Shakespeare and Poland Festival

at the Globe


Wednesday 26 June - Sunday 6 July 2019

21 New Globe Walk


London SE1 9DT


Shakespeare and Poland celebrates Poland’s particular affinity and fascination with Shakespeare’s plays. The two-week festival embraces live theatre, film, illustration, music and song. It includes a visit from the remarkable Song of the Goat Theatre Company with a rare opportunity to see their Songs of Lear.


The festival also marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of the extraordinary Polish playwright, director and painter, Stanislaw Wyspianski. The festival includes a world premiere of his one-woman Death of Ophelia and the publication of the first ever English translation of his seminal work, Hamlet Study.



26 June 2019 7.00 pm

Nancy Knowles Lecture Theatre

Poland is Hamlet

The Shakespeare and Poland Festival opens with a discussion about Hamlet and Shakespeare on the Polish page and stage, with extracts from rarely seen Polish film versions of Shakespeare’s plays.


27 June 2019 7.00 pm

Nancy Knowles Lecture Theatre

Polonius: The Polish Man?

Polonius is often portrayed on stage as a bumbling intrusive counsellor to King Claudius. In 1598 a major Polish work, The Counsellor, appeared in English translation for the first time. Is this why Shakespeare gave his counsellor the Latin name for “Polish man”? How much was Shakespeare influenced by this and other political and continental writings? A panel of leading Polish and English scholars, directors and commentators will offer perspectives on Polonius from theatrical and political points of view.


30 June 2019 4.00 pm

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Dismissal of the Grecian Envoys 

The Greeks are demanding the return of Helen. The Trojans meet. Paris wants to keep her. Antenor argues for her return. Priam will have to determine which route is the more advantageous or disadvantageous for the state. Kochanowski is regarded as the father of Polish verse. His Dismissal was the first tragedy written and performed in Polish and was presented at a wedding in Warsaw in 1579. As the afternoon’s performance with scripts unfolds in English, the play will be staged simultaneously in Warsaw in Polish on the site of the original performance.


4 July 2019 7.00 pm

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Hamlet Study & Death of Ophelia

Called the Leonardo da Vinci of Poland, Wyspiański was a playwright, poet, painter, stained-glass artist and theatre designer. His one-act play The Death of Ophelia (1905) and his Hamlet Study (1904) have been translated into English for the first time especially for the Festival and to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth. The evening will include a semi-staged performance of The Death of Ophelia with extracts from Hamlet Study, read by Globe actors. Dariusz Kocinski will join translators Barbara Bogoczek and Tony Howard, and provide an introduction to the life and works of the extraordinary artist in a discussion chaired by Patrick Spottiswoode.


6 July 2019 1.30 pm and 8.00 pm 

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Songs of Lear

Folk instruments, haunting a cappella singing and flawless choreography from an extraordinary ensemble will paint the tragic stories of Lear in music, movement and song. Based in Wroclaw, the Song of the Goat Theatre Company travels the world with their polyphonic, breathtaking and visceral productions created by Grzegorz Bral.

‘One of the most profoundly moving theatre productions I have ever experienced.’

—The Hearald, Scotland


The festival is presented with the support of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute, the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw, the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre, Song of the Goat Theatre, Wrocław, the Polish Book Institute and His Excellency Arkady Rzegocki, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, and Mrs Jolanta Rzegocka.

Polish Cultural Institute
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