Shakespeare's new London playhouse to open without the Bard

Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:50pm EDT
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters) - A new playhouse attached to Shakespeare's Globe theatre in London announced its inaugural season on Monday, but there was no room for a single work by the Bard.

Instead the opening lineup at the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, named after the American director who pioneered the main Globe, will feature three Jacobean plays including John Webster's bloodfest "The Duchess of Malfi".

Also part of the program in the tiny red brick building adjacent to the Globe will be a new youth company and a collaboration with the Royal Opera House.

"In time we will perform the plays of Shakespeare in there, but we could not be more delighted than to be opening this theatre with three such shining jewels from this time - a macabre tragedy, a riotous comedy and a beautiful philosophical satire," artistic director Dominic Dromgoole told reporters.

Dromgoole will direct Webster's Malfi first, followed by the anarchic comedy "The Knight of the Burning Pestle" by Francis Beaumont and a production of John Marston's "The Malcontent" by the newly created youth company.

The new playhouse will also collaborate with Britain's Royal Opera to put on 17th century Italian composer Francesco Cavalli's "L'Ormindo".

"It's going to be astonishingly small, incredibly intimate with 360 people packed into a very tiny space," Dromgoole said at a briefing in the Globe's sleekly refurbished foyer.

Royal Opera's director of opera Kasper Holten said he jumped at the chance to bring Cavalli to the new theatre on London's South Bank, which launches its opening season in January, 2014.   Continued...