Calais performance will be latest in series company has staged at refugee settlements during its Globe to Globe world tour / The Globe Theatre’s touring production of Hamlet at the Zataari Refugee camp on the Jordanian-Syrian border.
Mark Brown Arts correspondent The Guardian
Friday 29 January 2016
Shakespeare’s Globe is taking its world touring production of Hamlet to the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais.
Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian
The theatre company said its Globe to Globe tour, which aims to play Hamlet to every country in the world by 23 April, would arrive in Calais for a one-off performance on Wednesday.
It will be staged in partnership with the Good Chance theatre and performance project created in the camp by the playwrights Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson.
Tom Bird, producer of Globe to Globe, said: “We had heard what the guys were doing at Good Chance and we decided it would be a great thing for us to take our Hamlet to the camp.
“There are so many people there from all over the world and because Good Chance are doing such a brilliant job of making a performance a thing … it just felt like the right thing to do.”
Bird said it had become obvious that there would a handful of countries where it was just too dangerous to enter, such as Libya and Syria.
Last year the company performed for 200 Syrian refugees in the Zaatari camp in Jordan, near the Syrian border.
“Calais will be the latest in a series of performances in refugee settlements that have come unexpectedly in to the Hamlet tour,” said Bird.
Reaction at the camps wassurprise, then joy and enthusiasm, he said. “People love watching the show and they love talking to the actors afterwards.”
What the reaction in Calais will be remains to be seen. “You just never know, predicting what an audience is going to be like on a tour like this is a mug’s game.”
The Globe to Globe tour began in April 2014 and so far has travelled more than 266,000km and visited 165 countries. Last Wednesday the production was in the city of Moroni, the federal capital of the Comoros, an archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean.
On Sunday it will travel to the Seychelles, where it will be performed on the University of Seychelles campus.
“Playing to a vibrant audience from the very young to the very old, the stage regularly besieged by infants who wanted to join in, the show interrupted by a biblical sandstorm, and finishing to roars of appreciation at the death of Claudius, it was an experience we will never forget.”
Other memorable shows include performing in front of 3,000 people in Mexico in front of Yucatan cathedral, the oldest on mainland America, built the year before Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.
In Somaliland, Shakespeare’s Globe became the first foreign company to stage a full play in 23 years.
Good Chance has been at Calais since October with a mission statement that says: “We believe expression is a basic human right for all. In a situation as terrible as this, it is essential.”
The daytime schedule at Good Chance can include writing workshops, music lessons, dance, acting and performance.
Every evening, Good Chance hosts communal events that have included poetry slams, stand-up comedy, acoustic sets, theatre performances, rap battles, film nights and mass chill outs.