Shakespeare's Globe boss vows to stay 'true' to herself in final summer season

Creative lead at Shakespeare’s Globe Emma Rice has said she will remain “true” to herself in her final summer season as artistic director.

Emma will leave the reconstructed theatre on London’s South Bank in 2018 following a disagreement with its board over lighting techniques.

Speaking at the launch of the Summer Of Love season, which marks 50 years since the summer of 1967, Emma said her main reason for staying until April 2018 was the “astonishing” new programme which had got her through a “pretty tricky time”.

The Summer Of Love will include productions of Romeo And Juliet, Nell Gwyn, Twelfth Night, Tristan & Yseult, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear and Boudica.

Emma said: “The one question everybody has asked me over and over again has been why did I stay? And the answer is so simple that I will start with it which is that I stayed because of this season.”

“The Summer Of Love was not only programmed but these brilliant artists were booked and were already creating work.

“It’s going to be astonishing this year and there is no way that I was going to walk away from this season, these people, and what we’re about to make in that amazing building over there.

“This is really what has carried me through a pretty tricky time.”

It was revealed in October last year that Emma would depart the theatre as the board deemed her contemporary sound and lighting rigging had tainted the aim of recreating an authentic historical experience.

Asked if she would take a different approach to production in the wake of the board’s decision, Emma said: “This season was already planned and printed, so this is the season I was always going to do, and in many ways, that’s true to who I am.

“The board’s decision was that the play conditions would change in April 2018, so the beginning of next season.

“That doesn’t mean I’m doing anything different to what I would do, which is the sound and lighting rig will be improved from last year… we’ll refine it but yes, it’s going to have all the bells and whistles that I love.”

Traditionally productions at the Globe used shared light, which means that actors and audiences are able to see each other throughout the performance so that the cast plays “with” rather than “at” the crowd.

In October Globe chief executive Neil Constable said the board decided to replace Emma as the theatre was “reconstructed as a radical experiment to explore the conditions within which Shakespeare and his contemporaries worked”.

At the time Emma, who began in the role in January 2016, said she was “sad” but respected the board’s decision.

The Summer Of Love at Shakespeare’s Globe runs between April 22 and October 15.

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