integration of all of the senses, which are called upon throughout a Shakespearean play.


Nancy W. Knowles Lecture Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe



Shakespeare’s Globe at Cardiff Cinema

July 10, 2011

Coming to cinemas from June this year, you can experience Shakespeare as if you are there — front row and intense. Four plays, captured during 2010’s ‘Kings and Rogues’ season will feature in the series, including Roger Allam’s Olivier Award-winning performance as Falstaff in Henry IV.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Henry IV Part 1 25th July

Henry IV Part 2 18th August

Henry VIII 15th September

For information about each screening, and details on where you can see these performances in cinemas, click on the links above.


Visit the Globe website here


Indoor Jacobean Theatre

January 22, 2011

From Globe Website:

Shakespeare’s Globe is planning to build an indoor Jacobean theatre to complement our world-famous open-air stage. The shell of this theatre already exists to the left of the Globe’s main foyer entrance. Shakespeare wrote for both types of playhouse and it was always the intention of Sam Wanamaker to create an indoor Jacobean theatre alongside the outdoor theatre.

It is only now that we are ready to build this second theatre. It will follow authentic designs and craftsmanship of the period to create a theatre that Shakespeare would recognise. With two tiers of galleried seating and a pit seating area, the indoor theatre will inspire a uniquely intimate and intense theatre experience.

The Winter Season

The indoor theatre will provide a second stage, allowing theatre productions to play throughout the winter, widening the Globe’s repertoire and further extending the understanding of the nature of Jacobean theatre. The new theatre will host a number of visiting companies and could become one of the most important venues for the performance of early music in the capital.

Playing in a period-appropriate indoor space will add a new dimension to the tragedies of contemporary writers such as Middleton and Webster, and to the sharp city comedies that would have been so relevant to the Jacobean public. It is also an exciting prospect that we will have a space for staging works that have not been seen since their seventeenth century premieres.

Find out more from the Globe website here.

Read BBC NEWS article on this story and multilingual Shakespeare here.

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