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Such Stuff: The Shakespeare's Globe Podcast

Such Stuff goes behind the scenes at Shakespeare's Globe, sharing the incredible stories and experiences that come through our doors every day. We'll be exploring the big themes behind all of the work that we do here and asking: what is Shakespeare's transformative impact on the world?

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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S1 Ep4: The ensemble experiment

This week on Such Stuff, we go behind the scenes with the Globe Ensemble and ask: what happens when any person can play any character, and what do audiences make of this? Director Federay Holmes and Research Fellow Dr Will Tosh explain the inspiration behind the ensemble, and how Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men were radical before their time… They also talk about casting, gender swapping and giving actors parts they can really play.  Actor Shubham Saraf talks us through the rehearsal room, and asks whether audiences are ready to see his Ophelia, and Michelle Terry sits down with Jack Laskey to talk Hamlet and Rosalind, and whether gender really plays a role in playing these roles.

38mins

13 Sep 2018

Rank #1

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S1 Ep6: Shakespeare and race

This week on Such Stuff, we follow up on our first ever Shakespeare and Race festival, and ask: what does it mean to be a person of colour and study, teach, perform and read Shakespeare?  Our own Dr Farah Karim-Cooper sat down with Professor Ayanna Thompson, to hear her thoughts on casting Shakespeare here and in the US, and follow up on her controversial proposition that Othello is an irredeemable play.  Keith Hamilton-Cobb brings us extracts of his solo play American Moor, which was part of the Shakespeare and Race festival, and which examines the experience and perspective of black men in America through the metaphor of Shakespeare’s Othello.  Farah talks to actor Aaron Pierre, currently playing Cassio in Othello, about performing to Globe audiences, and how he sees the role of Cassio. Finally, Farah spoke to Leaphia Darko, performing in Love’s Labour’s Lost, about her experiences of studying and performing Shakespeare and classical theatre at drama school.

35mins

28 Sep 2018

Rank #2

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S3 Ep9: What country, friends, is this?

As Brexit rumbles on to an uncertain end, we take a look back at the theatrical experiment we’ve been running alongside the country’s political one, to stage Shakespeare’s cycle of history plays, with their all-too familiar political turmoil, ambitious personalities and treacherous behaviour. We revisit interviews with some of our Henriad companies broadcast earlier in the season; in particular, the women of colour who have brought fresh voices to these stories and roles, bringing to life new ideas about our collective past. We’ll be asking: what is this sceptr’ed isle now? Why is it important to interrogate and keep interrogating our own history, as well as Shakespeare’s version of it? How can the plays act as a kaleidoscope through which to view, to understand and to question our own society?

31mins

13 Sep 2019

Rank #3

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S2 Ep7: Who is Shakespeare for?

In this episode of Such Stuff, we tackle the aura of inaccessibility around Shakespeare, and the preconceptions that the plays are too hard, irrelevant or elitist, asking our guests: who is Shakespeare for? We chat to Darren Raymond, artistic director of Intermission Theatre, whose own experiences around Shakespeare persuaded him to use Shakespeare in the Intermission Youth Theatre programme to get kids to devise work around both the plays and the issues affecting their own lives. We catch up with a group of teenagers who came to see our Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production of Romeo and Juliet in the Globe Theatre about what they can and can’t relate to in the play. And actor Lewis Bray tells us about approaching Shakespeare with dyslexia, and how hip hop helped him to unlock the text.

35mins

12 Apr 2019

Rank #4

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S3 Ep10: Something wicked this way comes... again

It’s Halloween at the Globe! We searched the Globe high and low for all things superstitious and spooky… We go behind the scenes with the upcoming production of Macbeth, chatting to director Rob Hastie about witches, superstitions and saying the name of the Scottish Play.  We go Globe ghost hunting with Access Manager David Bellwood, and discover incredible ghost stories and urban legends, old and new, from the Globe and beyond.  Prosthetics artist Suzi Battersby tells us how to make a severed head, and about the weirdest prosthetic prop she’s ever made for theatre.

28mins

31 Oct 2019

Rank #5

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S3 Ep2: Remembering Sam Wanamaker

Sam Wanamaker was an American actor and director, and the visionary behind Shakespeare’s Globe. He founded the Globe project in 1970, and worked tirelessly for decades against setbacks, funding struggles and court cases to build the Globe theatre we sit in today.   In the run up to the centenary of Sam’s birth, we chat to our Director of Education Patrick Spottiswoode – who has been part of the Globe team since 1984 – about Sam’s remarkable story.

16mins

6 Jun 2019

Rank #6

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S1 Ep8: The past and the present

In this episode of Such Stuff, we take a closer look at history plays, old and new, asking: why do we turn to the history play at times of crisis and why do they continue to speak so deeply to our contemporary fears and anxieties? We go behind the scenes with the company of Eyam as they explore the village, and speak to writer Matt Hartley about why it was so important to tell this extraordinary story now, and in the ‘civic space’ of the Globe theatre.  Michelle Terry gives us a sneak preview of what to expect from next year’s summer season, and Research Fellow and lecturer Dr Will Tosh digs deeper into Shakespeare’s history plays, when we reach for them and why, with Professor Lucy Munro.

