Shakespeare’s Globe welcome back two Chinese companies from the hugely successful Globe to Globe festival of international Shakespeare this summer. From 20 to 25 July, the National Theatre of China will perform their Richard III in Mandarin. Then from 17 to 23 August, 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.
Following their first visit to the UK during the 2012 festival, the National Theatre of China will once again present their Richard III in Mandarin. Despite the company losing all their intricate, colourful costumes in a cargo container en route to the UK, the show was described as “spellbinding” by The Arts Desk and received a four-star review from The Guardian. This time in full costume, Shakespeare’s ghoulish horrorshow of power and paranoia will play four performances only from Monday 20 July.
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 with a beautifully stylised interpretation of Shakespeare’s grisly tragedy Titus Andronicus as part of the Globe to Globe festival; they return on Monday 17 August with the world première of their brand new production of Macbeth.
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.”
Shakespeare’s Globe will be taking its unprecedented Globe to Globe Hamlet tour to the Daguan Theatre in Shanghai on 1 August, the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing on 5 August and to the Lyric Theatre at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts on 4 September.