The Hamlet Globe to Globe tour opened at Shakespeare’s Globe on 23 April 2014, the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. This completely unprecedented theatrical adventure has seen Hamlet tour to every single country on earth over 2 years. Sixteen extraordinary men and women are travelled across the seven continents, performing in a huge range of unique and atmospheric venues.
Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe and Director of Hamlet said:
‘Globe to Globe Hamlet was created with the aim of performing Hamlet to as many people as possible, in as diverse a range of places as possible. The central principle of the tour is that Shakespeare can entertain and speak to anyone, no matter where they are on earth; and that no country or people are not better off for the lively presence of Hamlet.’
There were many logistical challenges along the way, many different political and security problems that had to be negotiated, and many tough choices that had to be made.
- we have played in 197 countries,
- we have played in five refugee camps,
- Poroshenko and all the main figures of Maidan Square came to see Hamlet on the eve of their elections,
- we played to 200 ambassadors in the UN,
- 4,000 people crammed into a square in Merida in Mexico to see the show,
- we were the first cultural visitors to Somaliland and Iraq in decades,
- we were the first company to put women and men together on stage in Saudi Arabia...
And so many more boundaries have been broken and borders pushed back!
Hamlet has been performed in 197 countries, to more than 255,000 people and travelled over 180,000 miles. The tour was granted UNESCO patronage for its engagement with local communities and its promotion of cultural education.
Our journey has taken us across northern Europe, North, Central and South America, we then steered East to travel across Africa before making our way to Australasia, the Pacific and Asia. We strived to offer the performance free of charge for local audiences where possible.
Hamlet was also played for many dsiplaced people around the world. We performed in the Zaatari camp on the border between Syria and Jordan, for Central African Republic refugees in Cameroon, and for Yemeni people in Djibouti. More such shows are planned in an attempt to play for audiences from countries it's hard to travel to.
Additionally, we presented free performances for local school children and students in Myanmar and Brunei (August 2015), Cambodia (July 2015), Sri Lanka and Malaysia (May 2015), Nigeria (March 2015), Tanzania (February 2015), Belize (August 2014).
Each country provides unique experiences and fresh challenges. Transporting our set from place to place, setting up in completely different venues as quickly as possible, and ensuring that we spread the word wide enough about the production that as many people as possible can see our play in that region are just some of the daily tests that we face.
Without your support, we wouldn’t have been able to get to as many countries and do as many free performances. Thank you.
In October 2014 UNESCO patronage was granted to Globe to Globe Hamlet, in recognition of the tour’s engagement with local communities and promotion of cultural education.
In the same month the project received the Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre from the UK Theatre Awards.
In January 2015 the project received the International Award from The Stage Awards.
If you would like to support our home, Shakespeare's Globe, please visit our support page.
“In 1608, only eight years after it was written, Hamlet was performed on a boat – the Red Dragon – off the coast of Yemen. Just ten years later it was being toured extensively all over Northern Europe. The spirit of touring, and of communicating stories to fresh ears, was always central to Shakespeare’s work. We couldn’t be happier to be extending that mission even further. By train, coach, plane and boat we aim to take this wonderful, iconic, multifarious play to as many fresh ears as we possibly can.”
Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe
We asked Peter Brook what he thought about us touring the world: “The six simplest words in the English language are "to be or not to be". There is hardly a corner of the planet where these words have not been translated. Even in English, those who can’t speak the language will at once recognise the sound and exclaim ‘Shakespeare!’ Hamlet is the most all encompassing of Shakespeare’s plays. Everyone, young or old can today find an immediate identification with its characters, their pains and their interrogations. To take Hamlet in its original language around the world is a bold and dynamic project. It can bring a rich journey of discovery to new audiences everywhere.”
Peter Brook, Director