The festival begins… 

I was an assistant director on The King James Bible at The Globe last April and this year I am on The Globe to Globe Festival’s Young Directors Scheme. You will see about 15 of us hanging about the place, blogging, drinking and generally bringing you the inside information.

I am extremely excited about being involved in this (see below for an artist’s impression). It is going to be quite an experience. To watch all 37 Shakespeare plays in six weeks is a feat in itself. Give them 37 different languages ranging from hip hop (yes, that is a real language) to Swahili to Urdu and I think you’re all set for an amazing month and a half; aside from the fact that some companies have sent vodka, cognac and even their own fridge ahead of them, there is going to be some spectacular Shakespeare.

Today it is the turn of The Isango Ensamble performing Venus and Adonis in IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, SoSotho, Setswana, Afrikaans and South African English (gosh). If you miss them here (errr, why) then you can see them at The Hackney Empire until the 3rd June. So don your pac-a-mac and join me in watching the opening performance of the festival!!
-Emma Butler 

The Magic of Music in Isango Ensemble’s Venus and Adonis…

A fantastic musical carnival carried us through the story of Venus and Adonis. Isango Ensemble’s production is full of original music, composed by the company, which created setting, carried narrative, and stunned us with emotion. All of the performers sang, danced, tweeted (in the more literal sense!), growled, barked and drummed through the poem, to the great joy of all present – I certainly wasn’t the only one who couldn’t resist dancing along a bit every so often!

Chatting to one of the performers afterwards, I learned that all of the music was composed by the company in just 15 days. He told me they would work in pairs to compose a song, then share them with the rest of the group. And then the best/favourite ones were included in the production.

Today was the very first time they’d ever done this performance outdoors, so having to adjust to the space was a challenge, especially with the input of helicopters and seagulls!

Music was just one of 6 languages used throughout the performance. No matter whether or not we understood what was being said, there was absolutely no doubt as to what Venus had on her mind once she was pricked by baby Cupid’s arrow!
- Jane Moriarty