Shakespeare's Globe has released its annual report for 2012, boasting of a significant increase in new audiences to Shakespeare in general and a triumphant year for the theater in which it was named London Theatre of the Year and received a special Critics' Circle award for its Globe to Globe season. The report covers activities to October 2012.
The Shakespeare productions, including the award-winning Richard III and Twelfth Night, played to 316,522 people (representing 97 percent of the Globe's audience capacity) and the unprecedented Globe to Globe festival recorded 80 percent of first-time attendees to the Globe. More than 14,000 state school students from every London borough received free tickets to the Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production of a Midsummer Night's Dream; over half of these students had never seen a play at a theater before.
Shakespeare's Globe receives no direct annual government subsidy for its core artistic and educational work, so it relies entirely on its ability to generate commercial income as well as attracting fundraising revenue and donations. Operating turnover for the year rose by 19 percent, yet more than 40 percent of the audience paid only £5 for a groundling ticket, a price that has not changed since the theater opened in 1997.
"Last year was a phenomenal year for Shakespeare's Globe," Chief Executive Neil Constable said in a press release. "It is truly remarkable what has been achieved in the 16 years since the theater opened, as wonderfully acknowledged by the Critics' Circle, recognizing the Globe as 'the leading place to celebrate our greatest playwright.' We now look forward to more groundbreaking creativity and exciting new opportunities with the opening of the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in January 2014, allowing us to have a 12-month theatre season."
In an Olympic year packed with events throughout the capital, the once-in-a-lifetime Globe to Globe festival distinguished itself by its sheer scale, variety, and creative ambition. Some 86,000 people saw the productions, featuring Shakespeare's 37 plays performed in 37 languages. This brought a new, multilingual audience to the Globe for the first time. The festival was recognized in January 2013 with a rare special award from the Critics' Circle.
The main Shakespeare season saw the return of Mark Rylance (the Globe's first artistic director) to the Globe with the all-male productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III. Recipients of three Whatsonstage.com awards, these coproductions with Sonia Friedman Productions and Shakespeare Road signified the Globe's first commercial transfers to the West End when it moved to the Apollo Theatre for a sell-out season.
Globe Education, which tailors learning programs, courses, and events for students of all ages, from preschool to postgraduate, presented an ambitious program of activity. Of the 14,000 students who saw the production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, 92 percent said they felt better prepared for classroom study and 95 percent wanted to see more Shakespeare on stage. More than 80,000 students participated in Lively Action workshops at the Globe.
Globe Education's first two Collaborative Doctoral Award students were awarded Ph.D.'s. Nearly 700 undergraduates and graduates participated in courses at the Globe during the year, with a study day held at the Globe for the year's students from both King's College London and Queen Mary University London. Rutgers University students from New Jersey spent their entire third year of study at Shakespeare's Globe, and the 2012 Sam Wanamaker Festival attracted students from every accredited drama school in the UK.
The exhibition and theater tours brought 301,000 visitors from all over the world to the Globe site, a drop of just 3 percent from the previous year. This compared remarkably well with other attractions in the capital, many of which experienced significant reductions in visitor numbers as a consequence of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Shakespeare's Globe continued to reach beyond Bankside with its expanding touring program and cinematic distribution. During the year, two large-scale and two small-scale productions toured the UK and internationally with the support of the Arts Council. Anne Boleyn won the TMA Award for Best Touring Production, and the two small-scale productions—Hamlet and As You Like It—were presented across the UK, United States, and Europe, attracting audiences of more than 32,000. The Globe Education production of A Midsummer Night's Dream visited Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with accompanying schools' workshops.
Films of previous Globe productions continued to sell well on DVD, and the 2011 productions of All's Well That Ends Well, Much Ado About Nothing and Doctor Faustus were screened in 350 cinemas across the UK, United States, Australia, and New Zealand as part of the Globe on Screen initiative. All 37 of the Globe to Globe productions were filmed, which were free to view as part of the BBC/Arts Council England initiative "The Space." The growing back catalogue of filmed productions was selected by Digital Theatre to launch its Digital Theatre Collections with four plays captured by Shakespeare's Globe during the 2010 "Kings and Rogues" season.
Construction work began on the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The new indoor theater will create an intimate theatrical experience, quite different to that of the main Globe theater. The project has been developed without government support; so far £6.5million has been raised through trusts, foundations, and individual donors toward a target of £7.5million. The theater will open for performances in January 2014.
The full Annual Review with added video footage is available online at www.shakespearesglobe.com/about-us/todays-globe/annual-review.
March 6, 2013