In 2012, Shakespeare’s Globe hosted the Globe to Globe Festival, which featured performances from thirty-seven international companies in their native tongues as part of the Cultural Olympiad in the lead up to the London Olympic Games. This paper explores the role that language played in the Globe to Globe Festival, and the way in which language mediated direction and translation of various plays, specifically in the rehearsal room in anticipation of the performance itself. Translating Shakespeare into thirty-seven different languages allowed the companies to think about the potential benefits of performing their play in a specific dialect or style for both audiences at the Globe and their own language and culture as well. This paper considers the impact of language barriers that existed even within individual companies, and shows that the specific choices around language informed the ways audience members understood and interpreted the narratives of the plays during the festival.


Globe to Globe Festival, Shakespeare, translation, language, performance

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



“Audience.” Etymology. Oxford English Dictionary. n.d. Web. Accessed 5 December 2013.

Bird, Tom. Interview with Amy Kenny. 6 June 2012.

Bird, Tom. “The Globe to Globe Festival: An introduction” in Shakespeare Beyond English: A Global Experiment, edited by Christie Carson and Susan Bennett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Boqwana, Noluthando and Lungelo Ngamlana. Interview with Amy Kenny. 22 April 2012.

Boydell, John. Interview with Amy Kenny. 12 May 2012.

Gurr, Andrew. The Shakespearean Stage, 1574-1642. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Kumar, Atul. Interview with Taarini M. 28 April 2012.

Milivojević, Nikita and Amalia Bennett. Interview with Amy Kenny. 12 May 2012.

Paratene, Rawiri. Interview with Amy Kenny. 24 April 2012.

Shakespeare, William. The Winter’s Tale, edited by John Pitcher, 3rd edition. London: Methuen Drama, 2010.

Shbib-Queen, Bayan. Interview with Amy Kenny. translator and editor of Richard II in Palestinian Arabic on 5 May 2012.

World Shakespeare Festival website. ‘About the Festival’ http://www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/about.html Accessed 5 December 2013.

First Page


Last Page