The work of the world’s most famous playwright is being performed in the world’s most spoken language this summer, as The National Theatre of China brings its Mandarin adaptation of Richard III to the Globe Theatre.
Originally commissioned as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, it was first shown along with 36 other works – each in a different language – as part of that year’s Globe to Globe festival. Now, each summer, the Globe Theatre invites one of those productions for a return visit.
The previous production was hampered by the company’s costumes being lost in transit, meaning this is the first time UK audiences can see the fully realised performance. Richard III, the story of King Richard’s Machiavellian rise and fall, runs from 20 to 25 July.
A Cantonese version of Macbeth is also treading the Globe’s boards this summer, produced by internationally acclaimed company Tang Shu-wing Theatre. The Hong Kong-based team previously performed Titus Andronicus at the Globe to Glove festival, with its brand new version Macbeth running from 17 to 23 August.
‘The Globe has been engaged in a conversation with Chinese theatre artists since 2012, when the Globe to Globe festival included plays in both Mandarin and Cantonese,’ said Globe Theatre executive producer Tom Bird. ‘We are thrilled that this dialogue continues in 2015.’
The Chinese summer doesn’t end there, as Globe Theatre takes its own production of Hamlet on a tour of China in August and September, part of a programme that will see the play performed in every country in the world. Visiting Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, it follows on from a successful tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the same cities in 2014.