Shakespeare's Globe, the renowned theatre company, will take its world touring production Hamlet to the refugee settlement in Calais. The performance will be the latest in a series the company has staged at refugee camps during its Globe to Globe world tour. The endeavour will be undertaken in collaboration with the Good Chance theatre and performance project created by playwrights Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson .
"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," said Tom Bird, producer of Globe to Globe. Good Chance has been at Calais since October with a message that reads: "We believe expression is a basic human right for all. In a situation as terrible as this, it is essential."
Shakespeare's Globe will reach Calais by 3 February for a one-off performance. In 2015, the company had performed for 200 Syrian refugees in the Zaatari camp in Jordan. "Calais will be the latest in a series of performances in refugee settlements that have come unexpectedly into the Hamlet tour," said Bird.
Speaking about his earlier experiences at refugee settlements, Birds says the inmates of the refugee settlements would display mixed emotions after a show. They love watching the show and talking to the actors. But how people in the refugee camp at Calais will respond remains to be seen, Bird pointed out. "You just never know, predicting what an audience is going to be like on a tour like this is a mug's game."
Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe, said the performance at Zaatari offered them a host of "treasurable moments".
"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," he said.
The Globe to Globe tour began in April 2014 and has so far travelled more than 266,000km and visited 165 countries.
The company has also performed before 3,000 people in Mexico in front of Yucatan cathedral, the oldest on mainland America. It was 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.