London’s World Shakespeare Festival Features Performances in Spanish and Portuguese

By 29 April, 2012

“Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises”

So says Caliban, the colonised antagonist of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Forming part of 2012’s Cultural Olympiad, The World Shakespeare Festival sees our little island filled with the noises of a variety of tongues, as some of the world’s foremost theatre companies come to London to interpret the plays of Britain’s most famous playwright.

In amongst the 30+ nations that will be represented in the beautiful setting of the The Globe theatre are some of the finest companies from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Spain.


Henry IV, Part 1 – May 14th and 15th – Mexican Spanish
The Globe Theatre

The first Latin group to raise the curtain as part of the Globe to Globe festival will be Mexico’s Compañia Nacional de Teatro. The company, created in 1977 and restructured in 2008 by the artistic director Luis de Tavira, is one of the leading cultural institutions in Mexico. Whilst the names and places featured in Henry VI are British, the themes of corruption, rebellion, the folly of youth and the chance for redemption are universal. The festival gives us a tremendous opportunity to see hot young Mexican director Hugo Arrevillaga’s take on all the above.


Henry IV, Part 2 – May 15th and 16th – Argentine Spanish
The Globe Theatre

Following on from where Part 1 left off, Part 2 continues the theme of a protagonist following his destiny, grappling to live up to his father’s billing in a society infected with fierce disunity. Described as “one of Argentina’s most influential and controversial directors”, Ruben Szuchmacher brings a new take on one of Shakespeare’s more underrated pieces. The Buenos Aires-based co-operative bringing this production to London, Elfalka Espacio Teatral, take great pride in their independence from the state and form part of the Argentine Association of Independent Theatre (Artei).


Romeo and Juliet – May 19th and 20th – Brazilian Portuguese
The Globe Theatre

One of Latin America’s greatest contemporary theatre companies taking on Shakespeare’s most famous play, this has the potential to be something special. Grupo Galpão take the classic tale of star-crossed lovers and add a Brazilian carnivalesque style, bringing circus, music, dance and Brazilian folklore to the theatre. Starting out with links to street theatre, Grupo Galpão has grown during the past 27 years to be one of the points of reference for theatre in Brazil. The only participants of this summer’s festival to have previously played at The Globe, all we need to hope is that they bring the Brazilian weather to complete The Globe’s open-air set.


Two Roses for Richard III – May 18th to 23rd – Brazilian Portuguese
The Roundhouse, Camden

We truly are spoilt for choice this summer as not all of the World Shakespeare Festival will be at The Globe, nor will it exclusively be Shakespeare’s words being acted out on stage. Inspired by Shakespeare’s historical plays and adding elements of music, circus, aerial acrobatics and stunning imagery, Brazil’s Companhia Bufomecânica bring us Two Roses for Richard III, a tropical twist on corruption, villainy, seduction and the bloody events of The War of the Roses.
(Note: this play will be shown first in Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, from May 7th-12th)


Henry VIII – May 29th and 30th – Castillian Spanish
The Globe Theatre

Shakespeare’s last play, Henry VIII, features events in British history such as the King’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon and the beginning of the end of Catholic influence in Britain. Now Rakatá, Madrid’s leading young theatre company, bring us the Spanish perspective of what is known as one of Shakespeare’s most spectacular plays.


The Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT
Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden London, NW1 8EH

Tickets for the Globe to Globe season run from £5 to £35 and can be bought here.
Tickets for Two Roses for Richard III in London or Stratford are similarly priced and can be bought here.

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