24mins

11 Oct 2018

Rank #7

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S2 Ep5: International Women's Day

In this episode of Such Stuff, we celebrate International Women’s Day. Taking a look at our own work, and a wider look across the industry, we talk to brilliant women from across the theatre industry and ask: how far has theatre come in the drive for equality and inclusion, and how much further do we have to go? And what is it, right now – on and off our stages – that give us hope that by International Women’s Day next year, we will have pushed the conversation even further… We hear from playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, who just won the Susan Smith Blackburn prize, the oldest playwriting prize in the world with an all-female shortlist; Clare Perkins, who is returning to the role of Emilia in the West End, talks inspiring women and changing the world one play at a time; fight director Yarit Dor talks us through a career in a discipline that was until recently seen as typically masculine territory; Dr Farah Karim-Cooper, our Head of Higher Education and Research, takes us through the upcoming festival Women and Power, and why we need it now. And our very own artistic director Michelle Terry, talks about the huge structural changes we need across the industry, and how we’re getting the ball rolling here at Shakespeare’s Globe.

41mins

8 Mar 2019

Rank #8

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S1 Ep10: Something wicked this way comes

It’s Halloween at the Globe! We searched the Globe high and low for all things superstitious and spooky… We go behind the scenes with the upcoming production of Macbeth, chatting to director Rob Hastie about witches, superstitions and saying the name of the Scottish Play.  We go Globe ghost hunting with Access Manager David Bellwood, and discover incredible ghost stories and urban legends, old and new, from the Globe and beyond.  Prosthetics artist Suzi Battersby tells us how to make a severed head, and about the weirdest prosthetic prop she’s ever made for theatre.

28mins

31 Oct 2018

Rank #9

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S2 Ep3: Pride, Then and Now

In this episode of Such Stuff, we go behind the scenes with the Pride, Then and Now festival, asking how we perform sexuality, and how sexuality is performed, shining a light on queer narratives from the early modern period too often overlooked. Writer and actor Tom Stuart talks about his new play After Edward, a response to Marlowe’s Edward II, in which he is also playing the titular role. Globe Research Fellow Dr Will Tosh delves into the life of Christopher Marlowe, and other writers from the period whose work touches on queer themes. And we chat to curator Sarah Grange and drag king Wesley Dykes, two of the team behind Moll and the Future Kings, an improv drag king cabaret by candlelight in our very own Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. They tell us about the extraordinary life of 17th century cross-dressing criminal Moll Frith. Plus, poems from early modern writers Richard Barnfield and Katherine Philips.

29mins

7 Feb 2019

Rank #10

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S3 Ep5: Mirrors and windows

This week on the podcast we chat disability and performance, asking how we increase representation on our stages, taking a look at the characters and parts we see – and often, don’t see – performed, and asking whether theatre should act as a mirror, to see yourself in, or a window, to see someone else’s view on the world. We’re joined by actor and campaigner Nadia Albina, actor, performer and researcher Jessi Parrott and actor, performer and comedian Dougie Walker.

53mins

18 Jul 2019

Rank #11

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S3 Ep8: The fun of the fair

For centuries, Bartholomew Fair was held on the 24 August in the heart of London, and people flocked to the notorious streets of Smithfield for the fair, famous for its lawlessness, depravity and general merriment. Ben Jonson’s play Bartholomew Fair brings a cast of characters from across London together in a snapshot of London life. But the raucous comedy has a dark side, and its exploration of class, social standing and just deserts has as much to say now as it did then. It’s about to land in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, brought up to date for 2019. We went behind the scenes with the company – director Blanche McIntyre and actors Zach Wyatt, Josh Lacey and Richard Katz – to find out more about Bartholomew Fair and Londoner’s past and present, and to ask how much has really changed since Jonson’s Londoners partied in the streets of Smithfield?

23mins

23 Aug 2019

Rank #12

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S3 Ep6: Radical optimism

In an age of political antagonism and, all too often, despair, is being optimistic and hopeful about the future a truly radical act? Shakespeare’s comedies throw their protagonists into confusion, despair and any number of hilarious hare-brained incidents. In true Shakespearean style, as much as there is comedy, darkness is never too far from the surface. But it all comes right in the end. We sat down with the Globe’s Associate Artistic Director to ask what his idea of ‘radical optimism’ means in his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and as a political act at this moment in our culture and society.

14mins

26 Jul 2019

Rank #13

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S3 Ep11: Christmas at the (snow) Globe

It’s Christmas at the (Snow) Globe! It’s that time of year again: the frost is settling on the thatched roof, the decorations have gone up… and all the joy of a Danish family Christmas is about to arrive at the Globe. We caught up with Sandi and Jenifer Toksvig to find out more about their very special show, Christmas at the (Snow) Globe, where audiences will have to help our merry gang find the stolen magic of Christmas, and return it to the Globe…  We also travel back in time with Dr Will Tosh to the frosty winter of 1607/8, when the river Thames froze solid. As midwinter approaches, we’ve retreated into the warm glow of candlelight. We head backstage in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse with Cleo, our Candle Technician, to find out how we get through hundreds of candles a day. Finally, we’ve been digging around the archives to find you a festive poem from Jacobean England.

