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New Globe boss Emma Rice announces inaugural season/plonks an actual forest on Bankside

Andrzej Lukowski

New Shakespeare’s Globe boss Emma Rice has proved herself very much in the lineage of her marvellously eccentric predecessors Mark Rylance and Dominic Dromgoole by today announcing that her inaugural season at the iconic theatre will kick off with her building an actual forest (well, a wood) that will start in the Globe and spills out onto Bankside from April 30.

Designed by Lez Brotherston, the forest is a nifty attention-grabbing gesture, a touch of trademark mischief from Rice, the former leader of revered Cornish oddballs Kneehigh, and also resonates niftily with the plays in the so-called ‘Season of Wonders’. It kicks off with the forest-tastic ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (Apr 30-Sep 11), directed by Rice herself, before proceeding through a ‘distinctly Irish’ take on ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ (May 13-Aug 6) directed by Caroline Byrne (not sure how many trees that calls for), then Iqbal Khan’s take on ‘Macbeth’ (Jun 18-Oct 1 – in which a wood has a major late cameo) , then finishing with ‘Imogen’ (Sep 17-Oct 16), a ‘renamed and reclaimed’ version of ‘Cymbeline’ by director Matthew Dunster.

There will also be a couple of Kneehigh shows calling in: ‘946 The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips’ (Aug 11-Sep 11) and ‘The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk’ (Jun 16-Jul 2, at the indoor Sam Wanamaker Playhouse) , plus the return of last year’s Jonathan Pryce-starring ‘The Merchant of Venice’ (Oct 4-15), a brief run for ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’ (Sep 20-Oct 1) and a revival of John Wolfson’s play ‘The Inn at Lydda’ (tbc).

Or you can just go and hang out under the trees.

Public booking opens Feb 15 at 10am.

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