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Emma Rice was ‘the best thing to happen to the Globe’ – Michelle Terry

Michelle Terry. Photo: Manuel Harlan Michelle Terry. Photo: Manuel Harlan
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Emma Rice was “the best thing” to happen to Shakespeare’s Globe, despite the controversy surrounding her tenure, incoming artistic director Michelle Terry has said.

Rice leaves the London theatre in April but announced her departure in 2016 after just six months in the role, amid a row over her use of artificial sound and lighting in her productions.

Once Terry takes over, the Globe will make a marked return to more traditional theatre practices, with no amplified sound and only a basic lighting rig to allow it to stage performances in the evening.

At a press conference announcing her inaugural season, Terry said she thought the events surrounding Rice’s time at the Globe had required it to reevaluate what it stands for and its future position in the theatre landscape.

“I personally think Emma Rice was the best thing that has ever happened at the Globe because it has forced an organisation to really go through what actually is the most healthy form of protest. It afforded a time of unbelievable self reflection.

“It was really painful for everybody, including Emma and I know she has talked about that. I also hope that it was the best thing that has happened to her.”

Terry said she wanted directors, designers and actors working under her leadership of the Globe to “fully explore” the possibilities afforded by the theatre’s “unique playing conditions”, including not having sound and lighting.

Terry will not be directing productions herself at the Globe, but will act in a new 12-strong ensemble – including performers and directors – that will open her first summer season with Hamlet and As You Like It.

She is the second actor to run the Globe after its founding artistic director Mark Rylance, who will play Iago in a production of Othello directed by his wife, Claire van Kampen, as part of Terry’s programme.

Terry said Rylance’s continued connection to the Globe was “the greatest endorsement of the craft of acting” and of theatre as a “really vital art form”.

Read Michelle Terry’s first season in full here

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