23mins

16 Dec 2019

Rank #14

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S2 Ep6: This sceptred isle

In this episode of Such Stuff, as the country is in the midst of political paralysis and constitutional crisis over Brexit, we take this moment to look backwards to Shakespeare’s moment and beyond, and forwards to an unknown future, to ask: what is ‘this sceptred isle’?  Over the course of this year, Shakespeare's Globe will present a cycle of Shakespeare’s History Plays. What do these plays say about who we are as a nation? And more importantly, who we want to be? What role does art and theatre have to play in challenging the way society looks and reflecting the country we might want to live in?  We speak to the co-director and star of Richard II, Adjoa Andoh, about the significance of this production, the first ever all women of colour Shakespeare production on a major UK stage, and how the way they’re presenting the show re-examines what – and who – this England, this ‘sceptred isle’, might represent… We chat to our artistic director Michelle Terry about about that relationship between past and present in the Globe Theatre at this moment in our history.  And we catch up with members of our Globe Ensemble, who will be presenting Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V on the Globe stage this summer, about the particular version of an English past that the history plays are often associated with, and how you go about examining them with fresh eyes.

33mins

29 Mar 2019

Rank #15

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S1 Ep5: Bonus: Composing for the ensemble

Composer and Globe Music Associate James Maloney takes us behind the scenes on how to compose the music for two shows in just ten weeks, when you can’t write a single note before you get into the rehearsal room… how do you go about composing as an ensemble, and how do you hold your nerve to the very last minute? Featuring music from the Globe Ensemble’s production of Hamlet.

8mins

20 Sep 2018

Rank #16

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S3 Ep7: Dark side of the dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a play we come back to again and again, the irreverent story of lovers, royalty, fairies and actors crossing paths in a forest outside Athens is full of riotous comedy and lilting poetry, bringing midsummer madness to life. But like all Shakespeare plays, underneath the frothing fun is a dark underbelly. So, this week on the podcast, we go behind the scenes with our company and ask: what’s the dark side to Shakespeare’s comedies? Is Shakespeare misogynistic? And as 21st century theatre-goers, what do we make of the misogyny in Shakespeare?

40mins

9 Aug 2019

Rank #17

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S2 Ep4: Love and hate prevail

In this episode of Such Stuff, we go behind the scenes with Romeo and Juliet. A Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production, this fast-paced 90-minute version is designed with a teenage audience in mind. Over four weeks, around 25,000 school children will see the production, and over 18,000 of them for free.  We go behind the scenes with director Michael Oakley, and actors Nathan Welsh and Charlotte Beaumont who are playing Romeo and Juliet, to ask: is there such a thing as making Shakespeare ‘relevant’ to young people? Why should Shakespeare be seen and performed, and not just read? And are love and hate two sides of the same coin? We also catch up with some of our future audience members, teenagers who will be coming to see Romeo and Juliet, to see what they think of Shakespeare and what they expect from the show.

16mins

21 Feb 2019

Rank #18

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S3 Ep1: Women and Power

In the first episode of Season 3 of Such Stuff, we go behind the scenes with the Women and Power festival. As women take to the Globe stage to play the traditionally male roles of King Henry V, Falstaff and Hotspur, we ask what the relationship is between women and power. What does it mean to occupy spaces and roles that have been predominantly male and predominantly white? How can the voices that came before us inspire us moving forwards? Is there a backlash to the progress we’ve made? And what might the relationship between women and power look like in future?  We hear from Sarah Amankwah, who is playing King Henry V in the Globe’s history plays about what it means to take on the role as a woman and a woman of colour. We chat to classicist Donna Zuckerberg, whose book Not All Dead White Men, delves into the murky, misogynistic online world of the alt-right. And we sit down with Claire Van Kampen to talk about the progress she’s seen when it comes to the relationship between women and power in her lengthy career across the arts. And as we move forwards, we look to the women who came before us, with an extract imagining the life of Shakespeare’s sister from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

44mins

23 May 2019

Rank #19

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S4 Ep1: Notes to the Forgotten She-Wolves

In this episode, we go behind the scenes with Notes to the Forgotten She-Wolves, a special series of events honouring women and non-binary people from history who have been forgotten, misremembered or erased.   We chat to Producer Matilda James and Literary Manager Jessica Lusk about commissioning the twenty writers who have dedicated notes to these women. And we chat to three of the writers – Janet Le Lacheur, Amanda Wilkin and Philippa Gregory – about the women they’ve chosen and what it means to give them their voices back.   We’ll also be asking: why are these stories still so resonant today, what does it mean to create a new collective of voices, and how does resurrecting the past help us to see our futures clearly?  #VoicesInTheDark

35mins

7 Feb 2020

Rank #20