The Globe sees the return of two Chinese companies from its hugely successful Globe to Globe festival of international Shakespeare this summer.
From July 20-25 the National Theatre of China will perform their Richard III in Mandarin.
And from August 17-23, the Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio from Hong Kong will stage their brand new production of Macbeth in Cantonese. Both productions will have scene synopses in English.
In 2012, the Globe invited theatre companies from around the world to stage all 37 of Shakespeare’s works in 37 different languages for the Globe to Globe festival, part of the Cultural Olympiad.
Since then, foreign companies have been invited back each summer to perform Shakespeare’s work in their own languages.
The last time the National Theatre of China visited the company lost all their intricate, colourful costumes in a cargo container en route to the UK.
Despite the setback the show was described as “spellbinding” and received a four-star review. This time Shakespeare’s ghoulish horror-show of power and paranoia will be performed in full costume.
Described as the ‘alchemist of minimalist theatre’, Hong Kong’s Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio works with pared-back staging, voice and movement to release the energies of classic texts.
The company marked their first visit to the UK in 2012 with a stylised interpretation of Shakespeare’s grisly tragedy Titus Andronicus.
Tom Bird, executive producer of the Globe Theatre, said: “The Globe has been engaged in a conversation with Chinese theatre artists since 2012, when the Globe to Globe festival included plays in both Mandarin and Cantonese.
“In 2014, our large-scale tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream travelled to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Hong Kong, incorporating traditional Chinese instruments into its musical score.
“We are thrilled that this dialogue continues in 2015, as our worldwide Hamlet tour visits China, and the National Theatre of China and Tang Shu-wing Studio return to the Globe, with two extraordinary shows that will appeal to British and Chinese audiences alike.”
The Globe to Globe Hamlet tour visits Shanghai on August 1, Beijing on August 5 and to Hong Kong in September.