“The play was underway, swords were out, tension bristled the air”
Hamlet Globe to Globe takes readers across all seven continents on a fascinating journey into the world of Shakespeare, Hamlet and the stage. From Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of The Globe Theatre.
In the middle of the sprawling Zaatari refugee camp, Dominic Dromgoole watches from the makeshift wings as Hamlet delivers one of his celebrated soliloquies. Four years earlier, Dromgoole, the Artistic Director of the Globe, had come up with a wildly ambitious idea … to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by taking his most famous play to every country on the planet.
Over two full years, Dromgoole and the Globe players toured all seven continents performing Hamlet in sweltering deserts, grand Baltic palaces and heaving marketplaces - despite food poisoning in Mexico, the threat of ambush in Somaliland, an Ebola epidemic in West Africa and political upheaval in Ukraine.
Hamlet: Globe to Globe tells the fascinating story of this unprecedented theatrical adventure in which Dromgoole shows us the world through the prism of Shakespeare’s universal drama. We see what the Danish prince means to the students of Cambodia, the effect of Polonius on the citizens of the tiny African nation of Djibouti and how a sixteenth-century play can touch the lives of Syrian refugees. Shakespeare’s timeless power to transcend borders, to touch the human heart, and to bring the world closer together, has rarely been demonstrated in such a bold and brilliant way.
“Richly entertaining … His love of language is contagious … the storytelling segues into scholarship with extraordinary skill from the off as he ricochets the modern world with a 400-year-old text”
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“Taking in sandblown refugee camps, the hallucinatory effects of performing with chronic food poisoning in Mexico City and the politically-charged atmosphere of an auditorium in Ukraine on an election’s eve, it is an entertaining, moving and informative read”
new York Times
“Full of life lessons … Erudite and fascinating … There’s a real sense of the camaraderie and sheer fun of assembling a company and, quite literally, putting the show on wherever they can … The universal themes explored in the play take on a new and thrilling resonance, as the actors learn as much from their audiences as vice versa … Truly compelling”
“A delightfully idiosyncratic account of the Globe’s vagabond mission to perform Hamlet in every country in the world … the joy of the book is Dromgoole’s gusto … the way he meanders from personal anecdote to wider textual or cultural significance makes his book feel like a shaggy-dog documentary that you just don’t want to end ****”
DOMINIC DROMGOOLE was the Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London from 2006 to 2016. He is the author of The Full Room: An A-Z of Contemporary Playwriting and of Will and Me: How Shakespeare Took Over My Life, which won the inaugural Sheridan Morley prize. He regularly contributes to the Sunday Times and other publications.