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Shakespeare’s Globe is back, with open-air movie screenings and live improv comedy

They’re even putting out deckchairs, you lucky people

Written by
Caroline McGinn

The Globe Theatre is livening up the winter of our discontent with a long weekend of Shakespearian open-air film and comedy. On Thursday November 12, improv royalty the Comedy Store Players (descendants of the ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ lot) will make up a play on the spot for their twenty-second year in a row. In this unusual year, the socially distanced audience will be able to heckle in comfort from cabaret-style tables, a rare level of luxury for groundlings at the Globe’s gorgeous but spartan pit.

From Friday November 13 to Sunday November 15, a mini-season of eight Shakespeare-inspired movies moves in. Highlights include ‘Shakespeare in Love’, ‘The Lion King’ and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo + Juliet’. In an uplifting act of faith in the elements, the Globe is installing 34 deckchairs for the occasion. Perfect for Ken Branagh’s and Emma Thompson’s sunkissed Tuscan romp through ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, guaranteed to bring warmth to the dingiest winter evening.

It sounds fun and charmingly meta – you and your socially distanced pals watching a film inside the stage on which it’s set. Outdoor pop-ups (GoBoat movies; distDancing) were the cultural lifeline of the summer and the trend will continue through winter (LINK to Arcola and any others). Unlike many other spaces, the Globe, a precise replica of the theatre in which Shakespeare wrote many of his plays, is already a purpose-built outdoor space. It has weathered winters and summers, tragedy and comedy. Back in the day, the original Globe survived a plague that closed down the theatres and much of the city, and killed a fifth of the population of London. Beleaguered Londoners and artsfolks could take inspiration from the fact that Shakespeare wrote ‘King Lear’, ‘Antony and Cleopatra’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Timon of Athens’ and ‘Coriolanus’ during or just after some of the worst outbreaks.

Modern theatre lovers: if you have fears, prepare to shed them now. Put on all your knitwear and your most fabulous mask and support this weekend: it will help fund the Globe’s reopening proper in spring 2021.

Comedy Store Players Book here.

Thursday November 12, 7pm

Capacity: 408 including 40 yard (cabaret-style, tables and chairs)

Ticket prices: £5-£49

Shakespeare on Screen Book here.

Friday November 13-Sunday November 15

Capacity: 218 including 34 yard (deckchairs)

Ticket prices: standard £25 (clear view), £15 (side view)

Under 16s £20 (clear view), £10 (side view)

Family ticket £80 (two adults, two children, or one adult, three children)

Under threes (babies welcome) – free

Full schedule   

Friday November 13

2.30pm – ‘Twelfth Night’ (176 mins, Cert U)

7pm – ‘Shakespeare in Love’ (123 min, Cert 15)

Saturday November 14

Noon – ‘Gnomeo & Juliet’ (84 mins, Cert U)

3pm – ‘West Side Story’ (152 mins, Cert PG)

7pm – ‘William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet’ (120 mins, Cert 12)

Sunday November 15

Noon – ‘The Lion King’ (88 mins, Cert U)

3pm – ‘Kiss Me Kate’ (109 mins, Cert U)

6.30pm – ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (110 mins, Cert PG)

Book ‘Shakespeare on Screen’ here. Book the Comedy Store Players here.

More arty events for your autumn diary.

After actual theatre? Check out the National’s ‘The Death of England: Delroy’.

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