The Globe Theatre is making a collection of films available to watch for free via its video-on-demand service, Globe Player.
The free films, which will rotate every two weeks, include: Hamlet (2018), Romeo & Juliet (2009), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013), The Winter’s Tale (2018), The Two Noble Kinsmen (2018) and The Merry Wives of Windsor (2019).
The move is part of a wider range of digital content being offered by the theatre to help “engage its audiences with Shakespeare’s works” despite the Coronavirus lockdown.
Other content being made available includes Shakespeare & Love in Isolation, in which artists share some of the greatest words ever written from their place of sanctuary, and Michelle Terry and Paul Ready’s Shakespeare Diaries, in which the two actors discuss some of their favourite plays and why art, theatre and Shakespeare remain important in times of global crisis
And while a physical gathering may not be possible, the organisation says its “still endeavouring” to find a way to host ‘Shakespeare Walks’ with Mark Rylance in celebration of Shakespeare’s Birthday on 23rd April.
For students studying Shakespeare at home, the Globe’s Learning team has developed a wealth of activities, including ‘Teach Shakespeare’, helping to support parents who are home-schooling.
Other activities online such as ‘The Globe Playground’ are suitable for younger children, and ‘Staging It!’ for budding directors, allows users to direct scenes online.
As Universities have taken their teaching online, the Globe’s Higher Education and Research team are creating and providing online content in the form of lectures, workshops and resources to support students learning at home.
The Globe and King’s College London’s joint MA is newly being taught online, with students being recruited for next academic year. A collaborative doctoral student with King’s College will be joining later this year.
Michelle Terry, Artistic Director, said: “Whilst everything seems so uncertain, one thing we know for sure is that the world will never be the same again.
“In 1599, when Hamlet stood on a “distracted Globe” and uttered the words: Now I am alone – he would have been surrounded by up to 3,000 people.
“Now we are alone, but we are also in the company of billions, from all around the globe, finding the most inspiring ways to be alone, together.
“In these times of isolation, we will continue to reach people on our ‘distracted Globe’, providing community, joy, and wonder, remaining, albeit digitally for now, a place of connection for us all.”
Patrick Spottiswoode, Director of Globe Education, added: “Since we opened in 1997, we have explored ways of sharing the wonder of the Globe with people who may not be able to visit the theatre for themselves.
“Our online activities, classes and research materials will help in some way to keep our Globe doors open for all, whether primary children, post-graduates, or pensioners.
“Our theatre closed during the run of the Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production Macbeth, with over 33,000 students having watched the production, but sadly a further 15,000 missing out.
“I am so proud that the educational activities of the Globe can adapt online to keep providing the best access to our excellent provisions until we can open the doors again.”