This sceptred isle

Mar 29, 2019, 11:00 AM

In this episode of Such Stuff, as the country is in the midst of political paralysis and constitutional crisis over Brexit, we take this moment to look backwards to Shakespeare’s moment and beyond, and forwards to an unknown future, to ask: what is ‘this sceptred isle’? 

Over the course of this year, Shakespeare's Globe will present a cycle of Shakespeare’s History Plays. What do these plays say about who we are as a nation? And more importantly, who we want to be? What role does art and theatre have to play in challenging the way society looks and reflecting the country we might want to live in? 

We speak to the co-director and star of Richard II, Adjoa Andoh, about the significance of this production, the first ever all women of colour Shakespeare production on a major UK stage, and how the way they’re presenting the show re-examines what – and who – this England, this ‘sceptred isle’, might represent…

We chat to our artistic director Michelle Terry about about that relationship between past and present in the Globe Theatre at this moment in our history. 

And we catch up with members of our Globe Ensemble, who will be presenting Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V on the Globe stage this summer, about the particular version of an English past that the history plays are often associated with, and how you go about examining them with fresh eyes.