Shakespeare’s Globe announces ‘The Winter Selection’ in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

The Winter Selection

The Winter Selection

Shakespeare’s Globe has announced the 2017 winter season in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, entitled The Winter Selection.

The season opens with Romantics Anonymous, a new musical directed by Emma Rice, with book written by Emma Rice, lyrics by Christopher Dimond, and music by Michael Kooman, presented by special arrangement with Radio Mouse Entertainment. This will be followed by The Secret Theatre, a new play by Anders Lustgarten, directed by Matthew Dunster, and Apocalypse Meow: Crisis is Born, an alternative Christmas show from post-post-modern cabaret sensation Meow Meow.

The new year brings a new production of All’s Well That Ends Well, directed by Caroline Byrne, and The Captive Queen, a reimagining of John Dryden’s Restoration drama Aureng-zebe, directed by Barrie Rutter and co-produced with Northern Broadsides. The winter season closes with Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons – a reimagining, created by Gyre & Gimble and recomposed by Max Richter, and the return of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales, adapted and directed by Emma Rice, in co-production with Bristol Old Vic.

Emma Rice, Artistic Director, said: “I’ve always seen the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse as a little box of treats, encouraging the primal need to tell and hear stories and inviting tales and magic to unfurl beneath the flicker of the candles. For my final season as Artistic Director at the Globe, I knew I wanted to present the most delicious, unique and beautiful box of delights. The Winter Selection will take us to a singing chocolate factory in France, the inner sanctum of Elizabeth I’s court, the dark and dangerous world of All’s Well That Ends Well, the palaces of India, the emotional depths of Vivaldi, and the tender chaos of Meow Meow’s Christmas, before we tumble back down the rabbit hole with the return of The Little Matchgirl.”     

Opening 20 October, Romantics Anonymous is a new musical directed by Emma Rice, with book by Emma Rice, lyrics by Christopher Dimond, and music by Michael Kooman. Adapted from the French-Belgian film Les Émotifs Anonymes written by Jean-Pierre Améris and Philippe Blasband, the musical follows Angélique, a gifted chocolate maker inhibited by social anxiety, and Jean-René, the awkward boss of a struggling chocolate factory, in an unusual and tender love story about finding the courage to be happy. Romantics Anonymouswill be the final new production directed by Emma Rice as Artistic Director of the Globe.  Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman, whose previous musicals include Dani Girl and Judge Jackie and who are currently writing the score for an animated Disney television series, will be making their London professional debut as musical theater writers. Romantics Anonymous is presented by special arrangement with Radio Mouse Entertainment, a Tony Award-winning New York-based theatre and media production company that has been developing the project for the musical stage since 2014.

A new play by Anders Lustgarten, The Secret Theatre, opens 16 November, directed by the Globe’s Associate Director Matthew Dunster. As the nation’s relationship with Europe deteriorates and civil unrest grows, Elizabeth I’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, adopts extreme tactics to keep his queen and country safe. Set in a world of espionage, double-crossing and blackmail, The Secret Theatre asks what we are prepared to sacrifice to ensure our safety.

Anders Lustgarten is an award-winning playwright renowned for his bold approach to social and political questions. A long-standing political activist, he won the inaugural Harold Pinter Playwright’s Award for If You Don’t Let Us Dream We Won’t Let You Sleep (Royal Court). Commissioned as part of Soho Theatre’s Political Party Season, Lampedusa returned to Soho Theatre for a second run, transferred to HighTide Festival and toured in 2016. His latest play, The Seven Acts of Mercy, opened at the RSC to critical acclaim in 2016. Anders is developing original projects for television and radio.

Matthew Dunster is an Olivier Award-nominated director, a writer and actor. His recent directing credits include Imogen at the Globe, Hangmen (Royal Court and West End), Love’s Sacrifice (RSC), The Seagull (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Liberian Girl (Royal Court). This summer his adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities will premiere at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

On 20 December, Meow Meow returns to the Globe for a Christmas show like no other, Apocalypse Meow: Crisis is Born. Following her appearance in Emma Rice’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream last summer, the post-post-modern cabaret sensation brings her hilarious and heart-wrenching festive extravaganza to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. This untraditional Christmas show will combine moments of hare-brained hijinks with poignant and tender reflections on loneliness, lost dreams and the apocalypse. Conceived, created and performed by Meow Meow (with a little help from her friends), the show was originally commissioned by Southbank Centre. Meow Meow’s career has encompassed sell-out concerts at Lincoln Center New York and the Sydney Opera House.

