British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Shakespeare Globe Player Goes Live

In November 2014 Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre launched its new video on-demand platform. Emma Draper provides an overview of the service that now offers more than 50 titles to view.

About the author: Emma Draper is the Press & PR Manager at the Globe Theatre.
Telephone: 020 7902 1491

In early November, Shakespeare’s Globe became the first theatre in the world to offer its own dedicated video-on-demand platform, Globe Player – Over 50 productions are currently available to stream or download, and we will continue to add to the collection – The Duchess of Malfi starring Gemma Arterton, Lucy Bailey’s spectacularly harrowing Titus Andronicus and Samuel Adamson’s joyous celebration of Purcell’s London, Gabriel, are all still to come in the next few months.

A passion for making Shakespeare’s astonishing plays as widely accessible as possible is in the Globe’s DNA. The cheap ‘groundling’ tickets were a cornerstone of Sam Wanamaker’s vision of the reconstructed Globe back in 1997, and to this day we offer hundreds of standing tickets to each and every performance for just £5. In our beautiful ‘wooden O’ on the side of the Thames, hundreds of thousands of people a year see world-class Shakespeare for the price of a sandwich, just a few feet away from the actors. Since 2007, we’ve also been extending our reach beyond London’s Bankside, taking touring productions out into the world in the pared-down, fleet-of-foot style of Renaissance touring theatre (Shakespeare’s own company roamed widely around Northern Europe, taking his plays to eager audiences in Frankfurt, Vienna, Prague, Riga and beyond). Our wildly popular tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream recently finished in Beijing, having played fifteen cities in seven countries across Russia and Asia. Our worldwide tour of Hamlet continues its madcap dash across the earth – at the time of writing the company is travelling from Brazil to Venezuela. They have visited 63 countries since 23 April 2014. All over the world, we have found an enormous appetite for Shakespeare – and particularly Shakespeare the way the Globe does it: allowing the plays to speak for themselves rather than cluttering them with concept; letting those extraordinary stories simply unfold on a big open stage, without elaborate sets or props; always striving to make even the most complex, bombastic speeches intelligible and human.

Stephen Fry as Malvolio in Shakespeare's Globe production of Twelfth Night in 2012 (image: Simon Annand).

Stephen Fry as Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Globe production of Twelfth Night in 2012 (image: Simon Annand).

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