“All the world’s a stage”

2globe…spoke Jacques to the Duke in As You Like It, as a mouthpiece for William Shakespeare circa. 1599. Though his particular drama is situated in Warwickshire, the English playwright more often utilised cities from the European continent as locations for his works than his own home soil. His works featured Italy (in total, one third were located here); other parts of England, France, Ancient Rome, ancient cities of Greece, and Sicily – spanning time from the Classical worlds through to Shakespeare’s contemporary Elizabethan era.

Since their inception, these plays have not only sprawled time and the earth’s surface in their content, but have simultaneously extended the Bard’s influence from England to classrooms, university courses, libraries, and homes all over the globe. He incorporated all manner of political, cultural and racial backdrops in his works to present the world to London: all the world is on the stage.

For the most part, his plays were written in English – second only to Mandarin Chinese as the world’s most widely spoken language – heightening their accessibility for everyone since the publication of the First Folio in 1623.

The language of Shakespeare has come a long way in the world since then. In 2012, the GlobeToGlobe project began, which saw each of Shakespeare’s 38 plays performed by different theatre companies in their own mother tongue. What began two years ago continues today with All’s Well That Ends Well still visiting the Globe through the Indian language of Gujarati and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in British Sign Language.

Before the start of this year’s Globe season, the theatre played host to free performances of The Merchant of Venice, made possible by their affiliation with international company, Deutsche Bank. The aim of this annual collaboration is to bring Shakespeare to everyone, regardless of financial situation, especially students.

Though, even during the season anyone from across the world can pay as little as £5 to stand (yes, stand, as tradition dictates) before a Shakespearean performance in Sam Wanamaker’s reconstruction of the Globe Theatre at London Bridge.

The Bard’s expanded global influence inspired this American actor, director and producer from overseas to resurrect the memory of one of Britain’s greatest writers by initiating the Shakespeare Globe Trust in 1970. This Trust works to bring Shakespeare into education through an on-site exhibition; Study Days focused around specific performances; career opportunities; and various lectures and seminars hosted by academics from Globe Education.

Within the study of literature on a global scale, encompassing the likes of Gabriel García Márquez and Bernhard Schlink, there is William Shakespeare too: a British writer appealing to and reaching a global audience. Everyone is a student of Shakespeare, young or old, whether you call yourself British or not, whether in education or not. The Globe Theatre facilitates the study of his work for everyone. We visit the Globe to see another culture, country, people, and set of customs on stage.

While no one is certain he travelled much further than the distance between Stratford-upon-Avon and London, Shakespeare nevertheless delivered his works of English Literature from the Globe – on the south bank of the River Thames – to the entire globe on which it stands.