Following her critically acclaimed The Taming of the Shrew at the Globe in 2016, Caroline Byrne will direct Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, opening 11 January 2018. Caroline was previously Associate Director at the Gate Theatre and her recent credits include Parallel Macbeth (Young Vic), Eclipsed (Gate Theatre) and Macbeth (Chapter Arts). She has also directed shows at the Bush Theatre, Project Theatre Dublin, and RSC Education. This summer she will direct Oliver Twist at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

In a co-production with Northern Broadsides, Barrie Rutter will direct The Captive Queen, a reimagining of John Dryden’s Restoration drama Aureng-zebe (1675). Opening 2 February 2018, The Captive Queen is set in the woollen mills of the North of England in the late 20th century, but retains a flavour of Dryden’s original Mughal Indian setting.

An ageing Emperor and his Governor rage at the loss of their youth and beauty, whilst two fratricidal sons are spurred from victory in war to the warfare of love. All four are besotted with the same captive queen. Artistic Director of Northern Broadsides, Barrie Rutter, will assemble a cast of British Asian actors for this wry exploration of the folly of old age, the allure of power, and the bewildering effects of lust and desire.

Following a career as an actor in the National Theatre and the RSC, Barrie founded Northern Broadsides in 1992. The multi-award-winning touring company is based in the historic Dean Clough Mill in West Yorkshire. The company has built up a formidable reputation, with a repertoire combining Shakespeare, European and English Classic plays, as well as new writing. Productions are noted for their distinctive northern voice, strong musicality and clear narrative journey. In 2003, Barrie won the Sam Wanamaker Award, and in 2015, he received an OBE for services to the arts.

Opening 9 March 2018, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons – a reimagining will be created by Gyre & Gimble’s master puppeteers, with Max Richter’s acclaimed musical reworking of the original masterpiece, newly arranged for a quintet of London’s finest musicians. This unprecedented collaboration will explore the crystalline acoustic and candlelit ambience of the playhouse.

Composer Max Richter is an accomplished pianist, producer and collaborator, and indisputably one of the most prolific contemporary musical artists. Gyre & Gimble place puppetry at the heart of storytelling. The company, founded by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié, former associate puppetry directors of War Horse, uses puppetry to create compelling characters and tell fantastical, improbable stories.

The season will come to a close with the return of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales, adapted and directed by Emma Rice, in co-production with Bristol Old Vic. Inspired by Andersen’s beautiful and devastating tale, and incorporating several of his other beloved stories – ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, ‘Thumbelina’, and ‘The Princess and the Pea’ – it is written by the award-winning Joel Horwood (I Caught Crabs in Walberswick, Mikey the Pikey, Food, I Heart Peterborough). After a triumphant run in 2016, the production will open on 27 March 2018.

Romantics Anonymous

Directed by Emma Rice

Book by Emma Rice, Lyrics by Christopher Dimond, Music by Michael Kooman

Based on the film Les Émotifs Anonymes written by Jean-Pierre Améris and Phillippe Blasband

Presented by special arrangement with Radio Mouse Entertainment

20 October 2017 – 6 January 2018

Press Night: Friday 27 October


The Secret Theatre

Directed by Matthew Dunster

16 November 2017 – 16 December 2017

Press Night: Wednesday 22 November


Apocalypse Meow: Crisis is Born (This show is recommended for ages 14+)

20 – 31 December 2017


All’s Well That Ends Well

Directed by Caroline Byrne

11 January – 3 March 2018

Press Night: Wednesday 17 January


The Captive Queen

Co-produced with Northern Broadsides, directed by Barrie Rutter

2 February – 4 March 2018

Press Night: Wednesday 7 February


Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons – a reimagining

Created by Gyre & Gimble

9 March – 21 April 2018

Press Night: Friday 16 March


The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales

Co-produced with Bristol Old Vic, directed by Emma Rice

27 March – 21 April 2018


Assisted Performances

  • Romantics Anonymous: Relaxed – 2 Dec; Captioned – 5 Dec; AD – 9 Dec
  • The Secret Theatre: Relaxed – 6 Dec; Captioned – 12 Dec; AD – 16 Dec
  • All’s Well That Ends Well: Captioned – 27 Jan and 20 Feb; Relaxed – 15 Feb; AD – 3 March
  • The Captive Queen: Captioned – 28 Feb; AD – 1 March
  • Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons – a reimagining: Captioned – 10 April; AD – 15 April; Relaxed – 17 April
  • The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales: AD – 7 April; Relaxed – 14 April; Captioned – 19 April