The Globe’s worldwide Hamlet tour reaches midway in Madrid

Hamlet To Hamlet in Ethiopia. Image Helena Miscioscia
Hamlet To Hamlet in Ethiopia. Image Helena Miscioscia

The RSC may have announced plans for 2016 to tour China and the world, but The Globe’s ambitious Hamlet To Hamlet is already halfway there.

Shakespeare’s Globe reaches midpoint tomorrow in its unprecedented two-year global tour of Hamlet that will take the production to every country in the world.

Tomorrow night the company will perform at the Teatros del Canal in Madrid, celebrating 80,000 miles, 96 countries and over 150 shows.

The most recent leg of the tour took the company to Africa where they performed to over 3,000 audience members for one show in Sudan and were the first foreign company in 23 years to present a full play in Somaliland.

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

Hamlet was performed for free at Ethiopia’s National Theatre and at the National University of Rwanda. In March, the company performed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and at Ladi Emeruwa’s old school in Lagos, Nigeria.

While in Ghana the company ran a workshop with Theatre for Change, which work with groups of vulnerable and marginalised women and girls in Malawi and Ghana at risk of poor sexual health and gender inequality. The next leg of the tour will be to Asia and Australasia.

Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of The Globe and director of Hamlet said:

“With almost a hundred countries played in, the Hamlet tour has already proven one of the most astonishing theatrical adventures ever undertaken.

“Every date has been a highlight, and has revealed and extended the astonishing reach of Shakespeare’s very human genius. At this halfway point, we look forward to a short breather, and then packing our bags, and setting out to cover the next 100 countries. Long may Hamlet wander the earth.”

Naeem Hayat
Naeem Hayat

Naeem Hayat who plays Hamlet, said: “From performing with the aid of oxygen tanks backstage in La Paz, town squares, many a national theatre and even a few UNESCO world heritage sites, this tour is a constant surprise.

“The tour is not without its difficulties, travel is often exhausting, there are personal highs and lows and challenges along the way, but it always remains inspirational and unpredictable.

“Not many actors will be able to say they have played the story of Hamlet in every country on earth and it is this challenge and opportunity that forever keeps us in awe of the enormously privileged position we are in.

“We are lucky enough to see the adventurous spirit of theatre and what sharing it can mean to different people. This spirit is what we will carry with us for the next year as we continue on this unbelievable journey!”

On 10 April the company travelled to Harare, Zimbabwe, performing in the same theatre where former classical dancer and Globe steward Brian Allen once performed.

To support the tour and help raise funds, Brian is now swimming the English Channel and is tweeting about his training from @Swim4Hamlet.

Launched April 23, 2014 – the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth – the project has been granted UNESCO patronage for the tour’s engagement with local communities and promotion of cultural education.

It has also received the Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre from the UK Theatre Awards 2014 and the International Award in The Stage Awards 2015

Leave a Reply