The Globe’s Hamlet world tour gets UNESCO patronage

Some of the Globe to Globe Hamlet company. Photo by Bronwen Sharp.
Some of the Globe to Globe Hamlet company. Photo by Bronwen Sharp.

Shakespeare’s Globe has said that its Globe to Globe Hamlet, an ambitious two-year tour to every country in the world, has been granted UNESCO patronage.

Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of the Globe and director of Hamlet, said: “Globe to Globe Hamlet was created with the aim of performing Hamlet to as many people as possible, in as diverse a range of places as possible.

“The central principle of the tour is that Shakespeare can entertain and speak to anyone, no matter where they are on earth; and that no country or people are not better off for the lively presence of Hamlet”.

Dominic Dromgoole

The last few weeks of 2014 will see Hamlet travel across South America, with a lone performance at the tour’s final Caribbean island, Trinidad and Tobago, which will mark one quarter of the tour complete.

In South America the company will perform in beautiful old theatres in Panama, Ecuador and Peru; at the Centro Cultural Chacao in Venezuela.

The play will also travel to Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in conjunction with the Gandarela Institute, the organisation building a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe in Minas Gerais; and to the culturally vibrant cities of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Asuncion, Paraguay.

Since the tour began on 23 April 2014, Hamlet has played in 50 countries to 50,000 people across Europe, North and Central America, and the Caribbean.

The tour’s second leg saw performances in front of an international audience at the United Nations in New York, at the oldest theatre in Central America, the majestic Teatro Nacional de El Salvador.

It has played outside, on the banks of the St Lawrence River, in Canada; in Antigua and Barbuda; on a mountainside in Guatemala; in St Kitts and Nevis, where the Hamlet company became the first international theatre group to perform on the island; and in Poland, where the company was invited to open the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre.

The tour second leg culminated with a performance in Kazakhstan, amongst the futuristic architecture of Astana.

UNESCO patronage has been granted to Globe to Globe Hamlet in recognition of the tour’s engagement with local communities and promotion of cultural education.

In Belize the company played to an audience of local children, and in Jamaica and St Vincent & the Grenadines to students from local schools.

Proceeds from the evening performance in Belize were donated to the Lifeline Foundation, which delivers food, medicine, and other necessities to children in poverty.

In Jamaica all proceeds went to fund scholarships and grants for students of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

The company put on free performances in both the Dominican Republic and in Mexico; where Hamlet was staged in the shadow of Yucatán Cathedral, built the year before Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, to a crowd of over 2000 people.

At the 2014 UK Theatre Awards, Shakespeare’s Globe was awarded The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre, for its touring programme including Globe to Globe Hamlet.

The role of Hamlet is shared by Ladi Emeruwa and Naeem Hayat. All other male and female parts are 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.

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