Globe to Globe: See 37 Shakespeare Plays in 37 Languages!

Since the 16th Century, the spiritual home to the plays of William Shakespeare has been London’s Globe Theatre (currently in its third incarnation). But after more than 400 years as a distinctly English institution, the theater is putting its name to good use and truly going global.

As part of the massive Britain-wide run up to the Games of the XXX Olympiad, better known simply as the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, the Globe is doing something that has never been done before: presenting every single one of Shakespeare’s 37 plays in a different language.

Called Globe to Globe, the undertaking is part of the World Shakespeare Festival, a London-wide event that includes additional performances at venues like the Barbican, Almeida and National Theatres, a full season of theRoyal Shakespeare Company at the Roundhouse from May-July, an exhibition at the British Museum, and oddities like Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad.  The World Shakespeare Festival is in turn part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, a more intellectual and less physical undertaking augmenting the athletic competitions of the Summer Games.

Starting next month on April 21 – two days before the famed playwright’s birthday – the Globe will host 37 different international Shakespearean companies putting on each of his plays, mostly in their native language, all in just six weeks, or a different play almost every day through early June. If English is your choice, you can see Henry V, otherwise “languages” featured include Turkish, Serbian, Belarusian, Castilian, Mexican and Argentinean Spanish, Hebrew, Swahili, Korean, Mandarin, Urou, Bangla, Shona, Yoruba, Gujarati, along with more mainstream French, German and Italian. Also on the list are British Sign Language and Hip Hop.

You can purchase tickets to individual plays, but befitting the Olympics theme, there are a slate of “athletic ticket offers,” with specially priced packages for devotees with the endurance to complete a Globe biathlon, triathlon, pentathlon, heptathlon, decathlon, or marathon – that’s 26 plays, plus a special “Olympian” ticket offer for anyone who wants to see all 37. If you’re prepared to stand, you can see every play of Shakespeare’s in a different language for only £100. Visit the theatre’s Globe to Globe site for more ticket information.

This historic event is a truly once in a lifetime occurrence, and theater fans can take advantage of the normally slower springtime in London before the fervor of the Games sells out the city. Bear in mind that the first weekend of June is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, another huge event that will make rooms and airline seats scarce and shut down much of London. For all general travel and event information, the city’s official tourism website, is always helpful but especially so this year with so much going on.

Taken from 02.03.12