Hamlet, active methods and metatheatre: what happens when Shakespeare’s Globe to Globe Hamlet comes to your stage in Africa

by Nigel Tickner | 1 September 2016

For once in my life I was in the right place at the right moment. Through a Facebook link to Shakespeare’s Globe that I had been following, I became aware that there was a Globe to Globe touring Hamlet; an unprecedented odyssey whereby twelve actors and four stage managers would take Shakespeare’s play to practically every country in the world.

Directed by Dominic Dromgoole, the play commenced its performance journey at Shakespeare’s Globe in London on 23rd April 2014, marking the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. A quick look at the intended world journey on their website indicated that the ensemble would pass through my location in Togo, West Africa in early 2015. I realised I had to step up to the mark and offer our old wooden stage at The British School of Lomé as a venue. I showed the initiative to contact them, I offered our stage and Shakespeare’s Globe accepted.

Once the arrangements were finally confirmed between our school’s senior management and the executive producers in London, I had little over a month to prepare for a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring the travelling players from one of the foremost Shakespearean theatre companies in the world to our school stage. It was a little scary knowing that we were going to have to rise to the level of world class but logically I knew it was doable. All I had to do was to put the right support mechanisms into place and then these world class performers would “fly” with the play.

My contact in London was Tamsin Mehta, one of the associate producers at Shakespeare’s Globe, and we both quite naturally began a friendly and easy dialogue through emails communicating essential information.

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