Dionne Christian is the NZ Herald’s arts and books editor

Pop up Globe to go global?

Pop-up Globe's authentic atmosphere is one of the keys to its success.
Pop-up Globe's authentic atmosphere is one of the keys to its success.

New Zealand's most successful new theatrical company, Pop-up Globe, may be close to confirming its first OE.

Sources close to the company say actors including Rawiri Paratene, Te Kohe Tuhaka and Jacque Drew, as well as costume-makers who've come from Game of Thrones and other staff were called to a meeting yesterday to discuss their future.

The company is heading into the final few weeks of its current 13-week season of Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V and As You Like It at the world's first pop-up re-creation of Shakespeare's second Globe theatre.

But producers are said to be on the cusp of revealing their next big move and don't want their talent being snapped up by anyone else.

The meeting is the first signal that the company, which grew from half a dozen to more than 90 full-time staff in less than a year, is preparing for its first international season.

Producers from Australia, Canada, America and the United Kingdom have visited the Pop-up Globe in the past few months.

Some 180,000 tickets have been sold in 18 months to see the Shakespearean plays, so a signal that overseas dates are imminent will be no surprise to industry insiders.

Pop-up Globe's current season at Ellerslie Racecourse is among the longest running theatrical events staged in New Zealand, sitting alongside the likes of Rob Guest's production of The Phantom of the Opera that ran for about six months in the '90s and the first production of Les Miserables that spent four months in the Auckland theatre.

So why have we become such lovers of the Bard?

Shakespeare scholar and Pop-up Globe head of production David Lawrence says one of the main reasons it has been so successful is because it puts the plays in the environment for which they were originally written.

"When the actors can see the audience as well as the audience can see the actors, and when they can talk to them rather than just at them, the plays don't just lift off the page; they explode.

"The actors behave like rock stars and the audience behave like they're at a concert or a sports match.

"For generations Shakespeare has been taught as highbrow 'literature' but at Pop-up Globe, whole new audiences experiencing him for the first time are seeing that live Shakespeare can be thrilling, spectacular, accessible and inclusive."

- NZ Herald

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