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Emma Rice decision prompts charity to shelve future Globe funding

Shakespeare's Globe. Photo: John Wildgoose Shakespeare's Globe. Photo: John Wildgoose
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A charity that made its first grants to Shakespeare’s Globe under artistic director Emma Rice’s tenure has revealed it will not give the theatre any more money, and is threatening to demand the return of money it has already pledged.

The chair of the Joyce Carr Doughty Charitable Trust, Anthony Lawton, said the Globe had failed to notify it about Rice’s planned departure in 2018 and claimed other funding bodies could also decide to stop making grants to the theatre as a result.

He said that the charity used some of its money to support performing arts bodies that engage new audiences and that it had approached the Globe when Rice was appointed, because it was “enthused” by her approach.

However, he told The Stage: “I would have expected to have been given advance or certainly contemporaneous information from the chief executive alerting us to the fact something rather major was going on. They ought to have known we approached them and it was because of Emma Rice.”

Lawton said the body had made two grants to the charity since Rice’s appointment, and added that the charity was currently deciding what to do with the remainder of its £1 million put aside for performing arts bodies.

“We are just considering what to do with whatever is left and we already decided we would give it to one of our beneficiaries. I don’t think you would find the Globe would stay on the table,” he said.

He revealed that there was a proposal currently going to the charity’s board to reclaim the money already given to the theatre, because it had been given “on the premise of continued leadership by Emma Rice to make the Globe and Shakespeare more accessible to non traditional and non tourist audiences”.

Lawton also said other bodies could follow suit.

“I think that other funding charities would expect communication from the chief executive and chair in advance, as this decision cannot be out of the blue. Any chair of a trust like me would be surprised not to have communication from the Globe by way of managing a relationship,” he said.

News of Rice’s departure from the Globe has been labelled “a loss” for the theatre and a “backwards step” by the industry.

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